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When Universal decided to make American Reunion, the fourth theatrical film in its lucrative American Pie franchise, it was determined to meet two goals: Produce the movie for less than the $55 million that 2003’s American Wedding cost, and reunite the entire cast of the original 1999 comedy for a story that would see the characters congregate for their 10-year high school reunion.
How the studio met those challenges is a study in prolonging a franchise on a sensible budget. Production on the $50 million film, which wrapped this summer in advance of an April 6 release, was moved to Georgia to take advantage of a generous tax credit.
Then the studio played hardball with the actors, who have experienced mixed levels of success outside of the franchise.
Alyson Hannigan, star of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, is getting about $3 million. And veteran Eugene Levy, who starred in four profitable direct-to-DVD Pie films that helped make the property a billion-dollar franchise, is said to have received a payday also in the $3 million range.
The rest of the cast — which includes Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Natasha Lyonne, Jennifer Coolidge, Mena Suvari and Shannon Elizabeth — is being paid far less, say sources, most in the $500,000 to $750,000 range (though bonuses for some could kick in if the film is a hit, as expected).
Rounding out the list is Tara Reid, who is said to have joined Reunion for close to the $250,000 that Universal initially offered. A studio rep calls the figures “inaccurate” but declines further comment.
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