The protagonist of The Matrix franchise, Keanu Reeves, has become the highest-paid actor in history for a single franchise, earning more than any other actor before him.
Reeves played the role of cybercriminal and computer programmer Neo (Thomas Anderson) in all four films.
The first movie, released in 1999, was an instant success, bringing in a whopping $467.2 million at the box office with a budget of only $63 million, taking the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction to another level.
The Matrix follows a future in which humanity is trapped inside a simulated reality called ‘the Matrix’ created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.
When Neo uncovers the truth, he joins a rebellion against the machines with other people who have been freed from ‘the Matrix’.
Keanu Reeves reportedly made a total income of $156,000,000 for his role in The Matrix franchise, according to a ‘non-definitive list of actors who have received $30 million or more as compensation for their services in a single production.’
This amount puts him ahead of other famous actors such as Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr., who have starred in successful franchises like Mission Impossible and Avengers, respectively.
Reeves’ total income for The Matrix franchise is way more than that of the other actors who came in joint second place, including Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, and Will Smith, who all reportedly brought in $100,000,000.
During an interview with Good Morning America ahead of the release of The Matrix Resurrections, Reeves revealed that he was once asked to take on a stage name because his real name, ‘Keanu,’ was considered too exotic by some.
The 57-year-old actor shared that when he was 20 years old and trying to make it in Hollywood, he was asked to change his name, but he opted to stick with his real name instead.
He admitted that he considered some ridiculous stage names such as “Chuck Spadina” but ultimately couldn’t bring himself to use them.
Keanu Reeves’ success in The Matrix franchise is undoubtedly due to his exceptional acting skills and his ability to bring the character of Neo to life.
The franchise has become one of the most iconic in the history of cinema, and it is not surprising that Reeves was rewarded handsomely for his role. His success is a testament to his talent and his dedication to his craft, making him one of the most respected actors in Hollywood today.