We all know that Hollywood heavyweights make some serious money, but if there are some small screen stars out there making a million dollars an episode, just imagine what the highest paid blockbuster actors are earning in a year. We’ve taken a look at the A-list’s incomes, and can we just say, holy smokes, those salaries are insane. The top 25 have all worked hard to earn their spot at the top of the Hollywood heap, but just wait until you see who took no. 1, and by how many tens of million no. 2 trails behind. That’s right, we’ll be hitting the hundred millions, so hold onto your hats.
25. Gal Gadot
Let’s all give a rousing round of applause to first timer on the Forbes highest paid actor ranking, Gal Gadot! The Israeli born actress really broke into the Hollywood big leagues when she suited up as Wonder Woman in 2017, and perhaps unsurprisingly, playing everyone’s favorite female superhero has spelled serious financial success.
In addition to pulling in a hefty payday as an actress, Gal signed an endorsement deal with major makeup company Revlon in 2018. Altogether, the busy star is estimated to have earned a sizeable salary, estimated at $10 million. With Wonder Woman 1984 slated for release sometime in 2019, Gal’s sure to hold onto her spot among Hollywood’s elite.
24. Melissa McCarthy
Funny lady Melissa McCarthy has moved on up from playing the comedic relief sidekick like she did in Gilmore Girls or in the bawdy female focused film Bridesmaids, to starring in her own movies. Proving her popularity with the public, Melissa McCarthy has been pocketing a pretty hefty payday.
With three movies out in 2018, including Life of The Party, The Happytime Murders and an Oscar-nominated performance in the drama film Can You Ever Forgive Me?, McCarthy ended the year on a high note, and approximately $12 million in the bank. It turns out the old saying is true, funny people finish first.
23. Cate Blanchett
Having long ago proven her acting chops, Cate Blanchett seems to be casting directors’ go-to-gal for everything from the kid-friendly The House With a Clock in Its Walls, to the sleek heist film Ocean’s 8, to the Marvel Universe money-maker Thor: Ragnarok.
They say crime doesn’t pay, but playing the big baddie in a Marvel movie pays big – about $12.5 million for 2018. Thor: Ragnarok became the highest grossing movie in the Thor film franchise, and sure, there’s probably a whole slew of reasons that could explain what made it such a success, but who’s to say it wasn’t Cate Blanchett and her evil CGI hair.
22. Julia Roberts
It should almost go without saying that Julia Roberts pulls in some serious cash – she’s been acting longer than some people on this list have even been alive. Roberts long ago proved to be one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood, and of course, her trademark mega-watt smile is worth its weight in gold.
We’ll accept no review of Pretty Woman other than that it’s a perfect film, as is nearly every Julia Roberts starring movie. Coupled with an endorsement deal with Lancome (because honestly, who wouldn’t buy makeup that’s Julia Roberts approved?) the actress made $13 million in 2018.
21. Charlize Theron
The idea that action movies have to focus on a male lead is frankly outdated, as Charlize Theron proved as the most formidable spy MI6 has ever seen in the action/thriller Atomic Blonde. Pulling double duty as both the film’s star and producer, Theron pulled in a pretty penny too, to the tune of $14 million.
A sequel is in the works, so there’s more spy action to come. Controversial opinion, but let’s think of Atomic Blonde as an audition for Theron to play the first female James Bond. If anyone can play with the big boys and beat them at their own game, it’s her.
20. Mila Kunis
Getting her start on That 70’s Show while she was still a teenager, Mila Kunis is a Hollywood veteran at this point and she’s not even 40 years old yet. Between her television work and major movie roles, Mila Kunis’ versatility is to thank for the $16 million she has in the bank for 2018.
Who else could go from voicing a cartoon character in the long-running Family Guy, to a role in the Academy Award darling Black Swan, and back to comedy in movies like Bad Moms and The Spy Who Dumped Me and make it all look easy – and equally delightful.
19. Reese Witherspoon
She’s the bubbliest blonde in town, and these days, easily the busiest too. Bringing the Liane Moriarty best-seller to television, Reese Witherspoon brought in the big bucks as one of the stars and producers on the critical and commercial success Big Little Lies. But that’s far from all Witherspoon has been up to.
The actress also starred in A Wrinkle In Time, is the face of Elizabeth Arden, and is coming back to TV in a much buzzed about HBO show co-starring Jennifer Aniston. Oh, and did we mention she wrote a book? This brings us to a total of $16.5 million for 2018, and in the words of her Legally Blonde character Elle Woods, “What, like it’s hard?”
18. Ryan Reynolds
The cost of superhero movies is famously outrageous ($220 million for The Avengers, for example) and so when you compare Deadpool’s modest $58 million budget, the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time was more than your basic box-office success — it brought in $783 million! And it’s all thanks to the man behind the mask, Ryan Reynolds.
