Do you know who is among the top current highest paid earners in the entertainment industry right now? According to the Hollywood Reporter, it is estimated that big-time movie stars routinely make roughly $15 million to $20 million for top roles in big-budget movies. Secondary lead actors on the other hand have been known to make an estimated $1.5 million to $4.5 million in revenue per movie. Furthermore, even lesser-known actors have made at least $150,000 to $300,000 when starring in their movies. Imagine that amount of money and visualize it being a physical thing laying around your house and as you can see, that is quite a lot. The thing with this industry is, not many actors actually get paid that big sum of money. With acting being a lucrative work in nature, this means that there will be a lot of competitors. However, not everyone will come out on top. For those actors who don’t, they may be toiling their whole life trying to get onto the A-list but without success. This makes the entertainment industry probably the best example of a winner-takes-all economy. With that said, in this article we have Mark Wahlberg and 14 other celebrities that managed to make it onto the A-list and have made revenues of at least $1 million for a film that they starred in.
15 Mark Wahlberg
Gone are the days of "Good Vibrations" and rapping shirtless. Here to stay are his golden pay checks and a few more years of acting without his shirt on. One of the highest paid actors this year is Mark Wahlberg. At the age of 46, he made the best career movies of his life, starring in films such as the Transformers, The Last Knight and Deepwater Horizon. Today, his movies have grossed $5.9 billion globally. Wahlberg made a break in his career when he got the role of a troubled star Dirk Digger in Boogie Nights. Ever since, he now chooses roles that exhibit an amplitude of acting skills, starring in movies such as Planet of the Apes. Wahlberg told The Hollywood Reporter in 2003: "My goal is to finance my own projects, own my own material, maybe even have a studio." With executive producer credits on the Entourage and the Boardwalk Empire, he is well on his way.
14 Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy notched up an impressive ranking, finishing just one place behind Jennifer Lawrence in the Forbes magazine's annual list. McCarthy made a break in her career starring in the Ghostbusters reboot, where she obtained her first Golden Globe nomination. Doing many different things besides acting, the actress saw her earnings shoot up to $33 million. Reportedly earning $23 million in 2015, the following year has seen McCarthy escalate her earnings by an impressive amount. Also appearing in the spoof action flick like Spy, as well as the likes of The Boss, and Mike & Molly, she has also made a dent in the fashion industry by setting up the fashion line Seven7. The actress has made sure she has other business earnings besides acting, showing she's not a one-trick pony. After being nominated for an Oscar in 2012 for her role in the smash-hit Bridesmaids, she managed to bag another Golden Globe nomination for the following year for Spy.
13 Adam Sandler
Coming in at number one among Jewish celebrities who have conquered the American dream is Adam Sandler. The actor pulled in over $50 million in previous years. Sandler started off with Saturday Night Live and earned the title of the king of comedy. Hits such as Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore further developed his career by doing very well on the box office. Lately, Sandler has fallen from his high horse due to poor movie selections. His roles in Jack and Jill and Pixels were quite terrible, but they still bagged him $20 million each. His work in Hotel Transylvania got him just $5 million, but he is still known as a big name in Hollywood. Despite his somewhat rollercoaster career, he still managed to receive recognition for movies such as The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, and The Waterboy. Adam Sandler is among the most successful actors that made it into the A-list.
12 Leonardo DiCaprio
A lot of people wish they can be Leonardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best-paid stars in Hollywood, with each starring role making him $25 million richer. He started making $20 million per film since 2000. When Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar in 2016, it was just the cherry on top of an amazing career. The Titanic was the movie that skyrocketed his career and roles in The Aviator and The Departed fetched him around $20 million each. According to Forbes, between June 2014 and June 2015, he made $29 million. And just last year grossed an estimated $39 million. Inception was his biggest payday to date, making an amount somewhere in the $59 million mark starring in the film by Christopher Nolan. DiCaprio even made $13 million for making a short film for a casino in 2014 while reportedly bagging $5 million for one commercial for a cell phone company back in 2011.
