Emma Watson’s lucrative decision

Still from the film Beauty and the Beast
Making the right move: putting the beast first could bag her $17.5m

Just ten weeks ago, Emma Watson was cursing losing the lead role of Mia in La La Land “for being too demanding”, according to Emily Smith in The New York Post. Watson allegedly made a series of “crazy demands”, including the condition that “rehearsals for the film must be done in London – for a film called La La Land!”. Although the producers’ “jumped through hoops to make it work with her”, Watson decided that “she wasn’t able to commit”. Of course, after the film became a big hit and helped Emma Stone win an Oscar, Watson started “freaking out and looking for someone else to blame”, claims Smith.

Watson had a different take on her decision, telling US radio station SiriusXM that she turned down La La Land to concentrate on the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Beauty “wasn’t the sort of movie I could sort of step into”, she said. “I knew I had horse training, I knew I had dance training, I knew I had three months of singing ahead of me, and I knew I had to be in London for that… I had to be where I had to be. Scheduling-conflict-wise, it didn’t work out.”

Whatever the truth, it proved to be a wise decision. Beauty and the Beast looks like it will be a bigger hit than La La Land, earning more than $400m in the US alone. The film’s success is “set to boost [Watson’s] earnings so significantly that she is predicted to top the next Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses list”, claims Andrew Bullock in the Daily Mail. While she received only a “paltry” upfront fee of $2.5m, Watson made a deal “to cut her a slice of the production’s global earnings”. Her share “is set to total at approximately $15m, which takes her earnings to $17.5m for this one project alone”.

Of course, this isn’t the first big pay day for Watson. By the end of her time as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, she was “earning in excess of $10m for each film”. She has also had a successful modelling career, starting with a “six-figure salary” for being the face of Burberry in 2009. Even before her latest blockbuster, she had “an estimated net worth of $70m”.

Still, not even Watson can guarantee a film’s success. “Hands up who wants to see Emma Watson play a German lady from 1973 battling against a preacher and possible child molester who indirectly works for Augusto Pinochet?” asks Stuart Heritage in The Guardian. This was the premise of The Colony, which “opened for one daily matinee screening in Hull, Widnes and Burnley” last year and took a total of £47. Watson can console herself with the fact that it beat Man Down, a Shia LeBeouf effort that made £7 when it opened in the UK two weeks ago.

Unless she signs on for a sequel to The Colony, Watson is unlikely to find herself short of a bob or two – but if she feels the need to economise, she could do worse than follow the example of one Harry Potter co-star. Rupert Grint “may be a multimillionaire with a mansion in London”, but…he “loves coupons and Costco”, notes Barbara Chai of Moneyish.com. “He plans ahead and collects coupons to use at the right time on items such as talcum powder and car shampoo.” Indeed, Grint enjoys couponing so much that he “upgraded his Costco membership from Business to Executive, and always carries his black Costco card everywhere”.

Tabloid money… Pepsi’s missed opportunity for honesty

• Pepsi has missed “a PR opportunity” by pulling an advert featuring Kendall Jenner giving a Pepsi to a policeman at a demo, who “swigs it to much applause”, says the Daily Mirror’s Brian Reade. Critics claimed it trivialised anti-police protests across the US, but “Pepsi could have said: ‘You’re missing the point, dudes. We hate the cops as much as you. Which is why we made Kendall give him something we know will get him addicted, meaning there’s a chance that, like the 184,000 adults worldwide killed by sugar-soaked drinks every year, the cop could die through obesity, diabetes or kidney failure’.” “Sure, sales might have gone through the floor,” says Reade. ”But Pepsi’s honesty ratings would have gone through the roof.”

• You know Donald Trump is the boss when he lands in Air Force One –“a hugely impressive aircraft that can be refuelled in mid-air and is able to confuse incoming missiles with all sorts of military spec whizz-bangery”, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. Thank goodness that Theresa May at least has the “Thereasy-Jet”, a converted RAF Airbus. “I felt proud to think she’d landed [in Jordan last week]… in a dirty great jet that said Royal Air Force down the side,” says Clarkson. “This is a statement that says, ‘Hello, foreigner. I’m British. So pay attention’.” Only, she didn’t – because Prince Charles had taken it for a jaunt to Europe. May had to charter her own plane at a £120,000 cost to the taxpayer.

• Jon Platt was refused permission by his daughter’s state school to take her to Florida in term time, says Nick Ferrari in the Sunday Express. He took her anyway, and got a £60 fine, which he disputed all the way to the Supreme Court – a case he rightly lost last week. “If the taxpayer is funding the free education of your child, you have a duty to ensure he or she turns up,” says Ferrari. “Pay for your child’s education and then you can be your own boss.”

Merryn

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