Mel Gibson, born in 1956, has graced the big screen for dozens of years. His sultry baritone voice, brilliant blue eyes, and ability to bring intensity to his projects have captivated audiences since his first big film, Lethal Weapon. His commitment to being the best has created award-winning cult classics that bring fond memories to multiple generations. Unfortunately, his rise as one of the best actors in Hollywood has been shadowed in the last fifteen years. This hasn’t affected his bank account though, so buckle up and get ready to learn how Mel Gibson made his fortune.
Mel Gibson’s Career
When people hear the name Mel Gibson, there are many fan favorites that spring to mind, including What Women Want, Mad Max, and The Patriot. Not only is he a skilled actor, but he also directed blockbuster hits, including Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, and Apocalypto. Those are some serious heavy hitters and only scrape the top of his success. He’s collected 43 awards and was nominated for 42 others. One of his most infamous directorial works, Braveheart, won four Oscars in 1996, including Best Director and Best Picture. Gibson also went on to win Golden Globe awards for Best Director for Braveheart and Hacksaw Ridge.
Gibson isn’t predicted to stop any time soon either, with a dizzying amount of upcoming projects. Yet, despite his success, controversy has followed him over the last 20 years, with the mere mention of his name bringing a bitter taste to some mouths.
His Nasty Controversies
Most celebrities endure controversial moments at some point during their careers; few are immune when in the direct spotlight. Gibson’s controversial behavior has mostly stemmed from anti-Semitism.
His film, The Passion of the Christ, sparked immediate controversy, with Robert Ebert declaring, “This is the most violent film I have ever seen.” Some critics even accused it of being gratuitous with the bloodshed and speculated that it would paint the Jewish community in further negative light.
Unfortunately for the Ransom actor, his anti-semitism didn’t end there, not even a little bit. In 2006 a recording was released by the Los Angelos police department, revealing a substance-fueled anti-Semitic rant, directed at a police officer. It was immediately infamous, his tirade and arrest covering the news cycle for days.
His despicable behavior continued in 2010 when a recording surfaced of him screaming on the phone at his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. The actor’s rant included the N-word and derogatory statements about her appearance. Needless to say, that also did not go over well with the general public.
The Various Lawsuits
In 2008, Gibson was sued by a writer in connection with The Passion of Christ. According to Today, Benedict Fitzgerald sued Gibson for breach of contract and fraud. In the suit, Fitzgerald claimed that Gibson promised to not take any profits from the movie, claiming that Gibson “considered [the movie] a personal gift to his faith.” He asked for $5 million and while the suit was eventually settled, the amount awarded isn’t clear.
In 2011, Gibson avoided jail time by taking a plea deal to a misdemeanor battery charge involving his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. He got away with paying $570 in fees, 36 months of informal probation, community service, and domestic violence counseling. Considering the accusations from Grigorieva that include punching her and their toddler daughter, many would say that he got off too easy.
A more recent lawsuit involved the movie The Professor and the Madman, which Gibson financed and produced. According to the Los Angeles Times, the director and writer, Farhad Safinia, accused the production company Voltage of “…copyright infringement by trying to sell an ‘unauthorized derivative work’ from his copyrighted screenplay.” This lawsuit was further mired in a different lawsuit by Gibson, also against Voltage, claiming they didn’t offer him final approval of the final movie cut. While Safinia was not successful in his suit, Gibson settled his suit for an undisclosed amount.
Mel Gibson’s Net Worth
The Signs actor, despite the chaotic moments of his life, is still incredibly accomplished. Love him or hate him, his bank account shows his undeniable success. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mel Gibson’s net worth is estimated to be a staggering $425 million.
Celebrity Net Worth states The Passion of the Christ made over $600 million and due to his initial investment of around $50 million, Gibson had negotiated 50% of the profits. This means he earned over $300 million from that film alone. In contrast, Gibson was only paid $500 a week while filming Mad Max.
Because he’s produced and directed some of the most successful films of all time, it’s easy to understand how he can own an island. Yes, Gibson purchased a literal island in Fiji for a “measly” $15 million—and his real estate investments don’t even remotely stop there.
In 2010, Business Insider revealed that he sold a home in Greenwich, Connecticut for $27 million. In 2012, he sold a compound in Malibu at a loss. He listed it in 2010 for $14 million and sold it for $9.2 million. Considering his net worth, this was a mere drop in the bucket. In 2017, he listed a Costa Rican home for $29.7 million. He had listed it back in 2010 but revoked the listing until seven years later. As of 2021, it has not been sold. In 2019, Gibson listed another Malibu home for $14.5 million.
Clearly, Gibson has had a lot to make up for. In 2004, Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles announced a $5 million donation from Gibson. A year later, the Mexican government released news that revealed Gibson had donated $1 million to Hurricane Stan victims. Most recently, the founder of the Survivor Mitzvah Project, Zane Buzby, announced that Gibson had been secretly donating to the organization for over a decade.
We can all agree that Mel Gibson has been an integral part of the cinematic landscape. His filmography will live on for decades to come and our fingers are crossed that his sobriety means he stays out of trouble.