Matt Stone is an American actor, writer, producer, and animator. Matt Stone has a net worth of $700 million. Stone co-created the successful Comedy Central series “South Park” with college friend and classmate Trey Parker in 1997.
The duo has also worked together on the films “Cannibal! The Musical” (1993), “Orgazmo” (1997), “BASEketball” (1998), “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (1999), and “Team America: World Police” (2004), the 2001 Comedy Central series “That’s My Bush!,” and the 2020 web series “Sassy Justice.”
Matt and Trey co-created the smash hit Broadway musical “Book of Mormon,” which won nine Tonys in 2011 and has grossed over $500 million from ticket sales, merchandise, and more.
Stone voices numerous characters on “South Park,” including Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Butters Stotch, and he voiced several characters in “Team America: World Police.” He also played James Humphrey in “Cannibal! The Musical,” Dave the Lighting Guy in “Orgazmo,” and Doug Remer in “BASEketball,” and he appeared in the films “Run Ronnie Run!” (2002) and “Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo” (2007). Matt has served as a producer on many Parker-Stone projects as well as the Canadian TV series “Kenny vs. Spenny” (2007–2008) and MTV’s “How’s Your News?” (2009).Key Facts
- Signed $900 million deal with ViacomCBS in August 2021
- Book of Mormon has generated $500 million in revenue to date
- Splits 50% of all digital revenue generated by “South Park”
- Made $125 million when “South Park” sold streaming rights to HBOMax
- South Park IP assets are worth $1 billion
- Merchandise and foreign syndication generates $10-20m per year
Matt Stone was born Matthew Richard Stone on May 26, 1971, in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Littleton, Colorado, with mother Sheila, father Gerald (an economics professor), and younger sister Rachel. Sheila and Gerald would later become the names of Kyle Broflovski’s parents on “South Park.” Matt attended Heritage High School, and after graduation, he enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder. He majored in mathematics and film, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993. After meeting Trey Parker in a film class, the two began making short films together, including “Man on Mars” and “First Date.”
In 1992, Matt and Trey founded the Avenging Conscience production company with Jason McHugh and Ian Hardin, and they made the short film “Jesus vs. Frosty” using construction paper cutouts. The short is also known as “The Spirit of Christmas,” along with their 1995 short “Jesus vs. Santa,” and it marks the first appearance of the boys who would become Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. Parker, Stone, McHugh, and Hardin made a trailer for “Alferd Packer: The Musical,” a film about “The Colorado Cannibal,” and it was so popular among their fellow University of Colorado Boulder students that the chairman of the school’s film department convinced them to expand it into an actual movie. Matt worked on the film as a writer, actor, and producer, and it was retitled “Cannibal! The Musical” after it was sold to Troma Entertainment in 1996. The film has become somewhat of a cult phenomenon, and a live stage version has been performed by numerous theatre companies.
Parker and Stone moved to Hollywood and spent the next few years struggling despite the fact that they had an agent, lawyer, and script deal. Matt wrote and produced “Orgazmo” with Trey, who directed the movie, and after it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1997, October Films bought the rights for $1 million. After producer Brian Graden saw “Jesus vs. Frosty,” he asked the duo to create a video greeting card for him to send to his friends; the result was “Jesus vs. Santa,” and Comedy Central executive Doug Herzog liked it so much that he asked them to develop it into a series. Parker and Stone made the pilot for $300,000, and Comedy Central’s marketing of the show earned the network approximately $30 million in t-shirt sales before the show even aired. As of this writing, “South Park” has aired more than 300 episodes over 23 seasons and spawned the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (which grossed $83.1 million at the box office), the albums “Chef Aid: The South Park Album” (1998) and “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” (1999), and several video games, such as “South Park: The Stick of Truth” (2014) and “South Park: The Fractured but Whole” (2017).
In 2002, Matt and Trey began working on an R-rated puppet film, “Team America: World Police,” which they co-wrote and co-produced. Stone said of the experience, “It was the worst time of my entire life – I never want to see a puppet again.” During the production of “Team America,” the duo began working on “The Book of Mormon” with writer-composer Robert Lopez, who co-created “Avenue Q.” The musical opened on Broadway on March 24, 2011, with Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad in the lead roles of Elder Price and Elder Cunningham. “The Book of Mormon” earned 14 Tony nominations, more than any other Broadway show received that year, and it won nine of them. In 2013, Parker and Stone announced that they were launching a production studio called Important Studios, saying, “Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves.” During the Covid-19 pandemic, Matt and Trey released two “South Park” specials, 2020’s “The Pandemic Special” and 2021’s “South ParQ Vaccination Special,” and co-created the deepfake technology web series “Sassy Justice.” Stone has said of the web series, “Before the big scary thing of coronavirus showed up, everyone was so afraid of deepfakes. We just wanted to make fun of it because it makes it less scary.”
