13 Breathtaking Financial Facts About Keanu Reeves
by Rudro Chakrabarti
No, you're breathtaking, Keanu Reeves.
His name is Keanu. And the world fell in love with the humble, kind, Canadian superstar with the rise of the sci-fi masterpiece, The Matrix. Among other cult classics (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Point Break, Speed).
The love never died, with his John Wick franchise receiving acclaim — and his show-stealing performance in Toy Story 4.
Despite being in the spotlight, Reeves is notoriously private. We’ve dug up the most interesting financial facts about everyone’s favorite Hollywood nice guy.
1. Rolling in net worth
Take the red pill, Neo. It’ll make you rich.
Keanu Reeves’ net worth sits at $360 million as of 2019, says Forbes.
This puts him among the wealthiest actors in the world.
2. A pitiful first pay-day
As far as first forays into film go, Reeves could've done worse than Youngblood, a well-meaning hockey movie starring Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.
Playing the team’s goalie, Heaver, was a perfect match for Reeves — dubbed “The Wall” during his stellar high school hockey career as a goalie.
But the pay for the role could have been better. Reeves reportedly made around $3,000.
It's a stark contrast to the $30 million he collected for the final two Matrix movies — 10,000 times more than his debut, and not including his box office cut.
3. He’s apparently Santa Claus
Jolly Saint Keanu learned that a set builder on The Matrix was going through some family trouble. What did he do?
Reeves personally gave him a Christmas bonus of $20,000 to help him out, according to a personal account from reddit user "kahi."
“He also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know peoples names, would say hello and mean it,” kahi says.
4. He has willingly taken pay cuts
Time after time, Reeves has proved himself dedicated to the craft. For Devil’s Advocate, he deferred $2 million of his salary so they could afford to hook Al Pacino to the project.
Pulling a similar move, Reeves cut the majority of his salary so that The Replacements could fit screen legend Gene Hackman into the budget.
"Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I've already made for the next few centuries,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
5. 'You get a Harley! You get a Harley!'
Though reports of Reeves donating millions of his own salary to give crew members bonuses are grossly exaggerated, he did do something amazing for the stunt crew of 12 he worked with on The Matrix Reloaded set.
He bought them all brand new Harley Davidson motorcycles, which range in price from $7,000 to more than $40,000 today — depending on the model.
"We were all in this thing, and we were training together beforehand," Reeves said to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I just wanted ... to give a bigger thank-you to all these guys who helped me make this.”
6. A fan once sued him for $3 million
It sounds like a horrible episode of Maury, but this actually happened, according to the Toronto Star.
Ten years ago, a woman claimed Reeves hypnotized her, impersonated her husband, and fathered all four of her children.
She pushed for $3 million per month in spousal support and $150,000 per month in retroactive child support for her fully adult kids.
Reeves agreed to take a paternity test in 2010, and for once he wasn’t The One. It came back negative, and the judge threw the case out of court.
7. He turned down $11 million
It was back in ‘95, probably the largest payday any studio offered Reeves before his $15 million salary for The Matrix Reloaded: $11 million to take part in Speed 2, the sequel to his classic action flick Speed.
And he turned it down. To star as Hamlet in the Manitoba Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s revenge classic, in Winnipeg, Canada.
Reeves explained the decision to Jimmy Kimmel in an interview:
“It was just a situation in life where I got the script and I read the script and I was like 'agggghhh.' It was about a cruise ship...and I was thinking, 'A bus, a cruise ship… Speed, bus, but then a cruise ship is even slower than a bus and I was like, ‘I love you guys but I just can’t do it."
Reeves also described it to the Toronto Star as similar work to 1996’s Chain Reaction, which he had just filmed — and he was disillusioned with the prospect of tackling another action movie.
8. The homeless star
Reeves holds notoriety, and probably some sort of record, for not owning a home with his significant means until 2003 — close to 18 years after starting his career.
He was essentially homeless and made trailers and hotel rooms his home — he was famously a long-time resident of the legendary Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles.
In 2003, Reeves (finally) purchased a Hollywood mansion for $5.95 million and dubbed it his “chateau modern.”
9. One of the highest-paid actors ever
Very few beat Reeves when you look at his gross pay for The Matrix Trilogy.
It’s hard to say whether he IS the One, just because salaries aren’t always made public, but he’s probably pretty dang close to being the highest-paid actor of all time.
Because of his lucrative Matrix deals, salary plus a cut of the box office — 10% for The Matrix, and 15% for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions — he walked away with over $256 million over the course of the trilogy.
That's approximately $56 million for The Matrix, $126 million for The Matrix Reloaded, and $79 million for The Matrix Revolutions. And all including his salary.
10. The billion-dollar man
Though there's a theory that Sony (lucam’s edit – actually, it was Fox) put him in “movie jail” when he turned down Speed 2 in 1995, Reeves has somehow still managed to gross billions of dollars at the box office over the years.
How much approximately? Something like $5.85 billion worldwide, not adjusted for ticket-price inflation.
Cue air guitar.
11. Keanu loves motorcycles
Makes sense, since he’s been in so many action movies and does his own stunts — but people fail to realize just how much Reeves loves motorcycles.
“Where I grew up in Toronto, every summer motorcycle gangs would come into a place called Yorkville,” Reeves says in a GQ interview. “Those bikes, those people, those pirates, I think touched that 10-year-old kid in a way.”
His collection is easily worth hundreds of thousands, and he also co-founded a renowned motorcycle company: Arch Motorcycle, based in LA.
Arch Motorcycles are completely custom-designed and start at $78,000.
12. He invested millions back into The Matrix trilogy
You’ll see urban legends of how Reeves “donated over $100 million dollars” in bonuses for the special effects and design crew working on the set of the Matrix films.
By all accounts, he’s an amazing guy, but he’s not THAT amazing. This seems to be a commonly misreported story.
Following the trail of supposed million-dollar handouts led us to an account in The Wall Street Journal that clarifies he cut money out of his contract to better fund the special effects, production and design departments.
13. He had part-time jobs like the rest of us
When Reeves was a teenager, saving up for his move to Hollywood, he worked two part-time jobs.
He sharpened ice skates at a local arena in Toronto, plus worked at a gourmet Italian grocery store.
Having dropped out of high school at 17, he moved to LA three years later and got his first big break in River’s Edge (1986).