Hollywood’s Best-Paid Actors Earn Tens of Millions More Than Best-Paid Actresses
Sorry, reigning champ Robert Downey Jr.: tireless superstar Dwayne Johnson is now the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, taking in a whopping $64.5 million this year.
The "Fast 8" star tops Forbes's annual list, doubling his earnings from last year. The box-office heavyweight (and feudmaster extraordinaire) is also a franchise star who commands hefty upfront fees for movies like "Central Intelligence" and the upcoming "Baywatch" remake. Jackie Chan (a close second at $61 million), a regular on the list, and Matt Damon ($55 million) rounded out the top three, followed by Tom Cruise ($53 million) and Johnny Depp ($48 million).
While the figures alone are startlingly high, they’re also a sharp contrast to the magazine’s recently released list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses. Jennifer Lawrence topped that list in 2016, just like last year, with $46 million — a nearly $20 million decrease from the Rock’s sum, despite the Oscar winner’s similar status as a lucrative franchise star. Melissa McCarthy, who was No. 2 on the actress list with $33 million, only makes about half what Chan makes. The same goes for third-place actress Scarlett Johansson, whose $25 million payday is less than half of Damon’s earnings.
The entire list goes on to show a bald payday disparity. For example, Matthew McConaughey landed on the 19th spot on the actor’s list with $18 million—but he still makes more than the fifth highest-paid actress of the year, Chinese star Fan Bingbing, who earned $17 million.
"There are simply more big-budget roles for men that pay the high fees and cut of profits needed to score multimillion take-homes," Forbes writer Natalie Robehmed notes. "In fact, there are more roles for men, period: Male characters comprise an overwhelming 71 percent of all speaking roles in movies, according to a recent study."
Lawrence explored this issue earlier this year in an essay titled "Why Do I Make Less than My Male Co-stars?" She spoke candidly about being disappointed when she found out her American Hustle co-stars all earned more than she did. As she wrote: "I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn't worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled.'"
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