Back in 2007, Matt and Trey’s Comedy Central contract was up for renewal. When the ink was dry, the duo landed a new deal that is considered unprecedented in Hollywood. The deal allowed them to create a digital hub for everything related to South Park, including streaming episodes. Most importantly though, it gave them a 50% cut of all ad revenue generated by the show, digital or broadcast. As a result of this unheard of contract, Parker and Stone earn an estimated $25-30 million per year EACH just from the broadcast of the show on Comedy Central. They also get a 50% cut any time the show is sold into syndication, like in 2015 when Hulu paid $198 million for the streaming rights or in 2019 when South Park’s streaming rights were put on the market for $500 million. Each transaction earned the duo a 50% cut (25% each).
An Extremely Valuable Contract Clause
How were they able to land such a sweet deal? It all stems back to a loophole in their very first Comedy Central contract from 1997. Back then, no one could have imagined that the digital rights to a property could ever become valuable. Well, no one except Matt, Trey, and an extremely forward-thinking lawyer. That lawyer included a clause in the original contract which stated that the creators would receive a 50% cut of any revenue generated apart from the actual show’s television broadcast. For around twenty years, that clause was essentially worthless. That all changed with the advent of YouTube and other video streaming platforms.
Viacom briefly attempted to argue their way out of the clause, but in the end, Parker and Stone were successful in not only owning a 50% cut of non-broadcast revenue but also in having the right to distribute the show digitally as they saw fit. Once they saw their show being pirated non-stop on YouTube, Matt and Trey decided it would be pointless to fight the pirates, so they put every single episode online for free, earning millions from the digital ad revenue. They really started to cash in with the advent of streaming services like Hulu. When Hulu paid $192 million for 4 years of rights to the back catalogue, Matt and Trey each earned around $50 million. At the time, is was the largest streaming deal in history. In 2019 when the deal was up, HBO Max obtained exclusive streaming rights in a deal that was rumored to be worth $500 million-$550 million.
Viacom/Comedy Central was smarter when it came to merchandise rights. From the show’s inception, Viacom has had a lion’s share of merchandise rights, reportedly as high as 90%. That might have been re-negotiated in recent contracts, but the current terms have not been discussed publicly.
2021 Viacom/CBS Deal
On August 5, 2021 it was revealed that Matt and Trey had signed a new six-year, $900 million contract with ViacomCBS. Under the deal Matt and Trey will produce six seasons of the show and 14 movies which will be exclusive to streaming service Paramount+.
Matt met Comedy Central executive Angela Howard in 2001, and they married in 2008. The couple has two children. Parker and Stone often poke fun at religion in their work, and Matt is a “self-described atheist.”
Awards and Nominations
Stone has been nominated for 18 Primetime Emmys for “South Park,” winning Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) in 2005, 2007, and 2009, Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More) in 2008, and Outstanding Animated Program in 2013. “South Park” has also earned Matt a CableACE Award for Animated Programming Special or Series and a PGA Award for Most Promising Producer in Television. “The Book of Mormon” won nine Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. The musical also earned a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album as well as honors from Drama Desk Awards and the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Stone won a NAVGTR Award for Writing in a Comedy for the video game “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” an MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance for “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,” and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Animation for “The Spirit of Christmas,” and Matt and Trey were presented with the Maverick Filmmakers Award at the 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival. Stone has also earned nominations from the Annie Awards (Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”), Behind the Voice Actors Awards (Best Male Vocal Performance in a Video Game in a Supporting Role for “South Park: The Stick of Truth”), Gemini Awards (Best Comedy Program or Series for “Kenny vs. Spenny”), and Online Film & Television Association (Best Voice-Over Performance and Best Voice-Over Performance in a Animated Program for “South Park”).
In 2005, Matt spent $3.5 million on a 3,000 square foot home in Venice, California. He listed this home for sale in January 2020 for $4.5 million. He owns a smaller property nearby, which he bought in 2003 for $800,000. In 2008, he spent $5.15 million to buy an entire floor of a New York City building, and he sold the property for $6.15 million in April 2019.