Highest-paid actors and actresses for a role

highest-paid actors and actresses

In recent years, the audience’s taste in choosing a movie to watch has changed.  Years ago, the major attraction for people were movie actors and actresses. Therefore a high paid movie star was inevitable for a high grossing movie. But things changed when special effect and other cinematic factors and successful franchise formulas took place for the actual acting! However, it didn’t stop movie stars to earn any less and in many cases, helped them earn even more than before. Just in different ways. Most of the highest-paid actors and actresses now earn their money based on movie sales! That’s a strategy to get the movie stars involved in both success and failure. And when it’s a huge success, the payment easily goes over tens of millions of dollars!

Now, here are the highest-paid actors and actresses in Hollywood that earned million’s with just playing a role!


Emma Stone – Mia in “La La land”

la la land emma stone

Emma Stone isn’t the richest. She’s still very far from the top list with her $26million in her hand from “La La Land”. But it doesn’t matter. She has had probably one of the best acting performances in her career that helped her to win her first Oscar and a lot of more awards. And maybe more money in the coming years for her.


Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Terminator in “Terminator3”

terminator 3 arnold highest-paid actor

When it was on the debate whether another Terminator sequel should be made or not, Schwarzenegger made it clear that he won’t be on the project unless he’s paid $29million. Fortunately, we got the chance to see the man on the big screen one more time. However; it wasn’t as profitable as the second movie.


Jim Carry – Carl Allen in “Yes Man”

yes man jim carrey

Not all the list of highest-paid actors and actresses is made up of high salaries. Jim Carry earned $30 million by risking his whole salary, in exchange for an ownership stake.


Tom Hanks – Captain John Miller in “Saving Private Ryan”

saving private ryan tom hanks highest-paid actors

Well, there’s a big jump in the list as the next highest payment for a role is as much as $40million. He used a strategy that is getting more common these days. Play for a low salary and earn the rest from the box office. It seems like a good strategy. Hanks did this multiple times which earned him even more money for some roles! Be aware, he isn’t the only one who went this way. So there are more highly paid movie stars coming!


Cameron Diaz – Elizabeth Halsey in “Bad Teacher”

Cameron Diaz Bad Teacher Interview
Cameron Diaz Bad Teacher Interview

Only $1million salary for a role! The rest of the $40million comes from the box office. Yeah, that strategy again.


Robert Downey Jr – Tony Stark in “The Avengers”

Robert Downey Jr the avengers highest-paid actors

One of the most important characters in the marvel cinematic universe is Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr tried to be a bit more like rich Tony and requested a humble $50million for the role in the first Avenger movie.


Leonardo DiCaprio – Dom Cobb in “Inception”

leonardo dicaprio inception

The ambitious Christopher Nolan’s movie was also highly risky. Nobody knew if it was going to have a good sale on the box office or not. So DiCaprio cut his salary and wait for the first dollar gross point. It went all good and DiCaprio got his hand on his $50million risky money.


Jack Nicholson – the joker in 1989 “Batman”

jack nicholson the joker

Back then, when Jack Nicholson was a growingly popular celebrity, Tim Burton decided to make a Batman Movie and include Nicholson as the joker. Jack Nicholson made an unusual deal with just $6million payment! But the box office earnings and even a share on sales from the next movies, which he wasn’t even had a role in them, was also on the deal. That finally summed up to be $50 million.


Johnny Depp – Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean4”

johnny depp pirates of the caribbean

The fourth Pirates of the Caribbean, “On strangers Tides” was released in 2011. It is still the most expensive movie to date with almost $378million budget. But the actual cost was even more and above $410million! Yes, that means even the Avengers movies with all the movie stars and heavy special effects, didn’t cost that much. A large portion of the $410million was because of Depp’s $55million payment. Johnny Depp himself also acknowledge the fact that he was overpaid! The actor earned about $300million from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies combined.


Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump in “Forrest Gump”

forrest gump tom hanks

The dumb face of Tom Hanks in the movie didn’t remain that way when the movie grossed over $650 million which meant $60million more for Tom Hanks. It’s another case of box office earning deals of Tom Hanks that paid off well.


Johnny Depp – The Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland”

alice in the wonderland johnny depp highest-paid actors

Alice in Wonderland was another money-making deal for Depp that earned him $68million.


Sandra Bullock – Dr.Ryan Stone in “Gravity”

Gravity Movie - Sandra Bullock
Gravity Movie – Sandra Bullock

maybe Academy Awards isn’t the most credible reward in cinema in terms of knowing true art, but it is surely the best way to be famous and have greater deals! Sandra Bullock won Oscar for her role in “the blind side” and had the chance to make $20million deal for the next movie “Gravity”. But it wasn’t all. She also made more than $50m from her %15 share on box office. So she is by far the highest-paid actress to date with more than $70million.


Tom Cruise – Ethan Hunt in “The Mission Impossible 4”

mission impossible tom cruise highest paid-actor

To get back Tom Cruise for the fourth Mission Impossible, Studio had to pay Cruise $75million.


Will Smith – Agent J in “Men in Black 3”

men in black 3 will smith highest paid-actors

Maybe $75 million for a role wasn’t crazy enough. What about a $100million? That’s how much Will Smith earned from the Men in Black 3. But including one of the highest-paid actors is kind of a guarantee for any movie that wants big gross revenue. Men in Black 3 grossed over $620. That could be said from how Men in Black 4 is doing in the box office!


Keanu Reeves – Neo in “The Matrix” trilogy

keanu reeves highest-paid actor

While Will Smith, Cruise, and Clooney are fighting over the top position of highest-earning actors, Keanu Reeves takes over the top with his $30million salary and over $250million payment for the three movies of The Matrix.


Of course, there are many other actors and actresses that earn money form movies by different means and contracts. Most of them have a share of box office gross revenue which we didn’t include in our list. It’s not easy to count any kind of earnings the superstars have from movies. George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson, and even non-Hollywood movie stars like Amir Khan, etc., are all among other powerful and highest-paid actors in which tracking their true income is not as easy as a movie salary.

Anyway, which actor or actress do you think earned too much for a role?


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