Aquaman should have been Amber Heard’s breakthrough role — but instead the actress’ career took a downturn, causing her to lose around $50 million in potential earnings, an expert testified Monday.
Entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold said Heard, 36, was only tapped into the upcoming superhero movie sequel thanks to her co-star Jason Momoa.
The release of 2018’s blockbuster was meant to be Heard’s “A Star is Born” moment,” Arnold, a former Hollywood producer, told the Fairfax, Virginia jury.
But Heard’s road to fame was marred after her ex-husband Johnny Depp and his attorney Adam Waldman allegedly defamed her by calling her abuse allegations a “hoax,” according to Arnold.
“At that moment, not only was she a good actress, but she was world famous because she was in DC Comics’ top-grossing film,” Arnold said of Aquaman, which was grossing more than $1.1 billion at the box office at the time.
“It was just this extraordinary moment for her to launch her career.”
What happened next was more like a crash landing, the consultant said.
Heard, 36, lost between $45 million and $50 million in potential earnings following 2020 statements that she fabricated domestic violence allegations, Arnold claimed.
Had Depp and his team allegedly not made those statements, Heard’s career could now mirror that of Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and Bond girl Ana de Armas, she added.
The actress likely would have landed four more endorsement deals worth $8 million, $20 million from various film projects and millions from television projects, the consultant said.
Now, “every time she pops up anywhere, the negativity campaign on social media starts all over again,” said Arnold, who was called to testify by Heard’s legal team.
Heard was banned from key press events and promotional material for Aquaman — and L’Oreal stopped working with her, the witness said.
“Their work has been halted,” Arnold said, adding that rather than having bargaining power for the upcoming Aquaman 2, Heard was “fighting for her life” for the reprisals of the role.
The only reason she wasn’t completely cut from the blockbuster, which was set to premiere in 2023, was because co-star Jason Momoa and the film’s director James Wan were “adamant” about keeping the role and themselves personally used for them, said Arnold.
As for Depp — who is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming her 2018 Washington Post defamed him and ruined his career — Arnold said the actor is his own worst enemy.
“Well, we’ve talked about the erratic behavior, the tardiness, the drug and alcohol abuse,” Arnold said. “And the lawsuits had a really big impact … because everything he does gets a lot of publicity.”
Each time Depp has filed a lawsuit, it has “brought to light various issues,” she testified. “Whether it was erratic behavior or domestic violence or drugs and alcohol and even consumption habits.”
“Every time a lawsuit was filed, the press and the public just got charged and brought it all back to light,” Arnold continued, “and it was an unfortunate problem … for the industry to continue working with him despite what that is.” in the public.”
Arnold was one of three witnesses called to the stand by Heard’s team Monday. Depp and Kate Moss are expected to testify on Wednesday.