If you've ever attended a fan convention you know that a few things are certain: there will be amazing examples of cosplay, some questionable displays of personal hygiene, and absolutely astronomical prices for any sort of celebrity interaction.
However, a recent probe inside the world of fan conventions by The Hollywood Reporter has exposed just how much money celebrities are making out of their appearances at the events - with many big named raking in six-figures over the course of a weekend. In fact, insiders described the backrooms at fan conventions "like a scene from Blow or Goodfellas: a room full of money with professional cash counters."
Over the last few years the popularity of fan conventions has exploded as fans flock to meet their favorite celebrity. But while fans might walk away with a grin on their face having met their on-screen hero in the flesh, it's the stars who are walking away with literal "garbage bags full of $20s" slung over their backs.
In order for conventions such as Walker Stalker Con or Wizard World to secure a celebrity appearance, they must first agree to a pay stars a minimum price guarantee to show up to the event, hold an autograph and photo session, and possibly even take part in a panel. While this might run around $5,000 for lesser-known actors or notable personalities, it can extend up to six-figures for those appearing in series such as Once Upon A Time, The Walking Dead or franchises such as the MCU.
However, this is just the minimum price guarantee, and most of the time stars will make far beyond that thanks to pocketing the majority of the enormous fees charged for photo opportunities and autographs. Of course, conventions need to take their share, but according to THR sources it usually consists of taking the entry fee, $5 for every autograph and $10 for every photo (with the photographer pocketing another $10). Aside from that it's the stars who collect the rest, meaning that if they're a popular celebrity, they could potentially be looking at a $500,000 pay day for one weekend's work.
And by the way, $500,000 isn't just an arbitrary amount - that's apparently how much the stars of the MCU each managed to net over the course of one weekend at a recent convention in Atlanta. Meanwhile The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus could expect to negotiate a price guarantee for $200,000, but net up to $500,000 overall, and sources say that former Doctor Who star, Matt Smith has made as much as $250,000 in a weekend.
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Arrow star and partial owner of Heroes & Villains FanFest, Stephen Amell also spoke out about the crazy money that stars are making from the convention circuit. "If somebody wanted to do a convention every weekend, they could make more on the convention circuit than their episodic fee," he said.
This sentiment was echoed by Firefly star, Jewel Staite. "The fact is, a guest star on a TV show can [get] around $10,000, whereas you can work two days at a convention and pull in the same amount — and sometimes double and triple that," the actress said. Last year, while Staite says she was "pretty much not hireable" due to being pregnant, she appeared at 12 conventions, ensuring a steady (and high) income, and she says she'll do the same when she has her next child. Staite also admitted to turning down guest roles on shows in favor of a more lucrative convention gig. "Have I turned down smaller jobs that won't pay as much? Absolutely. It would be silly of me to say yes to the job that pays $10,000 for a week of work and bow out of a big convention where I could potentially walk away with $40,000 in two days."
However, it's not all a money grabbing endeavor, with some conventions working with stars to raise money for charities. Earlier in September, Walker Stalker Con held an event in Orlando which raise almost $250,000 for the One Orlando Fund, which benefits the victims of June's Pulse Nightclub shooting. There are also stars such as The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln, who rarely appears at events, though when he does, donates all his proceeds to charities.
Obviously it's always good to hear when a celebrity is giving back to a community and those in need, but with the convention market so popular there's also absolutely no denying that these stars are making crazy money off of their fans. It's almost a relief to hear that at least some of the mega bucks are helping those in need.
Do you think the prices fans are expected to pay at conventions are outrageous?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter