A-list celebrity Johnny Depp was once the biggest movie star in the world. At one time, nobody in Hollywood could touch the salary and backend percentages he demanded because his value on the global market was unprecedented.
But that was a short while ago, because Depp has recently experienced a string of duds like Mortdecai, Transcendence and The Lone Ranger which have decreased his value significantly.
To be fair, he has starred in a few financially successful films during this time like Alice Through the Looking Glass and Black Mass. However, his worldwide box-office appeal is nowhere near what it once was.
But you might be surprised to learn that Depp is also in a crazy amount of trouble and it has nothing to do with his controversial and highly publicized split with actress Amber Heard.
Stephen Galloway and Ashley Cullins of The Hollywood Reporter write:
“What happened to $650 million? An explosive legal battle between one of Hollywood’s best-paid actors and the business managers he fired has laid bare tumultuous finances, outrageous spending and troubling behavior on Disney’s new ‘Pirates’ movie in a case that could even change how the industry does business.
You read that right. Johnny Depp accrued $650 million dollars in 13 years, but had such a luxurious lifestyle combined with poor money management, that he needed to borrow money.
Jake Bloom and Joel Mandel – Depp’s former managers – are reportedly suing Depp for more money than anyone can fathom. When they were both his managers, they had to break the news that he was going broke.
The Hollywood Reporter continued:
“Both men had been close to Depp for years. Bloom, indeed, was such a confidant to the actor that he had even joined him for an induction ceremony into the Comanche nation when he played Tonto in The Lone Ranger; as for Mandel, he had accompanied Depp to his three-island property in the Bahamas, atolls Mandel had helped his client buy for a total of $5.35 million.
These men were part of Depp’s inner circle, at least as far as any lawyer or accountant could belong to the inner circle of an artist this mercurial, one with a skull-and-crossbones tattoo on his leg and “Death is certain” scrawled beneath it, whose soul mates were such creative titans as Marlon Brando, Keith Richards and Hunter S. Thompson — the journalist whose ashes Depp fired from a cannon hauled to the top of a 153-foot tower, a tribute for which the actor says he paid $5 million.
Depp’s cash flow had reached a crisis point, they declared. Even though the star had become wildly wealthy (later, Mandel would claim Depp earned more than $650 million in the 13-plus years he had been represented by The Management Group, the company Mandel had started in 1987 with his brother Robert), there just wasn’t enough liquid money to cover Depp’s $2 million in monthly bills.”
But despite Depp’s poor money management, he still decided to sue his former managers for $25 million, accusing them of “fraud and mismanagement.”
The Hollywood Reporter continued:
“That exchange, the start of an increasingly fraught relationship between the star and his team, would culminate in the 2016 firing of Mandel and Depp’s longtime agent, United Talent Agency’s Tracey Jacobs, along with a $25 million lawsuit filed Jan. 13 by Depp against the Mandels’ TMG, accusing them of fraud and mismanagement, among other things.
TMG has since countersued, alleging that Depp, now 53, failed to pay its commission on his income from the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and painting a portrait of an out-of-control movie star, reeling from a nasty split from Heard and used to spending freely, including $30,000 a month on wine.
The Mandels seek a court declaration that ‘Depp is responsible for his own financial waste’; Depp’s side wants them to pay him millions, claiming they served as lawyers as well as accountants and therefore — if Depp’s interpretation of a California statute is correct — had no right to a percentage of his earnings without a proper contract.
The lawsuits, along with multiple interviews conducted by THR, indicate that Depp’s capricious behavior and poor decision-making placed him in a serious financial bind, which paved the way for the rupture with his closest advisers.”
Clearly all of this shook Depp to his core, because while he was on the set of the new Pirates movie in Australia, he turned to boozing and had complete disregard for the franchise which had given him so much.
The Hollywood Reporter reported:
Still, sources close to the production report tales of excessive drinking, physical fights with Heard and constant lateness on set, which often left hundreds of extras waiting for hours at a time.
Time and again, Bruckheimer, an assistant director and a flotilla of Disney executives led by production chief Sean Bailey were forced to huddle and debate how to handle their star’s tardiness.
Depp’s lateness and alleged heavy drinking caused enough concern that Jacobs, his then-agent, got into an argument with Bruckheimer when they were waiting on a set in the Gold Coast suburb of Helensvale. ‘She went over to Jerry and said, ‘You’ve got to do something! You’re the producer,’ recalls the production source.
“He said, ‘You do something. You’re the agent.’ ” (Bruckheimer denies the spat took place.) ‘Everyone was an innocent bystander watching this train wreck,” the source continues. ‘But when Johnny came on set, he was charming, nice. He’s yin and yang.’”
When you hear the phrase, “time is money,” there is no place where that phrase is more true than in the film industry, especially when it’s an enormous Disney production.
And adding insult to injury, Depp’s recent antics now make him a liability to any production.
Studios are going to have seriously consider whether he’s worth all the fuss, especially since his worldwide market value isn’t nearly what it used to be.