'Friends' Cast Could Rake in Nearly $20 Million for Reunion Special: Reports

HBO Max announced last week that the long-rumored 'Friends' reunion was officially happening and is set to air later this month on May 27.

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By Emily Rella • May 5, 2021 Originally published May 5, 2021


They'll be there for you — and it looks like the "Friends' cast is officially holding true to their theme song's promise.

HBO Max announced last week that the long-rumored "Friends' reunion was officially happening and is set to air later this month on May 27.

The cast is set to film at the show's original location, Stage 24 in the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank.

The hour-long special will not be filmed in the show's traditional manner, however, but will instead be a "real-life unscripted celebration," according to HBO Max.

Related: WarnerMedia's HBO Max Launches in 2020, and It's Bringing 'Friends'

And perhaps that fares better for the cast who will be raking in millions just to play themselves on screen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, each original cast member will be paid between $2.5 to $3 million for the reunion special.

Variety also reported that each actor would be making "at least $2.5 million."

This total for one hour-long appearance is more than double what the cast was making per episode during the show's latter seasons, which was around $85,000 to $1 million per episode.

But the "Friends' special won't only feature the original cast.

HBO Max also announced the big-name guest stars set to appear throughout the program.

From activist Malala Yousafza to Lady Gaga to even Justin Bieber, there's sure to be no shortage of entertainment throughout the evening, though it's unclear exactly how much each guest star will make per appearance.

Related: AT&T Offloads Media Division, Announces Mega-Merger With Discovery, Inc.

HBO Max will also be offering a promotion for super-fans of the show that will take place on May 26, the day before the special airs.

The company will run a sweepstakes via its social channels using the hashtag #SuperFriendsFan where hopefuls can enter for a chance to attend an exclusive screening coupled with "pre-show entertainment" in New York and LA before the show is released to HBO Max subscribers.

"I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation," HBO Max's chief content officer Kevin Reilly said earlier this year. "It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans."

It's been quite the year for the HBO Max, which debuted to viewers in May 2020.

In Q1 of this year alone, the streaming service reported an increase of 2.7 million subscribers, helping total subscription revenue for WarnerMedia to skyrocket to $3.8 billion in one year (nearly a 13% increase year over year.)

HBO Max announced that it had purchased exclusive streaming rights to "Friends' last July from Netflix, where the show was set to continue running exclusively through the end of 2019.

The acquisition reportedly cost HBO Max around $85 million each year in a five-year deal that totaled $425 million.

Netflix originally purchased streaming rights to the show for $100 million in 2015.

Related: 9 HBO Max Tips Every Streamer Should Know

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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