In the annals of Hollywood history, there are countless tales of actors taking risks that paid off in spades. One such story is that of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, who teamed up for the 1988 comedy “Twins.”
While the film itself was a box office success, it’s the behind-the-scenes deal that truly stands out, reshaping the way actors negotiate their salaries and proving that sometimes, taking a gamble can lead to the biggest paydays of one’s career.
“Twins” tells the story of two unlikely brothers, separated at birth, who reunite as adults. Schwarzenegger plays the physically perfect Julius, while DeVito portrays the scheming Vincent.
The film’s premise was as unconventional as its casting, pairing the hulking action star Schwarzenegger with the diminutive comedic genius DeVito. But beyond the on-screen chemistry, it was the off-screen negotiations that made headlines.
Traditionally, actors receive a fixed salary for their roles, sometimes with additional bonuses based on the film’s performance.
However, Schwarzenegger and DeVito, along with their agents, proposed a different approach for “Twins.”
Instead of a hefty upfront fee, they agreed to forgo their usual salaries in exchange for a significant percentage of the film’s box office returns. The magic number? A whopping 20%.
This was a bold move. If the film flopped, both actors stood to earn far less than their usual rates. But if it succeeded, the rewards could be monumental.
And succeed it did. “Twins” was a smash hit, grossing over $216 million worldwide. With their 20% deal in place, Schwarzenegger and DeVito’s earnings from the film were astronomical.
By some estimates, each actor took home more than $35 million, making it the largest paycheck either had received for a single film.
The success of the “Twins” deal had a ripple effect throughout Hollywood. Actors and their agents began to see the potential in back-end deals, especially for films that were expected to be box office hits.
This shift in negotiation tactics led to a new era where top-tier actors could command not only large upfront salaries but also a significant share of a film’s profits.
Moreover, the success of “Twins” and its groundbreaking deal showcased the power of star-driven projects. Studios began to recognize that investing in big names could yield significant returns, especially when those stars were willing to bet on the film’s success.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arnold Schwarzenegger shared disappointing news regarding the long-anticipated sequel to the 1988 comedy “Twins,” titled “Triplets.”
Despite the enthusiasm of Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito to proceed with the film, the project has been halted. Schwarzenegger attributed the cancellation to Jason Reitman, the director of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” who reportedly put a stop to the project following the death of his father, Ivan Reitman.
“Jason Reitman fucked it up,” Schwarzenegger revealed.
Ivan Reitman, the original director of “Twins,” had been attached to direct “Triplets” before his passing in 2022. Although “Triplets” won’t be moving forward, Schwarzenegger mentioned that he and DeVito are developing another movie as a reunion project.