There was once a time when Elijah Wood was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. He had one of the most recognizable faces in the world after being cast as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackon’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The franchise raked in millions of dollars at the box office, making it a blockbuster smash. It’s only natural to assume that Wood was well-paid for playing the lead role in the films and that he lived comfortably off of his LOTR earnings. Is that why Wood has hardly been seen on the silver screen in the years since?
Born on January 28th, 1981, Wood began his career as a child model and actor in Iowa before his family moved to Los Angeles in 1988. He made his film debut in Back To The Future Part II before earning major roles in films like The Good Son and Flipper. It wasn’t until Wood was a teenager that he became widely known for his roles in films like Deep Impact and The Ice Storm. It was the popular teen horror film The Faculty that finally put him in the limelight as a rising star.
He was soon cast as Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and was immediately propelled to international stardom. He reprised the role for the series’ later installments, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, and even made a cameo in the first installment of the prequel series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
According to Looper, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy brought in nearly $3 billion worldwide during its box office run. That doesn’t include all the money made from DVD sales, memorabilia, or sales to various networks for rights to broadcast the trilogy, much less the streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix, who also have to purchase rights to stream the trilogy on their services.
With as much money as the films made, one might figure that a lead star like Wood made a considerable amount of money for his work in the films. Most actors who recognize the magnitude of their contributions to big franchises like Rings usually negotiate both a nice paycheck and a reasonable backend off of any sales involved with the project. Even Chris Tucker, though he’s nowhere near as wealthy as he should be, negotiated a percentage of the box office sales for his films. So did Eddie Murphy. Even most of Jerry Seinfeld’s vast fortune was earned from the comedian’s deals in syndicated sales to various network and streaming platforms. As a result, the latter comedians are in the top bracket of the richest in the world.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have been the case with Wood. Though his salary for LOTR is not publicly known, it is speculated that he only received $1 million for his role in the billion-dollar franchise⏤a shocking number considering how important the role of Frodo Baggins was to the series. Not only that, but it appears that Wood, like many of his co-stars, did not have any clauses in their contracts entitling them to revenue from the trilogy’s box office sales.
After all of that work to help build the Oscar-winning franchise, it’s unfortunate that Wood wasn’t at least offered a percentage of the box office sales. The actor has never spoken out about it, so it seems that he’s content with how everything unfolded. Then again, since these contracts are usually ironclad, he may feel that there’s no point in speaking publicly about it even if he wanted to. Plus he hasn’t done bad for himself since playing Frodo.
Wood has since tried his hand at a variety of diverse roles and appeared in several films including Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Sin City, Everything is Illuminated, Bobby, Happy Feet, The Oxford Murders, and Happy Feet Two. In 2011, he transitioned to the small screen when he was cast as Ryan Newman in the eccentric FX comedy series Wilfred, playing the character for three seasons until the show ended in 2014. It was another two years before Wood returned to television, and in 2016 he began starring as Todd Brotzman on the BBC America television series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Unfortunately, the show was canceled shortly after its second season due to low ratings.
Currently, Wood has over 100 acting credits to his name. If you include the star power he amassed from his Lord of the Rings days, it stands to reason that he probably received a nice payday from every project he’s ever worked on.
What Is Elijah Wood’s Net Worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wood is currently worth $20 million, a number some might consider extremely low given how long he’s been in Hollywood and all of the big-name projects he’s participated in. As one of the most iconic characters of the modern age, some might even say it’s a shame that he didn’t have a better contract for his role as Frodo Baggins.
Wood may have a substantial career on paper, but it definitely seems like the lack of high-paying contracts has financially robbed him of the chance to be one of the richest actors in the world.