It was only a matter of time before Hollywood superstar Robert Pattinson’s salary dispute with Warner Bros. came to a head.

The actor recently inked a lucrative deal with the studio, which paid him a record-breaking $50 million to star in the upcoming live-action adaptation of manga blockbuster Dragon Ball Z. But now that the movie has wrapped, the onetime heartthrob wants more. More money. A lot more money. $100 million, to be exact.

Warner Bros. initially agreed to pay the British actor’s fee after watching his massive popularity on social media. But now that the dust has settled, the studio is standing by its offer, rebuffing Pattinson’s demands and even going as far as to threaten legal action against the A-list star.

Here, we’ll discuss the details of the actor’s high-profile contract dispute.

The Social Media Phenomenon

Today, Hollywood superstitions seem less necessary. Thanks to the internet and social media, the most isolated of movie stars can now draw millions of worshippers.

Thanks to a surge in anime-inspired films, combined with an easy accessibility from social media, Robert Pattinson skyrocketed to fame. His impassioned YouTube videos exploring the craft of acting went viral, and the “Highway” singer earned a devoted fan base across the globe. In the span of a few years, Pattinson established himself as one of the most recognizable faces in the entertainment industry, with a fan base spanning generations.

But it wasn’t always easy for the British actor. Prior to landing the Dragon Ball Z gig, he struggled to find steady roles in Hollywood. The closest he came to stardom was Twilight, where he portrayed the reserved, teenaged son of the loveable vampires. In between filming the last movie in the lucrative Twilight franchise and Dragon Ball Z, he found time to star in the comedy The Rover with Guy Ritchie, one of the most popular contemporary English directors.

Pattinson’s Demeanor In Contract Negotiation

Even before his big break with Dragon Ball Z, Pattinson had proven to be something of a handful during contract negotiations. As Entertainment Tonight reported in August 2018, he was difficult to negotiate with, considering his high expectations; he wanted the biggest payday possible, and wouldn’t budge on his demands.

According to insiders who spoke with ET, the negotiation process was heated, to say the least. One person familiar with the situation remarked, “This is what happens when an A-list celebrity gets a payday. You’re going to have a lot of egos on the line.”

But despite his seemingly impossible demands, Robert Pattinson was eventually satisfied with his $50 million payday. As part of the agreement, he received a healthy signing bonus and secured the option to make a cameo in future Dragon Ball Z films.

More Than Meets The Eye

While many might assume the phenomenal success of Dragon Ball Z would make Robert Pattinson a wealthy man, the opposite is true. Thanks to the record-breaking deal, he actually has a lot to lose. The franchise’s popular anime series are now available in live-action form, and given the success of the films, it’s easy to see why he might want a cut of the profits.

Pattinson is already demanding a cut of the merchandise revenue, and since the first movie’s release in December 2017, the demand for anime-related items have skyrocketed, reports The Wrap. As of mid-February 2019, Robert Pattinson is asking for a 7% ownership stake in the Dragon Ball films.

However, this is hardly the first time a famous face has profited from the anime craze. In 2018, it was discovered that John Boyega (Oscar-nominated for his role in The Last Jedi) holds an equity stake in the lucrative franchise.

The Evolution Of Franchise Compensation

It’s well established that Hollywood studios prefer to avoid paying their stars large amounts of money. As long as a movie does well at the box office, the actors’ salaries are generally seen as a surplus, rather than a necessity. This is why most of the big stars in the movie business now have smaller equity stakes in the projects they star in. Their salaries are generally paid for by the studio.

For decades, stars would walk away with a hefty payout if a movie made back its production cost. These days, the payout is more likely to be found in a signing bonus or a share of the profits. The former is paid out when a movie is released and the latter when it becomes profitable. Typically, the bigger the star, the smaller the stake, meaning A-list stars might only end up with a cameo appearance or an appearance in a trailer.

Robert Pattinson’s Legal Options

While it’s unlikely Warner Bros. will accede to his demands for a $100 million payday, there are still options available to the actor. As previously stated, he doesn’t need to show up at the box office to earn a paycheck; all he needs is for Dragon Ball Z to turn a profit. If the anime adaptation becomes hugely successful, then he has every right to expect higher compensation.

Pattinson’s representatives can file a grievance with the Screen Actors Guild, which would then trigger a negotiation between the two parties. If an agreement can’t be reached, either side can resort to litigation. But, in all likelihood, this is not the route the actor will take.

Where Does This Leave Us?

So, what does this all mean for the future of Warner Bros. And, more importantly, where does this leave us as anime fans and enthusiasts?

Well, despite the increasing rate of these disputes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your favorite anime stars are up for grabs. It just means that the business side of Hollywood is a lot more complicated than we think. And, in all likelihood, this is just a sign of things to come.

These kinds of disputes are inevitable as the digital age invades our favorite genre. Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, we’re seeing more and more anime content pumped out into live-action adaptations, with or without the involvement of the original creators. Without a traditional television network to rely on, fans have to look to the internet for their anime fix.

As long as studios are willing to invest in these live-action films, we’ll continue to see these disputes. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some anime stars make astronomical profits. But, until then, we’ll have to make do with what we have.