Bruce Willis Made a $3M Mistake Turning Down 4 Days of Work on Fan-Favorite Franchise

Bruce Willis is one of the world’s biggest movie stars, an actor beloved for films like Die Hard and Pulp Fiction. Willis has built a reputation for playing tough guys — which made him the perfect candidate to play Mr. Church in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables.

Willis played the enigmatic CIA operative in the franchise’s first two films to great fan acclaim. However, Willis ultimately decided not to return for the third film in the series — and his reasoning was totally out-there. 

How did Bruce Willis become famous?

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis | Getty Images

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Willis was born in Germany in 1955, to a German mother and an American father. When Willis was two years old, his family moved to America, where  Willis spent the remainder of his childhood.

In New Jersey, Willis enjoyed a traditional middle-class upbringing and was mostly successful in school. He joined the drama club, where he was able to begin practicing the acting skills that would later serve him so well.

Willis eventually moved to California to pursue an acting career. He scored a few small roles in various television shows before getting the leading role in a new series called Moonlighting.

The comedy-drama series became very popular, and Willis appeared on the show for years before making the transition to Hollywood films in 1988, when he starred in Die Hard. The film was a huge hit, and Willis earned high marks from both critics and fans for his sarcastic, tough-guy persona.

Over the next several decades, Willis would appear in a series of very high-profile films, including Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, and The Sixth Sense

Bruce Willis appeared in ‘The Expendables’

Willis became one of the world’s biggest movie stars, and by the late nineties, he was well-known as both an action hero and a dramatic actor of the highest caliber. Although his personal life has often made headlines, Willis himself has proven that he has very little tolerance for drama and rarely speaks out regarding his marriages or dating life. 

In the past 10 years, Willis has continued to act, working in both dramas and comedies alike. One of Willis’s most popular roles in recent years is that of Mr. Church, a CIA operative, in The Expendables and The Expendables 2. The 2010 film and the 2012 sequel featured a whole host of big-name action stars, including Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, but it was Willis’s cameo that made the biggest impression on fans.

Why did Bruce Willis refuse to appear in the third ‘Expendables’ film?

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In 2014, The Expendables 3 was released. Although the third film in the franchise had many of the stars from the first two films on board, it was lacking one important element: Willis. Reportedly, Willis was offered a chance to return and reprise the role of Mr. Church.

Furthermore, producers would have only needed Willis on set for filming for a total of four days. However, Willis wasn’t satisfied with their offer of $3 million for four days, and instead, asked for a $4 million dollar salary — one million for each day that he had to report to the set. 

Showrunners turned down the $4 million ask, and Willis ultimately didn’t return to the beloved franchise. Still, it seems unlikely that Willis regrets his decision. Willis has certainly earned the right to be picky about the roles that he accepts, and it definitely seems as though he places a very high price on his time and talent.