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Actress AJ Johnson Reveals She Made More Money from ‘House Party’-Themed Burger King Commercial Than She Did from the Film

Entertainment is a tricky business, where performers often acquire the majority of their wealth from the least likely places.

“House Party” star AJ Johnson can attest to that. The current life coach recently disclosed that she earned more from a SAG-AFTRA national commercial promoting the film than she did from actually starring in the movie that kickstarted her career.

Photo via Instagram, @theajzone

 In a recent interview on “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” with Jemele Hill, Johnson revealed that she wasn’t compensated well for her role as Sharane in the beloved 1990s film.

No Movie Money

“Is it true you only made four grand from ‘House Party?’” Hill asked.

“Yeah,” the Spelman graduate who can still fit in her “House Party” costume said, “For the whole month or two that we filmed.”

Johnson revealed that everyone in the cast all accepted a “favored nation’s agreement” and “all made four grand” on the film, which cost director and writer Reggie Hudlin approximately $2.5 million to make, according to IMDB.

To everyone’s delight, the movie premiered in theaters on March 9, 1990, and generated an impressive profit of 84 percent, raking in $4,611,024 during its first week in just 520 theaters nationwide. Over the past 34 years, the film has amassed $26,385,627 in worldwide box office earnings and has cemented its status as a cult classic, Box Office Mojo reports.

Still, outside of quarterly residuals that fluctuate, Johnson, who has an estimated net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth of $500,000, has not made much from the project outside of the commercial.

Burger King approached Johnson and Christopher Martin, Play from the group Kid and Play and one of the “House Party” stars about “sign [over] the rights to one of our scenes for a commercial” that would air on television.

“Once the movie came out and it was such a hit, Burger King came and asked me, Play if we would sign [over] the rights to one of our scenes for a commercial,” she explained.

In the ad, a direct rip from the movie, Play’s character can be seen outside Sharane’s window begging the young lady to come with him as he gets their boy, Kid, played by Christopher Reid, out of jail. Johnson’s character doesn’t want to be bothered, but then Play agrees to buy her some Burger King and she acquiesces.

“We made more money on that commercial day than we made doing the movie,” she laughed.

That would be the end of her relationship with the franchise.

Without her, the comedy franchise continued its journey on the big screen with “House Party 2” in 1991 and a third installment in 1994. It later expanded into the realm of direct-to-video sequels with “House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute” in 2001, notably excluding the original cast. “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” arrived in 2012 as the fifth installment, followed by “House Party” in 2023.

For Johnson, the first Miss Collegiate Black America, she didn’t like the direction the main characters were going and opted out. She was not the only one not to return. Neither did Hudlin, which made her decision even easier to say decline.

That by no means was the end of career.

Johnson’s extensive career spans across both film and television. In addition to notable roles in films like “Def Jam’s How to Be a Player,” “Sister Act,” “Panther,” “Woo,” “The Player’s Club,” and “Baby Boy,” she appeared in TV projects such as “A Different World,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Hawaii Five-0,” and “Chicago Hope.” Johnson’s talents extend beyond acting; she’s also credited for choreographing dance sequences in “School Daze” and various music videos.

Today, she’s recognized as a wellness coach, and her past endeavors include hosting VH1’s reality series, “From Flab to Fab” and being a coach on “MTV Couples Retreat.”

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