The past year has been the biggest yet for Matthew McConaughey‘s career; he made the move from being the King of romantic comedies to Oscar winner, as well as taking on one of his most complicated and enthralling characters yet on the hit HBO show True Detective.
McConaughey’s acting career began when he was cast as Wooderson in 1993’s cult classic Dazed and Confused; after this breakout role McConaughey quickly became one of the most sought after young stars in Hollywood, starring alongside high profile actors like Kevin Spacey and Sandra Bullock in films like Lone Star and A Time to Kill. By the end of the 90’s, McConaughey was starting to star in big budget romantic comedies, and by the mid 2000’s he was one of the highest-paid men in comedy, starring in films like Fool’s Gold, The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
After a brief career break, and a new acting coach, McConaughey came back to be one of the most critically acclaimed and loved actors of the past year; winning an SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar for his performance in the low budget biopic of AIDS sufferer and activist Ron Woodruff. So to celebrate the amazing year he’s had here’s the top 10 most expensive movies of Matthew McConaughey’s career:
10. The Wedding Planner: $35 Million
Released in 2001, The Wedding Planner starred Jennifer Lopez at the height of her career in both music and film. Following the ups and downs of the life of a wedding planner who falls for the groom of the biggest wedding of her career, The Wedding Planner is light fun viewing that garnered plenty of attention from audiences and managed to make an impressive profit at the box office, grossing over $94 million during its theatre release.
9. The Lincoln Lawyer: $40 Million
Released in 2011, The Lincoln Lawyer reigned in what is now known as the McConaissance; in it McConaughey plays a defence attorney who has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a fool proof plan to beat the system and win his case. It was in this film that McConaughey finally shed the image he had been known for in films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and showed audiences just how talented and versatile he really is. Despite not being as lucrative as some of his other films, The Lincoln Lawyer was profitable, earning a respectable $85 million in the box office.
8. A Time to Kill: $40 million
Based on the bestseller by John Grisham, A Time to Kill is one of the biggest movies of McConaughey’s early career, with a big budget and an all-star cast including Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson, this film was one of the highest grossing movies of 1996, bringing in well over $152 million during its release. The story follows a young lawyer played by McConaughey who defends a black man accused of murdering the two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK, critics and audiences alike gushed over the crime/thriller, with Samuel L. Jackson receiving a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role.
7. Failure to Launch: $50 Million
During an interview with Graham Norton, McConaughey talked about his signature “lean” in movie posters (seen below), and how the greater the lean usually meant the greater the profit for the film. His biggest lean of all came on 2006’s Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker; released at the peak of his romantic comedy career this $50 million movie raked in a massive $128 million at the box office.
6. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: $50 Million
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was one of the biggest surprises of 2003 cinema and the romantic comedy genre in general; the simple premise of two people who come together with clashing agendas proved incredibly successful and cemented the film as a sort of classic in its genre. It made both Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey two of the most sought after and loved comedy actors of the 2000’s and made a huge profit of $177 million worldwide.
5. Reign of Fire: $60 Million
Starring McConaughey and Christian Bale, Reign of Fire is the only fantasy film on this list and of McConaughey’s career. The story tells the tale of how fire-breathing dragons emerged from the earth and began setting fire to everything, and becoming the ruling species on the planet. The film received mixed reviews with Roger Ebert that it made no sense and had little plot, however Reign of Fire still managed to pull in a profit, making $82 million during its 2002 release.
4. Fool’s Gold: $70 Million
In 2008 McConaughey and Kate Hudson joined forces once more to star in Fool’s Gold, their previous success with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days meant that studio executives felt confident investing $70 million in the action packed romantic comedy, however Fool’s Gold only managed to make $111 million at the box office which paled in comparison to the comedy duo’s previous project.
3. EdTv: $80 Million
Just one year after Jim Carrey‘s incredibly moving performance in The Truman Show where he played a man whose entire life was filmed as a TV show, director Ron Howard made his own big budget and more light-hearted version in the form of EdTv. The story follows Ed, a video store clerk who agrees to have his life filmed by a camera crew for a TV network. Starring Matthew McConaughey as Ed and a whole host of other big names like Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson and Ellen DeGeneres, this film had major potential to be a funny and successful satire on celebrity life and voyeurism, but instead it received poor ratings and reviews and bombed at the box office, only managing to make $35 million, a fraction of its original budget of $80 million.
2. The Wolf of Wall Street: $100 Million
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill this multi Oscar nominated Scorsese blockbuster absolutely destroyed much of its competition during its 2013/14 release grossing nearly $400 million. Audiences and critics alike raved about the over the top and ostentatious lives of Wall Street stock brokers, told through the true story of Jordan Belfort. However it was a 15 minute cameo from Matthew McConaughey that got people talking; his performance as DiCaprio’s mentor captivated viewers, his presence on screen outshined his co-stars and one short improvised scene turned out to be one of the most memorable in the entire film. The Wolf of Wall Street along with Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective made this past year McConaughey’s best yet.
1. Sahara: $160 Million
Released in 2005, Sahara was an action/adventure starring Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz and Matthew McConaughey. Based on the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler, Sahara tells the story of explorer Dirk Pitt who goes on the adventure of a lifetime seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa. Despite opening at number one and grossing $18 million during its opening weekend, this film only managed to make $119 million during its release, proving just how easy it can be for a film to have to such a big budget that it’s nearly impossible to make a profit at the box office.