If you sign a deal to star in a Netflix film, for example, they’ll likely inflate your salary to include an estimate of what you would’ve pocketed from box office profits had the film been released only in theaters. Because of this trend, actors’ initial earning figures sometimes seem surprisingly high.
To illustrate this point, Variety compiled a list of actors paid the most for a single role in a recent or upcoming movie. In nearly all cases, it’s for a single movie, but there are a couple exceptions. Netflix is forking over $100 million to Daniel Craig, the first-place finisher, for reprising his role as Detective Benoit Blanc in two sequels to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019). If you split that in half, he’s technically tied with the runner-up, Dwayne Johnson, who’s earning $50 million for Amazon Studios’ as-yet-unscheduled holiday action movie Red One. And since the Netflix thriller The Gray Man could become a franchise, Ryan Gosling’s $20 million paycheck incorporates a bonus in case a sequel materializes.
Two of the many A-listers from Adam McKay’s star-studded dramedy Don’t Look Up, whose teaser trailer just dropped earlier this week, made it on the list: Leonardo DiCaprio’s $30 million landed him in fourth place, tied with Spenser Confidential’s Mark Wahlberg; and Jennifer Lawrence is tied with Leave the World Behind’s Julia Roberts, both in fifth place with $25 million.
See the top 15 below.
1. Daniel Craig ($100 million) // Knives Out sequels (TBD)
2. Dwayne Johnson ($50 million) // Red One (TBD)
3. Will Smith ($40 million) // King Richard (2021)
3. Denzel Washington ($40 million) // The Little Things (2021)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio ($30 million) // Don’t Look Up (2021)
4. Mark Wahlberg ($30 million) // Spenser Confidential (2020)
5. Jennifer Lawrence ($25 million) // Don’t Look Up (2021)
5. Julia Roberts ($25 million) // Leave the World Behind (TBD)
6. Sandra Bullock ($20 million) // The Lost City of D (2022)
6. Ryan Gosling ($20 million) // The Gray Man (TBD)
6. Chris Hemsworth ($20 million) // Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
6. Brad Pitt ($20 million) // Bullet Train (2022)
7. Michael B. Jordan ($15 million) // Without Remorse (2021)
8. Tom Cruise ($13 million) // Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
9. Keanu Reeves ($12-$14 million) // The Matrix Resurrections (2021)