Deadpool 2 released in 2018, did a bit better, and brought in $785 million. Most of his $21.5 million comes from his movie roles, but Reynolds is looking to become a gin mogul too, acquiring a stake in Aviation Gin. Not bad Reynolds, not bad at all.
17. Jennifer Lawrence
We know it’s been said before, but don’t you just think that if you got the chance to meet Jennifer Lawrence in person, you’d just be best friends? Sure, she’s a superstar celebrity, but she still manages to be so chill, and that’s why we want to be her, and be friends with her.
She tripped going up the stage to accept her Academy Award, and who among us can’t recall an embarrassing fall? Although, we only wish we could relate to her $24 million salary. JLaw’s easy charm and insane ability to totally get into character make her America’s sweetheart and Hollywood’s ace.
16. Jennifer Aniston
We shudder to think of a world in which Friends is no longer in syndication. What other show could possibly be the perfect thing to have on while you spring clean, nurse a heartbreak, stay home on a snow day — honestly, is there ever a time when Friends doesn’t fit the mood?
Thanks to the eternal cash cow that is Friends coupled with Aniston’s endorsement deals with Aveeno, SmartWater, and Emirates airline, this Friend will always be financially secure at approximately $25.5 million per annum. Additionally, Aniston is expected to earn $1.25 million per episode on her new Apple TV show. Seems like it’s always Jennifer Aniston’s day, week, month and year.
15. Emma Stone
Card carrying member of the Hollywood Cool Girl Club, Emma Stone counts Jennifer Lawrence as one of her best friends, and seriously, can we come to their next hangout? Since Stone counted out a cool $26 million in the bank at the close of 2017, we wonder which one of them picks up at tab when they go out.
Being an in-demand actress clearly has its perks, like a professional partnership with Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling, her co-star in the wildly successful La La Land. La La Land landed it’s stars the best paydays of their careers, and gave Emma Stone her first Oscar. Stone is sure to keep the cash coming, and the critical acclaim too.
14. Angelina Jolie
She’s probably too busy with her humanitarian work as a U.N. special envoy to even care about her cash flow, but when it comes down to it, Angelina Jolie knows her worth when it comes to major movie roles.
Her turn as the misunderstood Disney villainness Maleficent in the eponymous 2014 film earned her $20 million plus a share of the profits, but her second go around is set to net the star an even bigger pay day of $28 million. With Maleficent 2 slated for release sometime in 2020, Angelina Jolie won’t be moving down the list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses anytime soon.
13. Ryan Gosling
After singing and dancing his way into our hearts on the Mickey Mouse Club, it was clear Ryan Gosling was made for movie stardom. So it should come as no surprise that he’s been topping the Hollywood A-list, and highest paid actors lists for a while now.
Just like Emma Stone, La La Land lead to Gosling’s best payday of his career to date with roughly $29 million at the end of 2017. In the style of Old Hollywood’s on-screen partnership of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, can’t these two just admit that they’re this generation’s costar couple and just keep making movie magic? If not for us, then for the dividends.
12. Tom Hanks
Mr. Nice Guy, also known as Tom Hanks, has been one of Hollywood’s best paid actors for a long long time. Outside of his Oscar-bait movie roles, Hanks has a few film franchises to his name as well, and altogether, he makes a whole lot of money at the end of each year — estimated around $31 million for 2017 alone.
With Toy Story 4 set to hit the big screen in the summer of 2019, it’s sure to be another good year to be Tom Hanks. Actually, when you’re that genuinely gregarious, and a bona fide acting legend, it’s probably always a good time to be Tom Hanks.
11. Chris Evans
If the amount of Marvel movies flooding the theaters hasn’t tipped you off, people really love superhero movies. The Marvel Universe is so sprawling and yet so successful, they’ve managed to make Ant Man cool. Still, the shining star of superhero movies is easily Captain America played to perfection by Chris Evans.
His multi-movie contract with Marvel means he makes all the money in every Avengers installment and all of the Captain America stand-alone films, for approximately $34 million annually. With the fourth and final film in the Avenger series seeing an April 2019 release date, Chris Evans can thank high moraled Captain America for his place among Hollywood’s highest earners.
10. Scarlett Johansson
It seems like the Marvel Universe is a bit of a boys’ club, but Scarlett Johansson is here to show everyone how it’s done. Appearing in every one of the Avengers movies and dropping in on Captain America and Iron Man, altogether, Johansson has brought the Black Widow to the screen seven separate times.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that superheroes make money, and plenty of it. Scarlett Johansson was the highest paid actress in 2018, raking in an impressive $40.5 million at year’s end. Black Window is finally getting her own feature film, so Johansson’s payday will certainly keep reaching super heights.
9. Will Smith
He has more energy than so many people half his age, and even as he hits his 50s, Will Smith is as big a box office draw as he was in his Fresh Prince days. The never-not-cool Smith is hip to the times, and isn’t limiting himself to the big screen, taking on a role in Bright on Netflix to the tune of $20 million.
