The Numbers Prove That Mike Myers’ Acting Career Is Over

Mike Myers started off as a bright young star on Saturday Night Live in 1989 and made the leap that many of his contemporaries did into starring in films, many of which he wrote and/or produced. Through the 1990s and early 2000s, he was at the top of his acting game, pumping out a string of successful films including Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, and voicing the titular animated ogre in Shrek.

Now, after a few major box office flops and an on-set reputation that is dodgy at best, it seems Myers may not get another upswing in acting gigs any time soon.

Mike Myers with his pinky to his lips
Mike Myers | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Mike Myers’ films were once extremely profitable

Myer’s 1992 feature film version of his SNL sketch with Dana Carvey, Wayne’s World, was a big hit. According to estimates from IMDb, opening weekend in the US alone it was just around $2 million, shy of making back its estimated $20 million budget. The cumulative worldwide gross for the film ended up being a whopping $183 million.

So I Married an Axe Murderer and Wayne’s World 2 were both released the following year, with the former taking a monetary beating, and the latter just barely making a profit of $8 million. This isn’t that unusual (in Hollywood, flops come with the territory), and Myers was on the upswing again with his cryogenically frozen 1960s spy character, Austin Powers.

His first film in the role, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, released in 1997, netted a nice profit of around $50 million. Its follow up in 1999, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, topped that by miles with a profit of around $279 million. The third in 2002, Austin Powers in Goldmember, also faired quite well with a profit of around $233 million. 

Things took a downturn for Mike Myers with The Cat in the Hat and The Love Guru

Mike Myer played Dr. Seuss’ beloved children’s book character in The Cat in the Hat, but with a bloated budget of around $109 million, the film barely made any profit, with international gross calculations pulling it over the line into making some more money back than it cost to film.

Not only was it not profitable, but it was also a critical flop. It was so bad, in fact, the late Dr. Seuss’ wife, Audrey Stone, who took action after the film to make sure something like that never happened again. Now no one can make a live-action version of her husband’s work. We can thank Myers for that, who not only took the character in a bizarre direction but was reportedly a diva on-set, being fed chocolates all day, according to co-star Amy Hill.

The Love Guru, released in 2008, was another big flop, losing at least $20 million dollars and receiving ample criticism from fans and critics alike. The New York Times even described it as “downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”

Shrek is Mike Myers’ only saving grace now

While Shrek isn’t the brainchild of Myers’ like Wayne Campbell and the International Man of Mystery, it is his bread and butter, profit-wise at least. Variety reported in 2001 that Mike Myers and costars Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz each made $35,000 an hour for their voice acting work on the film. That’s just one of the films. There are five feature-length Shrek films out now, as well as many shorts.

It is perhaps the safety net of this paycheck that allows Myers to be picky with what he does with his time these days. He told GQ in 2014 that though he doesn’t get many scripts sent his way, he does “turn virtually everything down.”

He has had the chance recently to act in dramatic films such as Inglorious Basterds and Bohemian Rhapsody. He tried to resurrect an old gem from the 1970s, The Gong Show, in 2017 to little success, and aside from a rumored fourth Austin Powers film, there doesn’t seem to be much else on the horizon for Myers.