The most famous urban legend surrounding 2000’s crime caper The Whole Nine Yards is that Bruce Willis agreed to guest star on Friends without being paid a cent because he lost a bet to Matthew Perry. The story went that Willis believed the movie would open at the top of the domestic box office and Perry was more skeptical, and when Jonathan Lynn’s black comedy debuted at number two with a haul of $13.4 million, the Die Hard icon was obligated to show up in the beloved sitcom free of charge.
Sadly, however, that isn’t true, and Willis was already game to appear on Friends because he and Perry had become close, while he also thought it would be fun to tackle small screen comedy for the first time in a long while. In fact, the actor still gets paid residuals and royalties via reruns and syndication, but any money he makes from the series goes to various charities based in and around Los Angeles.
As for The Whole Nine Yards? Well, it was a decent-sized success after finishing up its theatrical run with over $106 million in the coffers, which is not bad for a project with a modest $40 million budget. Reviews were generally mixed across the board, though, and it holds a middling Rotten Tomatoes score of 44%, with the majority of critics praising the cast but pointing out the formulaic and uninspired narrative.
The Whole Nine Yards even got a sequel, which arrived four years later and flopped spectacularly after earning just $26 million, but the first installment in the short-lived series has now been added to the Netflix library for subscribers to enjoy, and even if it isn’t one of Bruce Willis‘ best, it’s still worth a watch.