11 Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock earned just $600,000 for her role as the driver in Speed. Comedies such as While You Were Sleeping helped her reach the $1 million mark. She further perfected her masterpiece with movies such as A Time to Kill and 28 Days. However, after a slump in the early 2000s, she made a great comeback in the movies like The Proposal that earned her $8 million. Gravity cost somewhere about $100 million to produce and for almost the entire screening of the movie it displayed one astronaut floating in space. It turned out to be one of the highest-profiting movies of 2013 with numbers showing about $716 million at the global box office while being nominated for 10 Oscars and even winning seven gold statues. It is estimated that she made a total of $51 million in the period between June 2013 and June 2014. Regardless, today men still make way more than women in the film industry.
10 Vin Diesel
His first acting career happened unexpectedly. Once, he and his friends broke into a theatre to wreck it. What happened next was unforeseen. Someone stopped them and offered them each a script and $20, only if they would agree to attend the theatre after school every day. From there, Vin's career just progressed further. Earning around $400,000 for the sci-fi success Pitch Black, his demand rose with The Fast and the Furious franchise and has made a huge name for himself with XXX. Vin Diesel is one of the most successful performers in the world, coming in at #7 a few years ago on Forbes' list of 2016's highest-paid actors as a result of box office performance few other stars can even dream of approaching. With The Fast and the Furious, Diesel's films will have amassed more than $6 billion over the past decade. The actor’s tally surpassed $7 billion by 2017 when Guardians of the Galaxy overtook the box office.
9 Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Steel Magnolias. This is what rose her to fame. Later roles in movies such as Pretty Woman won massive credibility and sealed her name in the industry as an A-list star. She started earning around $20 million per film and that made her the go-to female star of Hollywood. Though she earned only $3 million for Mother’s Day shooting for four days playing a supporting role, it’s nowhere near the record $20 million she made during her time as Erin Brockovich, a legal story that made about $250 million worldwide just because of the sheer talent and raw skills of the star.
8 Will Smith
Will Smith started off his career as a rapper and went by the name of The Fresh Prince. His rapping career led to a sitcom that was a huge success. Even though his first few movies did not earn much at the box office, movies like Bad Boys and Independence Day earned him $7 million collectively. Movies like Suicide Squad and Collateral Beauty made him around $10 million each. He has amazing charisma that makes him one of the highest earning African-American actors to ever grace the industry. During 2014, leading roles played by Will Smith in 17 of the 21 films he took part in accrued worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million each, with five of them collecting more than $500 million in ticket sales at the same time grossing $6.6 billion total in all his films. He was also nominated for an Oscar for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
7 Jennifer Lawrence
All hell broke loose when Jennifer Lawrence wrote an essay stating the case that she earned less than her male counterparts in American Hustle. She made people wonder why one of the best-earning actresses in the industry was grumbling about a few million dollars extra even though she made $52 million between June 2014 and June 2015. Speaking up has paid off for Lawrence. Since her ordeal, she reportedly made $20 million in Passengers. This makes her one of the few actors who can request $20 million per movie. The third and fourth instalments of The Hunger Games recently netted her a combined $15 million, combined with a cut of the back-end profits. She made $15 million for one of her most recent films aside from also being nominated for an Oscar for Joy. Her contract with the high fashion house Dior made her around $15 million over the span of three years.
6 Emma Stone
Emma Stone made a breakthrough when she played the part of Laurie Partridge in the movie, In Search of the Partridge Family. This led to a figure of small TV roles in the following years. Roles in Superbad and The Amazing Spiderman did quite some favors to Stone’s name in the industry. Similarly, Easy A was a box office success and Stone was soon getting millions for roles in movies such as Crazy Stupid Love and La La Land, for which she even won an Oscar. She has constantly proven that she’s the best in the business. Racking up $26 million at such a young age, she is really making a name for herself at this time. Forbes estimated that Stone, just 29, banked $26 million before taxes between June 2016 and June 2017, thanks mostly to what she made for La La Land. The reportedly $30 million movie-musical has grossed over $445 million worldwide to date.