Still, that’s not the only paycheck he’s banking these days. Will will be playing none other than Genie in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, stealing its way into theaters in May 2019. All in all, Smith banked $42 million for 2018, and 2019 just mean more money magic for the star.
8. Tom Cruise
For as long as Tom Cruise is willing to jump off of buildings and bring down the bad guy, we’ll be happy to watch him do it. Much like Tom Cruise himself, the Mission Impossible movies never seem to get old, and it’s a good thing, because it really brings in the big bucks.
With two more Mission Impossible movies coming down the pipeline, Cruise can keep counting on those $43 million paychecks he’s been cashing. And just to put it all into some perspective, Cruise is in his mid-50s! That he can still do these stunts is even more impressive than his pay.
7. Adam Sandler
In this crazy and ever changing world, if there is one thing we can always rely on, it’s Adam Sandler’s comedic stylings. Sandler’s sense of humor might not suit everyone, but it certainly has Netflix smiling, because the streaming service was happy to sign him to a four film deal for $250 million over the course of a few years.
Even though the critics weren’t crazy about The Ridiculous Six, it became Netflix’s most watched movie the month it was released. Since then he’s signed on for another four films. Sandler will reliably make something in the vicinity of $50.5 million a year for the foreseeable future.
6. Vin Diesel
Can we all just agree that we’ll never get tired of the Fast and the Furious films? Certainly Vin Diesel hasn’t either, as he’s appeared in every film in the franchise since it’s initial release in 2001. It’s obviously a labor of love for the actor, and of course, the pay ain’t bad either.
The latest entry in the franchise made $1.2 billion at the box-office, which had Diesel banking $54.5 million at year’s end. And it’s likely there will be more where that came from. The franchise needs to keep cruising along until they get to the tenth installment, which should obviously be titled Fast and the Furious: FasTEN Your Seatbelts.
5. Chris Hemsworth
The debate over which Chris is Hollywood’s best (Evans, Pratt, Pine or Hemsworth) will never have a definitive answer, but Hemsworth has been the highest earning Chris for two years running, with no signs of slowing down. Playing a superhero has unsurprisingly spelled success for Hemsworth.
Hemsworth has had the honor to play Thor, God of Thunder in a standalone franchise, and every Avengers film, meaning that he’s making it rain roughly $64.5 million a year. With his contract with Marvel coming to a close after the fourth Avengers movie, we can only hope he signs on to play Thor a bit more, Thor: Ragnarok was too much fun.
4. Mark Wahlberg
After his daily schedule was published and it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg wakes up at 2:30 am EVERY DAY in order to get started on his day as soon as possible, no one can argue that the actor doesn’t deserve a spot on the listing of Hollywood’s highest earners.
Wahlberg proves that the early bird catches the worm, and in his case, the worm is approximately $68 million in cash. Thanks to his versatility, the sometimes comedy star, sometimes action star just keeps having hits at the box-office. And don’t forget the burger franchise he co-owns with his brothers, Wahlburgers – that brings in the bucks too.
3. Robert Downey Jr.
As a mainstay on every list of Hollywood’s highest paid actors since taking top spot in 2012, Robert Downey Jr. certainly knows the secret to securing an astronomical salary. Since stepping into Iron Man’s suit, the star has been reliably banking millions of dollars a year.
Negotiating an impressive paycheck even just to appear for a few minutes in a fellow superhero film within the Marvel Universe, in addition to the money he makes in the Avengers movies, Robert Downey Jr. put away $81 million in 2018. With Avengers: Endgame out in 2019, Downey Jr.’s bottom line has never looked better.
2. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
We have to wonder, is Dwayne Johnson ever in a bad mood? Sure seems like he’s always smiling, then again, with his salary we’d be smiling all the time too. With upfront fees for films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in the millions, and profit share, Johnson’s putting away a hefty payday.
In addition to his acting contract, Johnson’s massive social media following means he can negotiate an additional seven figures for film promotion. All-in-all, the actor put away $124 million for 2018. We wouldn’t be surprised if he jumps from second place to first for 2019’s highest-paid actors ranking, although he’s definitely got his work cut out for him to reach no. 1.
1. George Clooney
No actor has ever earned more in a calendar year than A-list icon George Clooney did at the end of 2018. After successfully building Casamigos Tequila into an empire, he sold it, along with his business partner Rande Gerber, for a whopping $700 million. So what does the mean for Clooney?
It means that for 2018, the actor cashed $239 million. To break it down into a bite-sized piece, that’s $654,794 a day. Still can’t imagine a figure that monstrous? How about thinking of it as $27,283 an hour. Alright, we’ll break it down one more time. George Clooney made $454.78 a minute. Let’s all bow down to George Clooney.
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