Wesley Snipes is an American-born actor best known for his roles in Blade, White Men Can’t Jump, and Demolition Man. Having started his career in Hollywood in the mid-1980s, Snipes has appeared in over 70 projects.
But it’s not just his work on-camera that has contributed to his financial success. Wesley Snipes’s net worth has also been impacted by his production company, the security company he founded, real estate investments and more. Read on to discover Snipes’s most successful projects and trace his career from its start until now.
Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, on July 31, 1962. His mother, Marian, was a teaching assistant and his father, Wesley Rudolph Snipes, was an aircraft engineer.
Snipes grew up in the Bronx, New York, where he attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Before graduating, Snipes moved back to Florida. He completed his high school education at Orlando’s Jones High School.
Wesley Snipes was discovered by an agent when he was 23 years old, and that event marked the beginning of Snipes’s acting career.
Snipes’s first film was 1986’s Wildcats, starring Goldie Hawn. The same year, he got a small role as a pimp and drug dealer in an episode of Miami Vice. A year later, Snipes appeared in the Michael Jackson music video Bad and portrayed the King of Pop’s adversary. Martin Scorsese directed it.
Director Spike Lee took notice of Snipes in the video and offered him a role in Do the Right Thing. Snipes turned the opportunity down and chose to do Major League instead, where he took on the part of Willie Mays Hayes. The movie, which also starred Charlie Sheen, was a hit at the box office, earning $49 million worldwide against its $11 million budget.
In 1990, Snipes eventually got to work with Spike Lee, as the director cast him in Mo’ Better Blues as Shadow Henderson opposite Denzel Washington. On a budget of $10 million, the movie grossed $16 million worldwide.
1991 brought another opportunity for Lee to work together. This time, Lee picked Snipes for the leading role in Jungle Fever. Critics raved about his performance. And The Washington Post called him the “most celebrated new actor of the season.” The film was also a box office success, grossing over $43 million against its $14 million budget.
New Jack City
It was also in 1991 that Snipes starred in New Jack City as Nino Brown. Barry Michael Cooper wrote the role with Snipes specifically in mind. The movie had an impressive turnout, making over $47.6 million against a budget of $8 million.
White Men Can’t Jump
The commercial success continued for Snipes as he appeared in another hit action film in 1993. This time it was Demolition Man, where he stars with Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock. The film was created on a budget of $14.3 million and made over $58 million.
In 1998, Snipes starred in Blade, his first movie to cross the $100 million mark at the box office. It quickly generated over $17 million during the opening weekend and went on to earn $131.2 million globally against its $45 million budget.
Since Snipes was also a producer, he also received a portion of the film’s ticket sales.
Following the excellent reception of Blade came a sequel in 2002. Snipes reprised his title role in Blade 2, which made even more at the box office, raking in $150 million against a budget of $54 million.
Another two years later, Snipes once again starred as Eric Brooks in Blade Trinity. The movie earned $132 million at the worldwide box office, doubling its budget of $65 million.
After the success of the Blade franchise, Wesley Snipes’s net worth was on an upward trend. But that would change quickly when he was charged with several tax-related offenses a couple of years later. In 2008, he was sentenced to three years in jail for the willful failure to file $15 million worth of federal income tax returns.
The Expendables 3
Wesley Snipes would star in a handful of small projects following his release from jail. But it wasn’t until 2014’s The Expendables 3 that he found box office success again. Starring as Doctor Death in the third installment of the franchise, the movie made $214.6 million at the global box office against its $80 million budget.
In recent years, Snipes has starred in Coming 2 America¸ which was the sequel to 1998’s Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy. It was released on Amazon Prime and got mixed reviews.
Other recent Snipes films include Dolemite Is My Name, Cut Throat City, and Back on the Strip, which is set for release in 2022.
Snipes also has a voice role in an upcoming Marvel TV series called Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. He is also set to appear in another series called Paper Empire, which is already in post-production.
Also contributing to Wesley Snipes’s net worth are a number of his business venture. One of those ventures includes a security firm, the Royal Guard of Amen-Ra, that he founded with his brother. The company provides bodyguards that are trained in martial arts and law enforcement.
In 1991, Snipes established a film production company, also called Amen-Ra. Through this firm, he has produced films like the documentary A Great and Mighty Walk – Dr. John Henrik Clarke, the action comedy The Big Hit, as well as the Blade movie series.
Nearly a decade later when he faced tax charges, he had to sell the home for $635,900 in foreclosure.
Wesley Snipes has been married to South Korean artist and painter Nikki Park since 2003. They have one daughter and three sons. Earlier, he was married to April Dubois, with whom he has his eldest son, Jelani. The pair married in 1985 and got divorced in 1990.
Snipes is heavily involved in martial arts. He has a 5th-degree black belt in Shotokan and also a 2nd-degree black belt in Hapkido. He has also had training in Shaolin Kung Fu, Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as kickboxing.
Tax Issues and Imprisonment
In 2006, Snipes was charged with a number of counts pertaining to fraud, tax evasion, and making false payment claims against the US government. From 1996 to 2004, it is estimated that Snipes earned almost $38 million from his action films during the time. Unfortunately, he apparently did not pay any taxes on these earnings.
When the ruling came out in 2008, Snipes was cleared of the felony charges. However, he was found guilty of failure to file tax returns. He served a 3-year sentence and paid a total of $17 million to the IRS. Needless to say, Wesley Snipes’s net worth fell due to his misdemeanors.
Thankfully, since his release from jail, Snipes has been making a steady comeback in Hollywood, and he has a number of projects lined up.
Wesley Snipes’s Net Worth 2022
As of 2022, Wesley Snipes’s net worth is estimated at $10 million. While that number is considerably impacted by his acting work, his security firm, production company, and real estate investments also contribute to his net worth.
Fans of Snipes can look forward to seeing him next in Back on the Strip opposite Kevin Hart as well as the upcoming 2023 TV series Paper Empire, where Snipes will star opposite Denise Richards and Kelsey Grammer. Paper Empire follows Laurence Fintch (played Robert Davi) as he creates the illusion of his managed billions being lost in a ponzi scheme so he can divert the funds and them in a Cryptography that called Digital Limbo.
Additionally, Snipes is also set to produce Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel, a film that follows the exploits of four young adults sent back in time 1,500 years to the height of the Mayan Empire.