Ryan Reynolds has been a professional actor since he was a teenager, making his screen debut on the Nickelodeon TV teen drama Fifteen. As he revealed during an interview on Live! with Kelly and Michael, “We were paid 150 bucks an episode and I still had a paper route. So I’d do my TV show then I’d go home and do my paper route.”
Clearly, Reynolds has come a long way since then, with Celebrity Net Worth estimating the Canadian-born star’s wealth at a hefty $150 million. And while a healthy chunk of that personal fortune has come from his many movie roles, Reynolds hasn’t really veered that far from the kid who would perform in front of a camera and then rush back and deliver newspapers to his neighbors. In fact, being a beloved film actor is just one of many income sources for Reynolds, who has multiple business ventures bringing in cash to supplement his Hollywood paychecks.
As his fans well know, this multitalented actor/writer/producer/entrepreneur is far more than just a movie star. Read on to find out how Ryan Reynolds makes so much extra money outside of acting.
Ryan Reynolds made a fortune on Aviation gin
In 2018, Ryan Reynolds purchased a stake in Aviation Gin, based in Portland, Ore. As The Oregonian reported, the amount of Reynolds’ stake in the distillery wasn’t divulged, but he did profess to being a big fan of the product. “Aviation is the best tasting gin in the world,” the actor said in a press release. “Once I tried it, I knew I wanted to get involved with the company in a big way.”
That investment turned out to be a winning one. In August 2020, Vanity Fair reported that Aviation Gin was purchased for a whopping $610 million by Diageo, one of the world’s largest purveyors of spirits. According to Diageo’s announcement, Reynolds would “retain an ongoing ownership interest” in the company as part of the deal. BBC News pointed out that while Reynolds “is not a controlling shareholder,” he “holds a large stake and is likely [to get a] sizeable payout.”
As Reynolds told Gentleman’s Journal, his involvement with Aviation has been hands-on. “I mean, I’m not remotely involved in production of the gin, because I know nothing about distilling. But I’m there for every other aspect of the business, because I really love this gin.”
Aviation Gin took flight on Virgin Atlantic
In typically hilarious fashion, Ryan Reynolds appeared with British billionaire Sir Richard Branson in a September 2018 video, in which the pair made a big announcement about Reynolds’ Aviation Gin and Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline. “I think it’s fair to say today, Sir Richard, we’re making corporate history,” declares Reynolds in the video. “Well, not really,” Branson chimes in before Reynolds cuts him off.
“At Aviation we’re totally focused on making the best damn gin on the planet,” Reynolds says. “In order to maximize shareholder value, we are pleased to announce Virgin Atlantic and Aviation are merging.” Branson steps in to correct him. “Actually, Ryan, this is more of a partnership announcement,” he explains, explaining they’ve entered a deal to make Aviation Gin available on Virgin Atlantic flights. “At first,” Reynolds says, continuing to hype the not-real merger and suggesting the new merged company be renamed “Aviavirgination,” at which point Branson walks off the set.
While financial details of the deal weren’t revealed, Reynolds jokingly stated in a press release that “on a personal note, Sir Richard has promised to teach me the difference between revenue and profit, so I am beyond excited.”
Mint Mobile now has Ryan Reynolds behind it
In November 2019, Ryan Reynolds branched out once again when he announced his latest business venture via Instagram. “Newest @mintmobile customer. Also, owner of the company,” he wrote to reveal he was now one of the owners of Mint Mobile, a low-cost cellphone carrier that charges users a monthly fee of $15. “To keep things above board, I’ll be paying myself $15 a month,” he joked.
“It’s a bit unconventional which is why I like it,” Reynolds said in a statement, reported CNN. “Celebrities generally invest in high-end products like skincare brands or delicious gin companies. Yet Mint is making wireless way more affordable at a time when the average American is paying 65 dollars a month. I’m excited to champion a more practical approach to the most essential technology.”
While the amount of Reynolds’ ownership stake wasn’t made public, the company confirmed to CNN that he would take part in Mint Mobile’s “strategic decision making,” and would also participate in the company’s marketing initiatives. One of these, a video released in September 2020, featured Reynolds enlisting the services of beloved Ghostbusters star Rick Moranis to unveil the company’s unlimited phone service.
Ryan Reynolds is a real-life Mad Man
Ryan Reynolds proved himself to be a sharp wordsmith in his initial, ill-conceived portrayal of the character Deadpool for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, revealing to IndieWire that he actually wrote all his character’s hilarious dialogue. Reynolds’ words aren’t just reserved for movies, but are also on display in marketing initiatives from the startup advertising agency he co-founded.
According to The Drum, It all started when Reynolds teamed up with ad-agency veteran George Dewey to create a low-budget ad campaign for Deadpool, featuring clever commercial spots. When the unconventional campaign helped propel the film to rake in more than $782 million worldwide, Reynolds and Dewey figured they were onto something.
This led them to found their own agency, Maximum Effort Productions. In an effective bit of synergy, the company’s two biggest clients are Reynolds’ other ventures, Mint Mobile and Aviation Gin. “We don’t have a tremendous amount of red tape to cut through,” Reynolds told The Drum. “[Maximum] is ostensibly very small. There isn’t a lot of bureaucracy or bulls**t that we need to get [through for] approvals. We just have the ability to be nimble and go. A lot of it’s just about speed, more than anything.” Partnering with Dewey, Reynolds told The Hollywood Reporter was “one of the great highlights of [his] career.”
