Arnold Schwarzenegger: Net Worth and Career of the Action Superstar


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Ever wondered how much money is Arnold Schwarzenegger worth?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a legendary Austrian-American bodybuilder, model, actor, businessman, and politician. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular and successful actors of all time. At his peak, he was the highest paid actor in the world, earning around $20-30 million for every movie. Aside from earning hundreds of millions through his movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger has also earned a lot of money through his numerous other investments, most notably in the field of real estate. Over the years, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s real estate portfolio has increased to well over $100 million.   

As a result of his incredible financial success in multiple fields, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth is $400 million as of today. 

Where was Arnold Schwarzenegger born?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30th, 1947 in the tiny village of Thal, Austria. His father Gustav was the local chief of police and his mother was a homemaker. His father originally wanted the young Arnold to become a police officer. His mother wanted him to attend a trade school. Growing up, Arnold Schwarzenegger believed that he was destined for something much more than what his tiny Austrian village could offer. 

How did Arnold Schwarzenegger start his bodybuilding career?

In 1960, Schwarzenegger’s football (soccer) coach took him to the local gym and introduced the 13 year old to the world of bodybuilding. After learning that some recent winners of the Mr. Universe competition went on to have successful acting careers in Hollywood, Arnold immediately set his sights on becoming the most famous professional bodybuilder in the world. In 1965, Arnold won the Junior Mr. Europe Contest. In 1967, at the age of 20 he became the youngest person to win the Mr. Universe title. Arnold Scwarzenegger went on to win the title three more times. Even with all of his success as a bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger still found time to attend business school in his spare time.

When did Arnold Schwarzenegger move to America?

In September 1968, at the age of 21, Schwarzenegger moved to America with $27,000 to his name, all of which was saved up from winning competitions. In today’s dollars $27,000 in 1968 is equal to $182,000 after adjusting for inflation, so it was no small sum. 

How did Arnold Schwarzenegger start investing in real estate?

Soon after arriving in Hollywood, Arnold Schwarzenegger began making small investments in real estate. He bought a small plot of land in Palmdale, California that was rumored to soon become the new home of a supersonic airport. Though this first investment flopped, Arnold was undeterred. He took his remaining funds and borrowed $10,000 from his trainer at Gold’s Gym in Venice, California to buy an apartment building. The purchase price was $214,000. He sold the apartment for $360,000 after a year. He then traded up to a 12 unit building, followed by a 36 unit building, followed by a 100 unit building. Each time Arnold sold a building, he would pour the profits into the next venture to avoid taxes and increase his potential future return. By the time Arnold Schwarzenegger turned 25, he was already a real estate millionaire. All of this success happened well before he was well-known actor.

Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger owns a vast real estate portfolio made up of commercial properties primarily in Southern California. Not including his personal homes, the portfolio is worth above of $100 million.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Movie Career 

In 1970, he won the first of his many “Mr. Olympia” titles. Schwarzenegger received his first major movie break when he was cast in the movie “Hercules in New York”. Upon the 1977 release of his documentary “Pumping Iron”, Schwarzenegger’s popularity increased even more. 

His fame continued to grow with movies like “Conan the Barbarian” but his career didn’t really take off until he was cast in the 1984 blockbuster “The Terminator”. He earned $75,000 for his work in The Terminator, which went on to earn $80 million worldwide. The pay for his role in The Terminator might not have been eye popping, but the success and popularity he received as a result of his role in the movie, was incredible. He went on to become the biggest action star of the 1980s after that.

He followed up with hits like “The Running Man”, “Red Heat”, and “The Predator”. He even dabbled in comedy with Ivan Reitman’s 1988 film “Twins” which co-starred Danny Devito.

In the 1990s, Arnold returned to his role of the Terminator with his friend and director James Cameron in the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. 

The two would even go on to even more success with “True Lies”. Schwarzenegger rounded out the 90s with movies like “Last action Hero”, 1996’s “Eraser”, and finally “Batman and Robin”.

Which movie did Arnold Schwarzenegger earn the most money for?

For the 1988 movie “Twins”, Arnold, Danny Devito and director Ivan Reitman all agreed to take zero salary from the studio in exchange for owning 40% of the film (13.33% each). The movie was a smash hit and went on to earn more than $215 million worldwide at the box office alone. It was also a hit on VHS and on cable. In a March 2014 interview, Arnold claimed that he earned more from “Twins” than any of his other movies throughout his entire career. He said the same is presumably true for Reitman and Devito. Assuming Arnold and Danny and Ivan each made $35-40 million from the movie in 1988, after adjusting for inflation that’s equal to earning $70-$80 million The trio would go onto reunite in the film “Junior”.

Other Notable movie salaries: Arnold Schwarzenegger earned $2 million for “Commando”, $3.5 million for “Predator”, $11 million for “Total Recall”, $12 million for both “Kindergarten Cop” and “Terminator 2”. In Terminator 2, Arnold only had 700 words of dialogue, equating to $21,429 per spoken word.

He earned $15 million for “True Lies”, “Junior” and “Last Action Hero” then $20 million for “Eraser” and “Jingle All The Way”. Arnold’s paychecks topped $25 million for “Batman & Robin”, “The 6th Day” and “Collateral Damage”.

In 2003, Arnold negotiated an upfront salary of $29.25 million PLUS a 20% royalty on gross profits over $380 million for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”. The movie went on to earn $433 million globally, bringing Arnold’s total paycheck up to an estimated $35 million.

During his career to date, Arnold has earned at least $400 million from film salaries alone, before taxes.

What is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth?

As a result of an incredibly successful movie career and great returns to real estate investments, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth is $400 million. 

How did Arnold Schwarzenegger enter politics?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a long time member of the Republican Party. He even appeared at the 2004 National Republican convention making a speech on why he became a republican. In 2003 he shocked the nation when he announced on “The Tonight Show” that he was running for Governor of California. Arnold Schwarzenegger served as Governor from 2003-2011.

In the run up to his election, Arnold Schwarzenegger released financial disclosures that pegged his net worth in 2003 at $200 million. The same disclosure showed his prior year earnings topped $26 million and his federal tax bill was $9.2 million. He runs all movie income through an LLC called Oak Productions Inc. which is based in Santa Monica, California. Oak Productions is based in a building located at 3110 Main Street, a commercial property with roughly a dozen tenants in a prime location. Arnold owns the entire building.

Arnold Schwarzenegger would later claim that by serving as Governor for eight years he lost $200 million in potential movie wages.

Who was Arnold Schwarzenegger married to?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was married to television news personality Maria Shriver, niece of President John F. Kennedy, from 1986 to 2017. They have four children together including Katherine (who would later marry actor Chris Pratt), and model Patrick.

Arnold and Maria’s relationship ended in 2011 after news broke that he had fathered a son 14 years earlier with the family housekeeper. Their divorce took six years to settle. Arnold kept their longtime family home in Brentwood while Maria use his funds to acquire a new home nearby. They maintain joint ownership of family vacation properties in Sun Valley, Idaho and Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a wildly successful career as a movie star, real estate tycoon and a politician. The former Governor of California is also one of the highest paid actors of all time. He also holds a real estate portfolio worth over $100 million. As a result of all that financial success, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s net worth is $400 million. He is still appearing in movies and investing in real estate, so his net worth is bound to increase in the coming years.


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