Hustle & Flow garnered an Academy Award for Three Six Mafia. But Terrence Howard claims to have only made $12,000 for the film.
It’s been 18 years since Howard captivated audiences with his starring role in 2005’s Hustle & Flow. The Memphis-based film became a box office hit earning $22 million in the United States and Canada. While Howard, 54, led the film with his portrayal of the “Djay,” the actor appeared on WREG’s Live at 9 on Tuesday, Nov. 14 where he revealed the surprisingly low salary he walked away with.
“I made $12,000 for doing Hustle & Flow,” Howard said.
“What Paramount did, instead of putting my name as ‘Terrence Howard’ performing the songs, they put ‘performed by Djay.’ Well, they owned Djay.”
The studio’s subtle loophole allowed for the performance royalties to go to the media company instead of the song’s actual performer. Now Howard is suing Paramount for nearly 20 years of back royalty.
“So now, I’ve got to send them a letter to say, ‘Hey, you guys owe me about 20 years worth of residuals and performance royalties,’” he said.
As for why Howard agreed to the low $12,000 pay for his lead role in “Hustle & Flow,” he says he was just trying to pay his rent. In 2020, Howard sued 20th Century Fox for using his likeness from “Hustle & Flow” to promote the Lee Daniels series he also starred in “Empire.”
“SAG [Screen Actors Guild] didn’t do anything to help me,” Howard now says of the lawsuit. “They waited nine months until the statute of limitations went out.”
Howard, who played Lucious Lyon on all 6 seasons of “Empire,” filed the lawsuit accusing 20th Century Fox of keeping him in the dark when asked how it came up with the “Empire” logo. He never sat down for a photoshoot so he wondered how the image was obtained.
In the lawsuit, Howard says he ultimately determined the image was taken from the “Hustle & Flow” scene where “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” is being recorded in a studio. Now Howard is after two different studios to get what he’s owed for the iconic role he only received $12,000 for.
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Source: Black Enterprise