Tom Hanks is one of those actors who everyone loves. Honestly, try to think of a single person who doesn't think he is the absolute greatest... You can't. They don't exist. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor and from all accounts sounds like he is an amazing person as well.
One of the most interesting things about him is how he managed to become the huge star that he is, and more importantly, how he made all that money.
He made a bunch of hit movies, that's pretty obvious, but it's how he set up his pay structure that ended up getting him millions more than his usual pay check!
He was able to successfully pull this off more than once, but it started with Forrest Gump. The actor was set to star in the movie, but instead of taking his regular salary, he offered to take percentage points.
Actors will do this when they really trust in the movie. They will essentially wager some of the upfront money that they would get in hopes that the profits would actually end up as more than they would normally make. At the time, Tom Hanks probably would have been guaranteed a decently large paycheck, but by doing it this way, reports say that he made anywhere between $40 to $60 million!
He worked his magic again for another popular movie, and he's not the only actor who has made this kind of deal...
Tom Hanks also went for percentage points for the movie Saving Private Ryan which helped him make between $30-$40 million. Other actors have taken this type of deal in the past as well.
Jack Nicholson lowered his pay check for Batman so that he could have a percentage of the sales from the toys. Obviously a lot of merchandise was made with his likeness, so he is said to have earned around $50 million for his role. His normal fee at the time was around $10 million, so he really made a smart choice.
Tom Cruise also managed to pocket around $70 million for the first Mission: Impossible because he was not only the star but he was also the producer. Cruise also negotiated the percentage of profits into more of his movies, including Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai, and Knight and Day.
Bruce Willis had the best of both worlds in The Sixth Sense. He not only received his $20 million salary, but he apparently also received 17% of the gross revenue of the home video sales.
Adam Sandler has also made a fortune off his movies, even though they are often bashed by critics. His company Happy Madison makes millions of dollars a year off those movies. He made around $40 million in 2011 alone. Because he is the star and producer of most of his movies he is able to earn millions of dollars a year even when his movies are criticized.
These actors made really smart decisions in their careers and were able to make more money in a couple months then what most of us could ever dream of.