Elizabeth Berkley Only Made $100,000 for the Movie That Ruined Her Career

Elizabeth Berkley was paid a measly $100k for a role that basically tanked her career.

Hollywood can be a cruel world. One minute you’re on top, and the next, you’re down in the dumps, all thanks to one bad role. That’s pretty much what happened to Elizabeth Berkley.

You probably know Berkley from the hit show “Saved by the Bell”, where she played the brainy, feminist character Jessie Spano. But after the show ended, she took on a very different role in the controversial film “Showgirls”. The film, which was intended to launch Berkley’s adult career, ended up being a major flop, critically and commercially.

And here’s the kicker: Berkley was only paid $100k for her leading role in “Showgirls”. That’s a pretty small amount considering she was the lead actress in a major motion picture, not to mention the fact that the film tanked her career.

It’s actually shocking how underpaid Berkley was for “Showgirls”. And guess what? When a special V.I.P. edition boxed set of the film was released in 2004, she asked for a mere $2,500 to be interviewed. They said no.

To put this into perspective, “Showgirls” holds several records in film history. As of 2022, it’s the highest-grossing NC-17 film of all time, raking in over $20 million in the U.S. alone. Not to mention, it’s the most expensive NC-17 film ever made, with a production budget of $45 million. And it’s the only NC-17 film to ever get wide distribution, released in 1,388 theaters. That’s a lot of money and exposure tied to a film that tanked Berkley’s career.

Here’s the toughest blow, though: After the film was released, Berkley’s agent dropped her. Yep, she was left high and dry because of a single role. It’s a stark reminder of how ruthless Hollywood can be.

Following the “Showgirls” disaster, Berkley struggled to find work. The movie had been so poorly received that it cast a long shadow over her career. It’s been a tough journey for her, but she’s managed to slowly build up her acting credits again, even returning to “Saved by the Bell” in its recent revival. But it’s a shame that one role, and a $100k paycheck, had such a dramatic impact on her career.