Harrison Ford made $20 million for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ford earned $500,000 for Return of the Jedi, $100,000 for Empire and only $10,000 for the original Star Wars in 1977.
Ford also has a reported deal with Disney to make.5% of the earnings from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ford’s total take from the movie could top out at $35 million.
By contrast, Ford earned just $1,000 a week for the original Star Wars in 1977. Hard to believe, but there’s a clip in this article where the actor confirms it. A reported deal for a small percentage of the box office takes boosts this to almost $2 million total.
How Much Money Harrison Ford Made for Every Star Wars Movie
Below we list how much money Ford made for each of his four star wars movies: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Movie – Harrison Ford Earnings – With.5% of Sales
Star Wars – $10,000 – $1,948,495
Empire Strikes Back – $100,000 – $1,558,438
Return of the Jedi – $500,000 – $1,687,765
The Force Awakens – $20,000,000 – $27,553,828
Totals – $20,610,000 – $32,748,526
Harrison Ford Star Wars Pay: $10,000
Harrison Ford earned just $10,000 for the original Star Wars in 1977. That’s hard to believe, but Ford himself confirmed the low-ball figure in an interview with Good Morning America. In the clip below, Ford says he earned just $1,000 a week for the original film. When he was offered so little money, he immediately said no, but then reconsidered.
With a cut of the film’s box office revenue, Ford’s earnings likely topped out higher the often estimated $10,000 total. With Ford’s reported 1/4% cut, Ford eventually earned nearly $2 million for the first film in the Star Wars saga.
In the original movie, Han Solo says, “I have a bad feeling about this.” He repeats the line in The Force Awakens. Harrison Ford also says the line as Indiana Jones. The line is also voiced in various Star Wars movies by Luke, Leia, C-3PO, Anakin and Obi Wan.
Harrison Ford Empire Strikes Back Earnings: $100,000
Ford is reported to have made $100,000 for reprising his role of Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. We have a direct quote from the actor stating that he made just $1,000 a week for Star Wars. However, there’s no such corroboration for Ford’s Empire earnings. The oft-quoted figure seems to float disembodied in internet space.
If Ford again earned his 1/4% of box office revenue, his total for Empire would be around $1.5 million.
In the vintage clip below, Ford talks about his work with George Lucas on Empire.
In Empire Strikes Back (and the other original Star Wars films) Carrie Fisher had to stand on a box to appear in shots with Ford. Fisher is a full foot shorter than Ford. During the shooting of the blizzard scene on planet Hoth, the weather cooperated by serving up a real blizzard. No special effects were needed. Ford himself had to be driven to the shoot location in a snowplow.
Harrison Ford Return of the Jedi Pay: $500,000
Ford reportedly made half a million for his work on Return of the Jedi. Once again, there’s no solid source for where this figure comes from. It makes a good deal of sense though, compared to other reported star payouts at that time.
With a rumored 1/4% of ticket sales adding to Ford’s earnings, the actor’s take would jump to $1.7 million total for Jedi.
Ford wanted Han Solo to die in Jedi. In the clip below, he said he thought Solo’s death in the third Star Wars film would lend weight to the character and the series.
Harrison Ford’s character in Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is named “Col. G. Lucas.” Coppola was George Lucas’ mentor. Lucas apparently cited Coppola as the inspiration for Han Solo. The Ewok battle in Jedi came from Lucas’ ideas for a climactic final battle in Apocalypse Now. Lucas was originally slated to direct the film.
Harrison Ford Star Wars: The Force Awakens Money: $20 Million
Internet sources place Harrison Ford’s pay for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $20 million. With a reported 1/2% of sales, this figure would already be at $27.5 million.
Ford is said to be the highest paid The Force Awakens actor by far. Others are rumored to earn as little as 1/50th to 1/75th of what Ford was paid. In the clip below, Ford discusses his work on the movie.
Full Disclosure: Nobody Knows Nuthin’
So how do we know how much Ford makes? The truth is, apart from “$1,000 a week” on the original Star Wars, nobody knows for sure. Harrison Ford hasn’t released any info on his Force Awakens contract. Disney has also kept mum on the star’s earnings. But a Google search for “How much money did Harrison Ford make for Star Wars” or “Harrison Ford Star Wars earnings,” returns dozens of articles claiming to know exactly how much the star raked in. Why?
We did a full analysis of the top Google results for the quest to learn Ford’s percentage. Every single article we read made the same claim: Ford made $25 million plus.5%. Every single article also cited the exact same source: a British tabloid called The Daily Mail.
Since the Mail isn’t exactly held up by billions as a paean of hard-hitting journalistic excellence, that means we’re still largely in the dark about Ford’s exact earnings. Judging by comparable industry salaries for similar stars though, $25 million is about as good a guess as any.
The Mail also says Ford made 76 times more than his much younger co-stars. It’s highly probable Ford made a lot more than Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. However, the tabloid doesn’t cite a solid source for their “76 times” figure.
Star Wars vs Other Cash
How does Ford’s Star Wars money stack up next to his earnings from other movies? Harrison Ford has had a long and storied career. With over 73 major acting credits, the Han Solo star has an estimated net worth of $230 million. For Ford to have that kind of cash stash, he must have paid out at least half of that in taxes and expenses. That means Ford has earned a total of $460 million in his lifetime. That means his Star Wars earnings of $33 million makes up just 7% of Ford’s total earnings
On 12/24/15, Ford reportedly hit the skies in his private helicopter. He wasn’t flying solo, though. Ford traveled with a friend. The actor is back in the pilot seat after the August plane crash that left him with a broken leg.
One thing cited by Star Wars fans young and old as one of the coolest things about the franchise is the rags-to-riches stories of the actors. People often find it adorable how new movie stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are handling their sudden skyrocket ride to fame. That’s maybe one of the many things the prequels got wrong and J. J. Abrams got right. Where the prequels used tried-and-tested movie stars to fill its ranks, The Force Awakens went back to the source: talented unknowns. The tweet below from History in Pictures on 1/5/16 shows Harrison Ford in his unknown days.
Harrison Ford (far right) when he was a carpenter building Sergio Mendes’ recording studio, 1970.