The 10 highest paid actors based purely on salary include the likes of Tom Cruise, Leonardo di Caprio and Adam Sandler. But some actors have been willing to forego a huge chunk of their salaries in return for a percentage of the film’s profits. After all, they can probably earn a lot more by getting a slice of the movie’s merchandising. And if the movie proves to be timeless, they can keep earning for years on end. Just imagine if Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable struck similar kinds of deals for “Casablanca” and “Gone with the Wind.”
Here now is a list of the top 10 highest paid actors in the world based on total income, including slice of the profits earned.
10. Mel Gibson – $30 million
Mel Gibson first appeared in the “Mad Max” series of movies. He has also been awarded for his work in the movie called “Braveheart.” Gibson has also been involved in high risk, non-English language movies, like “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto.” He has had his share of controversies after being accused of racism, anti-Semitism, domestic violence and homophobia at various times of his career. Gibson is also known for the “Lethal Weapon” series of movies, earning an astounding $30 million for the fourth part of the movie.
9. Arnold Schwarzenegger – $33 million
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an actor born in Austria who served as Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. He rose to fame because of bodybuilding, winning the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. He was then introduced to Hollywood where he starred in movies like “Conan the Barbarian.” His major breakthrough was in the “Terminator” series. While the first part earned only decent money, part two turned out to be a major hit. It allowed him to command a $33 million pay for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” in 2003.
8. Johnny Depp – $40 million
Johnny Depp was introduced to the public in the 1980s via the hit television show called “21 Jump Street.” He is also known for his choice of strange roles that he performs with a lot of fervor, like his portrayals in “Edward Scissorhands” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. In 2010, he did “Alice in Wonderland,” a movie that earned him $40 million. The following year, Depp also earned $35 million for the last part of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
7. Leonardo Di Caprio – $59 million
Even in his youth, Leonardo Di Caprio was known for his sensitive portrayals. He had acclaimed performances in “This Boy’s Life” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” Since then, he has appeared in movies like “Catch Me If You Can,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “Blood Diamond,” “The Departed” and “Revolutionary Road.” His major breakthrough, however, was in the monster hit called “Titanic” that earned him $40 million. In 2010, he did “Inception” that gave him $59 million.
6. Jack Nicholson – $60 million
We know Jack Nicholson for his famous lines in “A Few Good Men,” but the amazing thing is this is not even his best role. He has won awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Terms of Endearment” and “As Good As It Gets.” He also had memorable turns in “Easy Rider” and “Chinatown.” In 1989, he played The Joker in “Batman,” a movie that only paid him $6 million in salary but because of profit participation deals, he ended up with 10 times that amount.
5. Harrison Ford – $65 million
Harrison Ford has been with some of the highest earning films of all time. From the original “Star Wars” series to the “Indiana Jones” movies, Ford has shown his reliability at the box office. He also played memorable roles in “Blade Runner,” “The Fugitive” and “Air Force One.” He probably realized the value of having a cut of the movie’s profits and he had one included in his contract for “Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Though it was not as good as the three “Indiana Jones” movies before it, the movie still earned enough to give Ford a payday of $65 million.
4. Tom Hanks – $70 million
Tom Hanks is one of the highest grossing stars of all time. He made his debut in the 1979 movie called “He Knows You’re Alone.” He then starred in the acclaimed series called “Bosom Buddies.” His breakthrough role came in 1989 in the film entitled “Big.” After appearing in the romantic comedy hit “Sleepless in Seattle,” he played a gay lawyer in “Philadelphia” that won for him an Academy Award. The following year, he became just the second actor to bag consecutive Best Actor awards at the Oscars for his performance in “Forrest Gump.” It was a double victory for Hanks, as he also earned $70 million for the movie.
3. Tom Cruise – $100 million
Talk about box office reliability, Tom Cruise has been raking in the money since the 1980s. After an unforgettable turn in “Risky Business,” he starred in “Top Gun.” From then on, almost anything that Cruise appeared in proved to be a giant hit. He took an active role in his movie’s marketing work, thus allowing him to take home $70 million for “Mission: Impossible.” His highest earners were “War of the Worlds” and “Mission: Impossible II,” with both movies earning for him a cool $100 million.
2. Bruce Willis – $100 million
Bruce Willis started gaining recognition in the mid 1980s as the co-star in the television series called “Moonlighting.” He then achieved superstar status through his series of “Die Hard” movies, which is still spawning sequels until now. He traded all the slambang action, however, for “The Sixth Sense” in 1999. His base pay for the movie was only $14 million, but its huge profits allowed Willis to take home $100 million.
1. Keanu Reeves – $156 million
Keanu Reeves earned $156 million for two movies, though it was shot at the same time as part of the series called “The Matrix.” The first part was a huge hit, so much so that two sequels were immediately planned. “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” earned Reeves $30 million in base salary, but the popularity of the two films jacked up his take home pay to $156 million.