Fans of geekdom love when their town hosts a local pop culture convention. Not only is it a great place to get some cool merchandise and see some awesome cosplay, it’s also a rare opportunity to meet some of your favorite stars up close and personal. If you’re a fan of Supernatural, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead, or many other television shows and movies, you can meet and interact with some of your favorite characters. It used to be that only the big conventions like San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con was able to draw the big stars, but nowadays the stars are flocking to all of them, and for a pretty good reason.
It turns out that your favorite genre actors can end up making six figures simply by signing autographs and taking pictures with their adoring fans. First off, many of the talent that attend the convention end up making a large amount of money before they even show up. For example, Chris Evans, Captain America himself, and Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead can get up to $500,000 just to show up at the convention. Then when they meet their fans, the one on one sessions can cost anywhere from $10-$150 (depending on the person). They end up sometimes leaving the convention with garbage bags full of $20 bills. Sometimes, they end up making more in a convention weekend, than they would filming an episode of their show.
Arrow star Stephen Amell has been so involved with conventions, that he started his of talent agency WFA Entertainment, to help actors (including himself) work the convention. Because he got ahead of the curve, it’s estimated that he make up to $250,000 per weekend, although he denies it.
If somebody wanted to do a convention every weekend, they could make more on the convention circuit than their episodic fee.
Many believe that the regular guarantee for genre stars in between $5,000 and $10,000 per convention appearance. However is the start is the lead of a highly watched genre show (like Supernatural, Walking Dead, the DC CW shows, or the Marvel/Netflix shows), their range is anywhere between $35,000 and $250,000, and that’s just the local conventions. If we are talking about the big ones, it can be guaranteed to $100,000 and they can make even more signing/pictures.
Some stars are seriously raking in the dough
- Norman Reedus (Walking Dead): $200,000 guarantee and $500,000 in pictures and autographs.
- Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead): Donates his proceeds to charity.
- Mark Hamil (Star Wars, Batman Animated): $250,000
- Any Doctor Who (Matt Smith, David Tennant, Peter Capaldi): Estimated they each make $250,000 a weekend.
- Marvel Movie Stars: Stars of Marvel films make up to $500,000 given how rare their appearances are.
Even those who guest star on the small screen end up making more money on the convention circuit than they would on TV shows. Just take Jewel Staite of Firefly fame. When she was pregnant with her child and “pretty much not hireable,” was able to attend 12 conventions.
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.
It’s to the point where actors want to join a genre show just so they can make all the convention money if the show’s a hit. Not bad for a side gig huh?
Source: Hollywood Reporter