Actors are some of the highest paid people on the planet. Certain stars make millions of dollars each year for appearing in a movie or television role because they can usually guarantee a high grossing profit.
If a production company is able to snag stars like George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it’s expected that their salaries will reach new heights. It should also be noted that there is a big pay gap between the genders with men making almost 10 times more than women. These are some of the richest actors and actresses on the planet.
Ray Romano Gets A Hefty Raise
It’s not just movie stars who get paid an exuberant amount– top TV actors earn millions, too. Being a lead character on a successful show entitles actors to a higher pay due to them being one of the main reasons fans are tuning in each week to watch.
Ray Romano is probably best known for playing a fictionalized version of himself on Everybody Loves Raymond. This sitcom star earned $1.7 million for every episode after 2003 when producers agreed to boost his salary.
Friends Who Stick Together Get Paid Together
There are few sitcoms that span a decade on television. NBC’s Friends first premiered in 1994 and by the time the series finale aired in 2004 the cast was making $1 million per episode. This is a significant increase from their starting salary of a mere $20,000.
When Friends first premiered network TV was still going strong. There weren’t any streaming services like Netflix, so fewer shows were striving for viewership. While the concept of six friends living together in New York City may sound simple, the clear chemistry between the cast and clever storylines guaranteed them to become some of the highest paid TV stars of all time.
Tim Allen Becomes A Sitcom Icon
When he wasn’t playing Santa Claus, Tim Allen held his place in the sitcom circuit. One of the 1990’s most successful shows was Home Improvement. Allen’s character was the host of a tool show and the patriarch of a family with three sons.
If the highly positive reviews weren’t enough to draw in viewers, each episode came with wholesome and comedic content appropriate for all ages. Tim Allen became a household name and made over $35 million just from the last 28 episodes. That would be equivalent to around $1.5 million per episode.
Cameron Diaz Is a Box Office Hit
In the movie business, there are times when stars will add a cut of box office earnings to their salary. It’s never a sure thing if a film will do well when it’s released, but when it does it can lead to a major pay day.
When Cameron Diaz was tapped to play the lead role in 2011’s Bad Teacher her original salary was only $1 million. Considering her status as an accomplished Hollywood actor, people in the industry might consider it to be a major pay cut. Luckily, after the film became a hit at the box office Diaz was able to take a cut of the earnings. Her salary skyrocketed to $42 million.
Everyone Wants More Jerry Seinfeld
Another sitcom star who played a version of himself is Jerry Seinfeld. His hit show, Seinfeld, was watched by millions throughout the 1990’s. Even 30 years after it first debuted, Seinfeld is still one of TV’s most memorable shows of the 20th century. This decade was the start of a time when Hollywood realized that certain actors were the reason for high ratings.
NBC wanted Seinfeld in their lineup for as long as possible, so Jerry’s salary increased to $1.5 million per episode during the last season. The network even offered him $5 million per episode if he’d return for a 10th season, but he refused.
Will Smith: The $100 Million Man
After one film proves to be successful at the box office it can lead to a sequel or two. Only about a year after Will Smith finished his TV role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air he was ready to move onto film. He received the starring role as Jay in Men in Black, which became the start of his movie career.
With a worldwide gross of about $590 million, Hollywood became aware of Smith’s worth. Two sequels followed with Smith returning to both. When the time came for him to reprise his role in 2012’s Men in Black 3 he secured an $100 million deal.
Sandra Bullock Defies Gravity
Hollywood has recently been called out for the great discrepancy between male and female actors’ salaries. This occurs in most other fields of work, but the entertainment industry’s pay gap is one of the most visible. Sandra Bullock is no stranger to this fact, but her earnings are just starting to catch up to the men.
In 2013, Bullock received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for her work in Gravity. Viewers from all over the world praised Bullock for her clear balance of panic and bravery in her performance. In the end, she made around $70 million.
The Big Bang Theory Ends With A Happy Cast
The Big Bang Theory premiered in 2007, and now 12 years later, the show is finally coming to an end. They are officially the longest-running multi-camera comedy with 276 episodes and even inspired a hit spin-off show called Young Sheldon.
By 2014, five of the seven top-billed stars were making $1 million per episode. When they realized that Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch couldn’t increase their salaries, the rest of the cast agreed to take a pay cut in solidarity.
Jim Carrey Gets Paid A Bit Differently
During the 1990s Jim Carrey was the king of comedy, appearing in about 13 high-grossing films. Carrey proved that his name alone would encourage people to watch anything he was in. When he agreed to the lead role in 2008’s Yes Man his monetary gain came at a more unorthodox approach.
Instead of making a typical salary or getting paid a percentage of what was made at the box office, Carrey was able to negotiate an ownership stake in the film. After becoming part-owner of the entire production, he earned $30 million.
Emma Stone’s Got It Made
Over the years Emma Stone has shown off her versatility as an actress. Comedy, drama, romance, and many more genres come to her with ease and believability that’s not often seen in the industry. In 2016, Stone was an audience favorite for her leading role in the musical film La La Land, which earned her the Best Actress Academy Award.
That same year she appeared on Forbes’ highest paid actress list after making a total of $26 million. This did not slow her down by any means with her even receiving another Oscar nomination a couple of years later.
