The man who was inside the Darth Vader suit, David Prowse is warning actors to read the fine print before they sign anything. He has recently claimed that he was not paid ANY residuals for two out of three of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Apparently, Prowse was told that the reason he did not receive residuals for the latter film, was because the film made no profits. (...Wh-Whaaaat?!)
“In the last 30 years you can count the number of times [The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi] have been in the cinema on one hand, and it never returned much money,” he said in an interview in Equity magazine. “I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you. Now here we’re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time.”
With three distinctive stints at the box-office in 1983 (first SW film I ever saw in theaters), 1985, and 1997 (The "Missing Ewok Song" Special Edition), Return of the Jedi's lifetime gross is $572 million. However, apparently the lack of profits may have been due to the expenses incurred with the remastering and additional scenes. Prowse claims he was entitled to a small percentage of the potential profits, once the numbers exceeded production costs. That level may have went up in smoke due to an "Audrey II" from Little Shop of Horrors Sarlacc Pit, a tacked-on musical number in Jabba's Palace, and a montage of planets draped in fireworks in the aftermath of the evil Empire's fall. (Hey, at least they didn't make Jabba "shoot first," before Leia killed him.)
While Lucasfilm denies Prowse's claims, they also say that policy prevents them from divulging whether the costs exceeded the profits. According to Lynne Hale, director of public relations:
“Lucasfilm, as a matter of policy, does not discuss its financial arrangements with cast or crew on its movies, and we will respect that policy here other than to say that Mr Prowse’s statement is not accurate.”
...Interesting. Looks like we have a bit of a feud here. Is David Prowse just trying to grasp a moment in the spotlight? (I mean, why wait until now to bring this up?) Or, did Lucasfilm essentially tell Prowse that they are "altering the deal?"