Even though female actresses earn significantly less than their male counterparts, they can still make more in one year than most of us will make in a lifetime.
Forbes has released their list of the ‘World’s Highest-Paid Actresses for 2018’. In a surprising turn of events, last year’s front-runner Emma Stone doesn’t even feature in the top 10.
Emma took the top spot last year, raking in $26 million for her award-winning role in La La Land, amongst other things.
Other actresses to drop from the list include Amy Adams, Emma Watson, and Charlize Theron, after failing to earn the qualifying $10 million figure.
Who ranked first? Forbes reports on the new queen of cash-flow:
Scarlett Johansson leads this year’s ranking with $40.5 million in pretax earnings between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018, making her acting’s top-earning female lead.
Playing Black Widow (below) in Marvel’s Avengers movies has become a lucrative role for Johansson, who quadruples her 2017 earnings to bump Stone from No. 1. She’ll return onscreen for the fourth installment of the superhero conglomerate series in 2019.
This is in part due to the budget change on the Avengers movies. Budget is now skewed towards the cast rather than special effects, which according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, is “okay because [the actors] are the best effects”.
Johansson edges Angelina Jolie (No. 2; $28 million) who returns to the ranking thanks largely to her upfront pay for Maleficent 2. Jennifer Aniston (No. 3; $19.5 million) still earns big bucks 14 years after the conclusion of Friends, making most of her money by endorsing the likes of Emirates airlines, Smartwater and Aveeno. Expect her paycheck to skyrocket next year when production begins on her forthcoming Apple series with Reese Witherspoon (No. 5; $16.5 million), for which the pair will receive an estimated $1.25 million an episode.
Just ahead of Witherspoon, who rejoins the list with movie earnings and Big Little Lies paychecks, is Jennifer Lawrence (above). The Hunger Games actress’ two most recent movies, Mother! and Red Sparrow, underperformed at the box office. But she still commands big bucks for her turns in the X-Men series and a high-paying Dior contract.
Together the combined earnings of the world’s highest-paid actresses before fees and taxes totalled at $186 million between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018. To put that into perspective, that’s over R2,6 billion.
The list examines actresses from all over the world, including Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot (below) who is from Israel, and Australian-born Cate Blanchett.
Earnings estimates are based on data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders. All figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Overall, the cumulative total is up 16% from $172.5 million in 2017.
Here’s the top 10 in full:
1. Scarlett Johansson, $40.5 million
2. Angelina Jolie, $28 million
3. Jennifer Aniston, $19.5 million
4. Jennifer Lawrence, $18.5 million
5. Reese Witherspoon, $16.5 million
6. Mila Kunis, $16 million
7. Julia Roberts, $13 million
8. Cate Blanchett, $12.5 million
9. Melissa McCarthy, $12 million
10. Gal Gadot, $10 million
Important to note here is that female characters only fill 28,7% of all speaking roles, which makes it harder for them to make the big bucks. This year, only two women earned higher than the $20 million mark – one less than last year. Also:
Roles for women who are no longer young ingenues are few and far between. Yet the highest-paid actresses buck that trend: 60% of this year’s list members are over the age of 40. Some have forged their own roles to build opportunities for themselves: Witherspoon cofounded her Pacific Standard production company and Hello Sunshine media house to option rights for female-led parts. Others, like Aniston, supplement acting income with hefty endorsement deals.
So sisters are doing it for themselves. That doesn’t change the fact that Mark Wahlberg, who ranks first on the highest paid male actor list, made $68 million last year. This is significantly more than Johansson, whose earnings are closer to those of Tom Cruise ($43 million) who only ranks seventh.
Hollywood clearly needs to up its gender equity game.
Still, I wouldn’t mind earning a few million a year. Would be nice.
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