Need a date? Ryan Reynolds can help
As the tentacles of Ryan Reynolds’ increasingly vast business empire continued to spread, one of them wound up going in a very unexpected direction. That was clear in July 2020, reported Market Watch, when Match Group Inc. — the parent company that owns dating sites Tinder, Match.com, Meetic, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish, Ship, and OurTime — formally separated from holding company IAC/InterActiveCorp.
At the time that Match Group broke free from its parent company, Match added four new members to its board of directors. One of these new board members was none other than Reynolds.
“Most millennials and Gen Z can’t remember what dating was like before the advent of Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge,” Reynolds said in a press release, via The Hollywood Reporter. “These brands have enormous responsibility and opportunities to affect societies, all while embracing new technologies and remaining at the forefront of pop culture. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with the team on their future growth and success.”
He's not only a movie star, he's also become a producer
Ryan Reynolds’ most successful big-screen outings have been as the “merc with a mouth” in Deadpool and its sequel, which delivered a combined worldwide box office of more than $1.5 billion. For those movies, Reynolds wasn’t just the star, he was also heavily involved behind the scenes as a producer.
“I’ve recently started producing stuff,” he told Gentleman’s Journal, “and that’s more challenging, because you’re not only writing and acting. You’re really managing a machine. You begin to realize what it takes to resolve all sorts of conflicts.”
Producing, he told the magazine, is all about ensuring those conflicts, whether on the set or in a studio boardroom, are nipped in the bud and settled to everyone’s satisfaction before they have a chance to grow into increasingly bigger problems that can swamp a production. “Hollywood sets, at the end of the day, are all about conflict resolution,” Reynolds explained, adding, “Everyone’s got different issues that they’re having to sort through, and you have to help everyone be the best they can possibly be.”
Ryan Reynolds is a solid follow
Ryan Reynolds is not only a force to be reckoned with on screen, he’s carved out an enviable presence on social media, boasting 16.6 million followers on Twitter and another 36 million on Instagram. Social media, in fact, has been where Reynolds has continually displayed his quick wit and clever repartee in a medium where that’s all too rare. “It’s a good chunk,” he told Gentleman’s Journal about his Instagram following.
Reynolds has approached social media from a business perspective, using his massive platform as an increasingly important promotional vehicle. As his followers have come to realize, Reynolds utilizes social media for a variety of initiatives, from promoting his movies and businesses, to raising money for charitable ventures, to his hilarious ongoing fake feud with fellow film superhero Hugh Jackman.
As a result, Reynolds doesn’t need to make ad buys in magazines or pay for commercials on television; the comedic concepts he produces are instead issued on social media to a targeted — and huge — audience of fans. A great example of this came when Reynolds shared a video on Instagram promoting his Netflix movie 6 Underground, garnering more than 1.3 million views.
He's a master at product placement
Ryan Reynolds has mastered the art of corporate synergy, something that was evident when he was promoting his 2019 Netflix thriller 6 Underground. In a hilarious commercial for the movie, Reynolds appears onscreen to promote both the flick and Samsung televisions, explaining that the Michael Bay-directed film is so action-packed, explosive and “huge” that it deserves to be seen on a high-quality Samsung screen.
In the midst of his sales pitch, a shot of Reynolds’ Aviation Gin suddenly appears onscreen. “How’d that get there,” Reynolds innocently mutters with a satisfied smile, as his voice is heard in the Aviation commercial proclaiming, “Don’t you want your mouth to like you?” The director of the commercial yells cut, and approaches him to ask why the Samsung commercial was being interrupted by an Aviation Gin ad spot.
“I bought mid-roll ad placement,” Reynolds explains. “You bought an ad for your gin within an ad for your movie within an ad for Samsung TVs?” the baffled director asks. “It felt like the right thing to do,” Reynolds quips, having simultaneously promoted Samsung, his new movie and his gin, all within a span of less than 42 seconds.
Ryan Reynolds is looking to invest in a Welsh soccer team
According to a 2019 report from CNN, Ryan Reynolds was exploring ways to extend his business interests even further. In addition to liquor, advertising, cellphone services, and his other ventures, he was also seeking an entry into professional sports.
Reynolds had reportedly teamed up with actor/writer Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame, with the two looking to invest approximately $2.5 million in Wrexham AFC, a Welsh soccer team. A vote was held by the team trust about moving forward with the actors’ proposed investment, with more than 97 percent of the members voting in agreement. “As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC,” read a statement from the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board. “In due course, Mr. McElhenney and Mr. Reynolds will put forward their vision for Wrexham AFC and proposal for members to vote on at a second special general meeting.”
As of early October 2020, those discussions were still ongoing; at the time, McElhenney posted a photo on Twitter in which Reynolds was watching a Wrexham game on a laptop.
The philosophy that's guided Ryan Reynolds' business decisions
Business, opined Ryan Reynolds in an interview with Gentleman’s Journal, is based on relationships. He found that to be particularly true when he purchased his stake in Aviation Gin. “There’s a tremendous amount of integrity in the liquor business — certainly more so than in Hollywood,” he explained. “A handshake really means something to these people. Their word is their bond. And so I’m constantly flying around, shaking these hands and meeting these people — talking about distribution and other unbelievably boring things. It can be a giant pain in the ass.”
Reynolds is also a firm believer in making it up as he goes along. “I still know nothing,” he told Market Watch. “When I work on a film set, I don’t necessarily know how to hang 5,000 lights to make everyone look pretty… there are many things and nuances that I don’t know, but I’m excited to learn about them.” He also advises aspiring young entrepreneurs to move beyond being “a keyboard warrior” and get face time with people, in person. “Shake hands. Talk to people. Gain insight. Learn from other people,” Reynolds said, adding, “For me, that’s always a challenge, but the most important lesson.”
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