It was the film craze that swept the nation, keeping viewers enthralled — and critics entertained. Fifty Shades of Grey was released in 2015 and quickly rose to the top of the box office, defying expectations and ultimately leading to several sequel films.
The movie also made stars out of the leading actors, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Both were popular performers when they were cast as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in the spicy romance film — but both reportedly netted surprisingly low salaries in spite of that.
How much were Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan paid for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?
The search for the actors to star in Fifty Shades of Grey was a highly publicized one. Showrunners were on the hunt for an actress who could easily portray the demure and innocent Anastasia Steele and her journey into maturity as she enters into a scandalous relationship with the wealthy playboy Christian Grey, who has a secret penchant for naughty activities.
After months of auditions, Dakota Johnson, the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, was announced as Anastasia Steele. Meanwhile, Jamie Dornan, an Irish actor who was best known for his modeling work prior to getting cast in Fifty Shades of Grey, was set to play Christian.
In spite of the star power that both Dornan and Johnson brought to the big screen in Fifty Shades of Grey, they were reportedly paid very little for their work in the movie. In fact, multiple reports claim that Dornan and Johnson were only paid $250,000 each for their roles in the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
While their salaries seem shockingly low, compared to the overall box office success of the film, both stars did reportedly receive an undisclosed percentage of the box office take — which likely helped to balance things out a bit.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was a hit at the box office
All the fans who loved the book series showed up in droves to movie theaters to see Fifty Shades of Grey when it was released. The film smashed projections and ended up making around $550 million worldwide at the box office.
With success virtually ensured for the sequel films in the franchise, Dornan and Johnson set out to renegotiate their contracts, in order to bring home a much bigger payday the next time around.
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan reportedly demanded huge pay increases for the film’s sequel
As the popularity of the Fifty Shades film franchise grew, so too did the demands of the lead actors. Reportedly, when it came time to negotiate for the filming of the second film in the franchise, Fifty Shades Darker, both Dornan and Johnson argued for seven-figure salaries, a huge increase from their salaries on the first film.
Fifty Shades Darker was followed by a third film, Fifty Shades Freed. By the time that the third movie was released, Johnson and Dornan had become global superstars, with net worths to match — Dornan’s net worth is estimated to be around $14 million while Johnson’s is said to be around $14 million as well.
Clearly, the Fifty Shades franchise not only made Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan forces to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry but millionaires as well. They might have left their S&M days behind them for good, but neither of them will likely forget the way that the film franchise started, and the humble paychecks that they earned on the first movie.