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Why Keanu Reeves Gave up $40 Million from ‘Matrix’ sequels

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There are few actors as loved by their fans as Keanu Reeves is. He has had an incredibly illustrious career with many diverse roles. And despite immense fame and money, there is a sense of humility that comes from him. When you look at Reeves, he just feels like a really great guy. And that is very rare to see in an industry that has people like Harvey Weinstein ruling it. But whenever we hear any story coming from Reeves, it warms our hearts, including this one from The Matrix.

Keanu Reeves gave up his back-end points from The Matrix sequels

Why Keanu Reeves Gave up $40 Million from Matrix sequels
Warner Bros. ©

For those of you who don’t know, back-end points are the percentage points that an actor or anyone earns from the earnings of a movie or a TV show. These points are written down in the contracts, giving the actors a decent piece of the cake.

Understandably, Keanu Reeves also had a few back-end points from The Matrix sequels to his name. However, he gave away a significant chunk of those earnings to the special effects and costume design crews. The crew members belonging to these two departments did play a significant role in making The Matrix trilogy as iconic as it is. According to an executive on the film:

He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate.

Despite the giveaway, Reeves still made money from the Trilogy

Even though he gave up $40 million of his money to the technical staff, Reeves still came out richer from The Matrix trilogy. Firstly, he made $10 million from the movie and also earned north of $35 million after the films came out. However, we’re not sure if he kept some back-end points to himself or not, as mandated by the union. The Screen Actor’s Guild is a very powerful union in Hollywood, with some payments being controlled by the union themselves. And the money that the Guild was in control of would have been difficult for Keanu Reeves to give away.

He has done it in other films as well

The Matrix may have been the first instance where Keanu Reeves gave his money away to some deserving crew members. However, it certainly wasn’t the last. He has given up his own money on two other instances too to extremely talented actors so that they could become a part of his own projects.

He did it first in The Replacements, Reeves agreed to take a cut to get the actor Gene Hackman on board. Secondly, he did the same with Devil’s Advocate to get Al Pacino on the project as well. And as a result, both of these films stood the test of time and became classics. This just shows that Keanu Reeves loves movies and his work more than he loves money. And that is a trait rare to find in this day and age.

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