Jim Carrey is incredibly talented, widely beloved, and immensely successful. There’s no need to harp on the subject: we all know it’s true. What you may not know, however, is that this was perhaps best proven by Carrey in a film you probably don’t even like. The biggest flex of Jim Carrey’s career is taking a percentage of Yes Man instead of a salary and bringing home a light US$35 million (AU$48.6 million) as a result.
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t remember Yes Man. You’ve probably seen this one before and thought: Jim Carrey plays a secretly well-meaning cynic who is put into a wacky circumstance against his will, where he is then forced to become a better guy. Liar Liar? No, not that one. The Mask? Wrong again. Mr Popper’s Penguins? Bruce Almighty? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? No on all three counts.
You’d also be forgiven for feeling like the premise of Yes Man was a little familiar. Hell, even his role as the Grinch fits this bill. People just love to see Jim Carrey play an asshole who struggles against something ridiculous and the box office receipts of Yes Man only further prove that case.
This one features
Jim Carrey Carl – a recently-divorced loan officer that says “no” a lot – who attends a seminar in which he promises to say “yes” to everything that comes his way going forward. You can’t even make this shit up.
While it’s not completely unheard of for actors to take a small percentage of a film’s profits on top of their flat rate, according to The Telegraph, Jim Carrey did not feel he needed to be paid upfront at all. Instead, he knew his worth, stepped up to the job, and walked home with a casual $50 million in his pocket. Can’t say no to that.
Given the marketability of Yes Man rested almost solely on the shoulders of Jim Carrey, it seemed only fair that he would take 36.2% of the film’s profits. While that might seem like the obvious way to go for someone of the star power of Carrey, it’s worth pointing out that he was coming off films that underperformed commercially, such as Fun with Dick and Jane.
For what it’s worth, Yes Man wasn’t particularly well-received by the critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 46%, with Carrey being widely considered as a standout in an otherwise mediocre film. Despite being quite unfunny, the film made over US$223.2 million (AU$301.8 million) on its US$70 million (AU$94.7 million) budget. As Business Insider reported, this netted Carrey around US$35 million (AU$48.6 million) when factoring in his slice of the pie.
Well, there you have it. Like his character in the film, Jim Carrey said “yes” to an opportunity with a risk involved, only to be rewarded handsomely for it. Jim Carrey was able to get the last laugh… Or, in the case of Yes Man, probably the only laugh.