There are a number of Hollywood A-list actresses out there who command $25 million or more per movie. It might be hard to fathom but some of these women are actually underpaid. Determining if an actress over or underpaid depends on their popularity and how much profitability the movie makes. Certain franchises such as Sex & The City couldn’t make their TV show or movie without the headlining actresses. A booking of certain popular actresses can ensure a studio at least a set amount of box office tickets just from throngs of loyal fans who see every movie that their favorite stars are in. The top 10 lowest paid actresses certainly bring a specific bang for their buck.
10 Anna Kendrick
There’s a certain arc to most actresses’ careers and Anna Kendrick seems to be on the upswing where she doesn’t yet command a huge payday, but that might not last long. The multi-faceted star has already appeared in the highly profitable Twilight films, the critically acclaimed George Clooney movie Up In The Air, and proved her mettle as a leading lady in the surprising money maker Pitch Perfect. Kendrick also poses as a double threat as a talented singer that can only draw more fans to her movies. Still with all her success Kendrick's net worth has yet to reach $2 million and she jokingly states that she can't afford her cocaine habit yet.
9 Amber Heard
One thing that actresses have to do to bring profitability to their movies is work to build their ‘brand.’ For beauty Amber Heard, dating one of the biggest movie stars in the world certainly doesn’t hurt brand building and Johnny Depp’s girlfriend is steadily seeing her workload increase. Heard is set to star in a thriller due in late 2013 titled Paranoia that also features Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Liam Hemsworth.
8 Emma Stone
Emma Stone has proven that she can be a box office draw and is progressively making her way up to A-List status. What attracts Stone to producers is her girl next door quality mixed with brains, beauty, and humor. Stone currently makes about $5,000,000 per year but that figure is only going to rise if she repeats successes much like her hit Easy A. The modern day take on the Scarlett Letter brought in almost $75,000,000 at the box office with a budget of only $8,000,000.
7 Melissa McCarthy
Even though she’s typecast in similar roles, Melissa McCarthy is one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood. Her characters always seem to convey a sentiment of sweetness even as they're stealing puppies from a bridal shower or trying to hook up on an airplane with a supposed air marshal. McCarthy’s salary is rising but she is still considered a bargain because of the lack of big name comedic actresses in Hollywood. McCarthy earns $6 million dollars per year on her surprising hit Mike & Molly which draws in 10 million viewers per week. Another reason she’s considered underpaid is because of what her roles call for, including playing Alan's love interest on the latest Hangover installment.
6 Angelina Jolie
The truth is, there aren’t many actresses in Hollywood that can pull off the action role like Jolie. Due to this supply and demand, Jolie is still underpaid even though she makes upwards of $20,000,000 per film. Angelina is noticeably taking fewer roles now most likely to help raise her children but her movies have proven to be fairly profitable due in large part to her international appeal. For instance 2010’s The Tourist had a budget of $100 million but brought in sales of only $67 million in the U.S. On the movies international release, it raked in another $210 million overseas bumping the total gross to a respectable $277,000,000.
5 Jennifer Lawrence
Having an Academy Award victory on your resume will only boost your per-film requirements but Jennifer Lawrence currently presents a budget friendly hire. She’s also already paid her dues on The Hunger Games, earning only $500,000 for her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in a movie that has grossed over $680,000,000. It could be argued that her reported $10,000,000 salary for a sequel Hunger Games; Catching Fire is still quite low. In Hollywood when you’re hot, you’re hot as also evidenced by Lawrence’s portrayal of Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook that helped the movie profit over $110,000,000 in the United States alone.
4 Kristen Stewart
While her personal life and off-screen actions may be alienating viewers, Kristen Stewart is still one of the lowest paid actresses based on past results. Stewart is in the weird position of commanding a huge pay check from studios but also giving them the biggest return on their investment. For instance in 2012 Stewart was the highest paid actress pocketing around $34,000,000. Still for every dollar she got paid, she offered a return of over $40 in viewer money. Investing 101 says if you can turn each dollar into 40 you do that over and over and over so look for Twilight 19 to hit theaters soon.
3 Tina Fey
Tina Fey gets paid a pretty penny but she’s also a pretty versatile investment. Imagine an NFL team paying a player $10,000,000 a year but in turn they played offense and defense, coached, cooked team dinners, and cleaned the other player’s jerseys. Fey has experience as an actress, writer, director, and producer and her brand of smart comedy is rare in Hollywood.
2 Kristen Wiig
There aren’t many women in Hollywood who can pull off the ‘pretty dork’ typecast but Wiig can make a guy fawn over her and snort beer out their nose in the same sentence. She has proven that her goofball persona can also carry a movie to profitability as evidence by 2011’s Bridesmaids, which made almost $170,000,000 just in the U.S. It’s not sure if she’s going to attempt to make the switch to more dramatic roles but for now Wiig provides studios a good bang for their buck.
1 Natalie Portman
Movie studios shouldn’t worry about Natalie Portman’s potentially high salary demands prevent them from casting her. Portman has the credibility of an Oscar win surrounding her now, which could boost a film’s marketability even further. As it stands, for every dollar a production company invests in Portman’s salary, they get a return of over $42, which is the highest for a female in the industry. Conversely Eddie Murphy offers a return of about $2 for every dollar a studio invests in him and Black Swan would've definitely had a different look had it featured a ballerina in a fat suit.
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