Home Entertainment Hollywood A-lister salaries will make you weep

Hollywood A-lister salaries will make you weep

2 min read


Movies can be a big gamble, we all get that. So there is a chance that you may feel a twinge of sympathy next time a studio talking head complains about poor ticket sales, piracy and the general apathy of modern audiences.

On the other hand, maybe they could save some money by just paying their stars a little less! It’s already a big debate whether star power still means much at the box office. Do people really show up in their droves because they want to see Leonardo DiCaprio or Angelina Jolie in action? Despite all the frothing of mouths she causes among movie watching males, is Jennifer Lawrence really attracting all those hormonal hordes to her films? Or is it all paper popularity: a big name, but not one that necessarily turns that into effective revenue? Some argue that the last actor to really have a name that could do that was Johnny Depp – and even his appeal is not what it used to be.

With that debate in mind, take a look at what some actors are being paid on average for their work, excluding royalties, writing and production kickbacks. The Hollywood Reporter has put together a list and it’s staggering, if not altogether surprising:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio – $20 million
  • Sandra Bullock – $20 million
  • Matt Damon – $20 million
  • Robert Downey Jr. – $20 million
  • Denzel Washington – $20 million
  • Angelina Jolie – $15 – $20 million
  • Dwayne Johnson – $14 – $15 million
  • Mark Wahlberg – $10 – $15 million
  • Jennifer Lawrence – $10 – $15 million
  • Melissa McCarthy – $10 million
  • Seth Rogen – $8.4 million


I am a bit surprised (and happy) to see Dwayne Johnson doing so well. For a wrestler-turned-actor he has done exceptionally well, perhaps because he tends to diversify – playing a lot of action and comedy and also happily switching between lead and support roles.

The article details some up-and-comers as well. Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck may all soon be able to demand $15 to $20 million per movie. It also details some changes in how stars make their money, with the type of back-end deals that Robert Downey Jr. enjoyed on Avengers (which netted him an estimated $50 million paycheck in the end) becoming very rare nowadays as studios are only paying actors their cut after the movie has broken even with all production and advertising costs.

Still, these guys can’t plead poverty and, if I’m to be honest, I find it hard for big studios to bemoan the state of the industry when they dish out the dollars like this. Then again, this may explain why we are seeing more young stars being put in high-profile roles. For example, Val Kilmer had to really build up his cachet before getting a Batman role. Andrew Garfield was not nearly as renowned when he was offered Spider-Man – and probably cost a lot less to hire as well.

Last Updated: March 27, 2015


  1. I think it’s unnecessary for people to be paid that kind of money for an entertainment product. Same goes for sports people. Can’t help but think how much good could be done in the world if they got paid even a 10th less & it got put towards good causes.


    • Nick de Bruyne

      March 27, 2015 at 12:47

      It really isn’t about what they are worth, or what their work is worth, its just a numbers game in most cases. They can ask that much because the numbers show that spending X amount on them will get the movie to make Y amount on their presence alone etc.


  2. Nick de Bruyne

    March 27, 2015 at 12:46

    Thats super cool to see about The Rock I think too! I actually read a great article once about why he is so good for films, and they were saying that because of his background, he actually does a lot to help his movies do really well because he doesn’t complain and he goes to all the premieres, travels around the whole country and does TONS of promos and interviews etc wherever he goes, so he really puts in a lot of effort to promote his films, where other actors want to just do what’s in their contract and then GTFO.


  3. Nick de Bruyne

    March 27, 2015 at 12:50

    Let’s not forget that of the people who sign the cheques of these actors, there are fat white CEO dudes who pick their noses and play golf every week and then take home salaries just as big if not bigger.


  4. Skyblue

    March 27, 2015 at 22:34

    I don’t think it’s that high considering that John Travolta was demanding 20 million some 15 years ago. Great talents earn their money in their chosen fields because they excel at it whether that be in industry, commercial pursuit, sports, entertainment or sports entertainment (see what I did there?). These people get paid according to their perceived value they add to any project they enter, would you settle for less?


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