As both one of the greatest actors of the modern era and one of the industry’s most bankable stars, who boasts an incredible record of box office success dating back decades to go with his two Academy Award wins, Denzel Washington is largely worth every cent that he gets paid.
Very rarely does the 66 year-old appear in anything that can even come close to being deemed a bomb, but the pandemic ensured that was the fate that befell The Little Things. The psychological thriller did manage to open at the top of the domestic box office when it premiered simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max back in January, but business was so bad that a $4.8 million bow was enough to snag the number one spot.
The Little Things end up failing to even recoup the $30 million production budget before it left cinemas, and yet Washington has somehow managed to earn more than the movie’s entire gross for taking top billing among the cast. Typically, names of Washington’s caliber pick up a salary that’s enhanced by back-end deals, profit participation clauses and box office milestone bonuses, something the pandemic era has rendered largely obsolete.
As a result, Warner Bros. were forced to shell out in order to keep their A-listers happy when the entire slate of 2021 releases ended up launching day-and-date on streaming, meaning that Denzel wound up taking home $40 million from The Little Things. That’s not only more than John Lee Hancock’s slow-burner made at the box office, but more than it cost to actually make, so it’s not a bad outcome for the leading man at all, for what turned out to be a rare blemish on his commercial track record.