Director Roland Emmerich has revealed that he took a pretty substantial pay-cut to help fund his latest blockbuster film, Midway. At Tuesday night’s premiere for the movie in Westwood, California, Variety got to talking about the project with Emmerich and he stated, “We did this really frugal.”
According to the man, he originally envisioned the project nearly 20 years ago and estimated a budget of around $155-160 million. After shopping it around to some studios, his budget was cut down to about $125 million. “Then, when we realized we have to do it the independent way,” Emmerich explained, “I brought it down to $98 [million]. And it worked.”
This gave Emmerich the realization that major studios tend to waste budgets in a certain way. Still, that’s not the full picture. Due to the decreased budget, Emmerich needed to put up some of his own cash to finish the film. “I gave a little bit up of my salary. Quite a big part, so you know. But it’s fine.” Following up, Variety asked exactly how much, but Emmerich wouldn’t answer. “I cannot say that. My agent would like kill me. He would just like cut me down.” He expressed that the cut was “by a lot,” though.
I’ve never exactly been a fan of Emmerich’s films, but it’s nice to see a story about a big-budget director putting a personal investment into his work. As Hollywood budgets continue to balloon out of control (leading to things like Terminator: Dark Fate’s $129 million worldwide gross being a bomb), it’s great that massively wealthy directors are willing to gamble with their own earnings to make passion projects come to life. Hopefully, this happens more often in the future.