Audiences Keep Coming Back For Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s most-watched actors with a career that’s still going strong after almost four decades. He set the bar for what’s possible in both action and drama with films like Top Gun and Jerry Maguire. In 1996, his leading role in Mission: Impossible garnered the film a worldwide earning of around $458 million.
He’s starred in five sequels in the Mission: Impossible franchise, causing him to be one of the highest paid actors in film history. In 2011, Cruise snagged a large salary of $75 million for his role in Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Johnny Depp Found Treasure Through Captain Jack Sparrow
For decades Johnny Depp has transformed himself for numerous famous film roles. Movies like Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street gave him the opportunity to play a wide variety of unique three-dimensional characters.
When fans think of Depp’s memorable roles, Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean films might come to mind. He even based the character off of rock star Keith Richards and Looney Tunes cartoon Pepe Le Pew. Over the course of the franchise, he reportedly netted over $300 million.
Tom Hanks Takes Home the Awards and the Check
There isn’t much that Tom Hanks isn’t capable of when it comes to acting. His career has spanned generations with titles like Forrest Gump, Cast Away, and Big. He’s played characters both fictional and real, earning him a couple of Best Actor Academy Awards and the status of one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors.
In the 1998 Steven Spielberg war drama, Saving Private Ryan, Hanks played a U.S. Army captain who leads a group of soldiers during World War II. Similar to his pay deal for Forrest Gump, he was able to negotiate a $40 million salary with producers.
Leonardo DiCaprio Evolves As an Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio began his immense acting career starring in sitcoms. Later, he became one of the few actors to have multiple movies do consistently well at the box office. Even as a teenager, he was nominated for an Oscar for his first major movie role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
In 2010 people went out of their way to check out Leonardo DiCaprio in the action/adventure/sci-fi movie, Inception. It had the reputation of confusing its viewers, but still earned a great deal of money. DiCaprio was able to pick up a large salary for his role equating to about $50 million.
Scarlett Johansson Owes A Lot to Marvel
According to Forbes’ 2018 list of top-earning female leads, Scarlett Johansson is the highest paid actress in Hollywood. She first started acting at age 10 and has appeared in countless popular films like Lost in Translation, Ghost World, and He’s Just Not That Into You.
Johansson received most of her earnings by appearing in the Marvel movie franchise as the superhero Black Widow. From June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018, she made $40.5 million, beating out Emma Stone for the number one spot as the highest paid actress.
Angelina Jolie Made Millions Before Stepping on Set
For years, Angelina Jolie has landed on the highest paid actress list. She appeared on screen for the first time at the bright age of seven, following in the footsteps of her father, actor Jon Voight. Years later she stepped out of his shadow and made a name for herself in films like Girl, Interrupted, Changeling, and Salt.
She later took on the title role of Maleficent in Disney’s 2014 adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. Audiences loved her performance so much that she was asked to reprise her role in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is expected to be released in the fall of 2019. Before stepping on set she was offered $28 million upfront.
George Clooney Is the Richest Actor in Hollywood
Compared to all the actors in Hollywood, George Clooney is able to set himself apart. His earnings just from the last year are worth more than the top 10 highest-paid actresses combined. This is also astounding due to the fact that he hasn’t starred in a movie since 2016.
Clooney made the majority of his salary in the past after parts in movies like Up in the Air, The Descendants, and the Ocean’s franchise. With a little extra help from outside business ventures, such as his successful tequila business, George Clooney tops the highest-paid actor list with a salary of $239 million.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Promises A Blockbuster Smash
The rising career of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is only just beginning. His smooth transition from the WWE to acting has proved to be quite the journey. Just this year he’s released a couple of movies with nine on the way. Johnson is almost always working on a new project, which allows him to earn a spot on the highest-paid actor list.
Like a few of his fellow actors, Johnson receives giant paychecks before stepping in front of the camera. When he’s in a movie it’s nearly guaranteed to become blockbuster status. His roles in the Jumanji franchise kick-started his earnings to a sum of $124 million.
Adam Sandler Teams Up With Netflix
Adam Sandler got his start in stand-up comedy before booking a five-year stint on Saturday Night Live. From there he went on to create his own production company called Happy Madison where he produces and stars in many of today’s favorite comedies.
Since Netflix is one of today’s largest streaming platforms, they offer deals to actors who have a reputation for bringing in big numbers at the box office. Sandler was paid almost $40 million after a four-movie deal, landing him a spot on Forbes’ top 10 highest-paid actor list. Even though his films received vicious reviews from critics, they were favorably watched by millions of Netflix users.
We’re Not Lying About Reese Witherspoon’s Salary
Fans first witnessed Reese Witherspoon’s impeccable acting abilities at the young age of 15 in her on-screen debut of The Man in the Moon. Her diverse acting career makes her one to watch. She’s a professional across all genres and has even earned an Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, and other prestigious awards.
Most recently Witherspoon was recognized for her high salary in roles like Mrs. Whatsit in A Wrinkle in Time and Madeline Martha Mackenzie in HBO’s Big Little Lies. She made the Forbes’ highest-paid actress list at $16.5 million.