5 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is the most unsurprising name on this list. Movies such as Top Gun, Rain Man, The Firm and the Mission: Impossible series has made him a rich man long before the high salaries of today. He further made his claim to fame by earning around $20 million for movies such as the Rock of Ages. However, with a Top Gun sequel right around the corner, Cruise is set to earn about $28 million and prove to everyone he’s still got it, even at the age of 55. Cruise is slated to earn $53 million, according to Forbes. But of course, being one of the top-earning actors in show business is nothing new for Cruise, who began earning as much as $20 million per film in the '90s, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Since his career is still going strong, it's likely that Cruise's net worth of $550 million will continue to rise in the coming years.
4 Tom Hanks
Ron Howard was working on Splash when Hanks got the lead role. The film then went on to become a success, making a profit of more than $69 million. In A League of Their Own, Hanks ascended to the top again with his character of an unsuccessful baseball legend turned manager. In Philadelphia, Hanks played Andrew Beckett, lost tens of pounds and even got his hair thinned in order to appear feeble for the role. Hanks won an Academy Award for Best Actor starring in Philadelphia in 1993. Following Philadelphia was the blockbuster Forrest Gump that grossed a total of over $600 million in ticket sales. He also won his second Academy Award for Best Actor playing in Forrest Gump. He broke the bank by earning $20 million per film after Forrest Gump did ridiculously well at the box office.
3 Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne The Rock Johnson was listed as the highest paid actor of 2016, earning $64.5 million before taxes. In 2017, he dropped to No. 2 on Forbes' ranking behind Mark Wahlberg, but still earns a sizeable pay check. Between June 2016 and June 2017, he made $65 million before taxes. The former wrestler-turned-actor now commands eight figures to be featured in films like Baywatch and Jumanji. According to Variety, Johnson earns an estimated $650,000 per episode on Ballers playing the role of a resigned football superstar reviving himself as a financial advisor. That makes him one of the few highest-earning comedy actors on the TV screen. The only actors making more of a salary than him are the original five cast members of The Big Bang Theory who each earn an estimated $900,000 for each episode. The Rock also earns more than the highest-paid stars on HBO's hit series Game of Thrones that make an estimated $500,000 per episode. This is what it's like to be The Rock.
2 Brad Pitt
The actor who was paid only $6000 for his appearance in Thelma & Louis back in 1991 has since come a long way in this business. Brad Pitt started racking up salaries of about $5 million just four years later. His good looks were an added bonus to his talent while delivering an amazing performance throughout the year. At this point in his career, he is already earning about $20 million to $30 million per role. Pitt started his career in television, appearing on the daytime drama called Another World and playing Randy in Dallas. He gained notoriety when he got a small part in Thelma & Louise where he played the role of a criminal who had a relationship with Geena Davis and cheated her. Pitt's character in the drama Troy as Achilles helped form his action star career, ensued by a role in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Megamind while receiving two Best Actor Oscar nominations.
1 Johnny Depp
For the second year in a row, Forbes has bestowed upon Johnny Depp the title of Hollywood’s Most Overpaid Actor. According to a source, his films have earned $3.4 billion and counting. Alice Through the Looking Glass featuring Depp, hit $77 million in ticket sales. The sequel to Alice in Wonderland was deemed a bust because its results paled in comparison to its highly successful predecessor. The cost of the film was $170 million and Depp’s salary accounted for an outsized chunk of that. The fifth film in the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean series had a domestic total gross of $172,558,876. Depp’s top three highest-grossing films were previous Pirates movies, and everyone in the series topped $250 million in ticket sales. With those numbers in mind, Johnny Depp really fits his title and it is no surprise if his future films beat his past records.