Which American actor banked the most bucks in past year?
Forbes Magazine this week released its annual list of the highest earning actors in Hollywood. No real surprises on the list, but who made the top spot with a whopping $77m banked this year?
15 Matt Damon, $18m
Despite the distinct lack of a new Bourne movie, Damon takes 15th place in the list. True Grit earned him critical acclaim as well as a healthy paycheque.
14 Brad Pitt, $20m
No massive paydays for Pitt this year, but with four jobs on his CV, he has been a consistent performer. His appearance in Terrence Malik’s Tree of Life is likely to earn him more Oscar buzz than the role as Krill number two in the Happy Feet sequel, but both will help him keep the family fed and watered.
13 Robert Pattinson, $20m
Pattinson continues to bleed dry the cash cow that is the Twilight series of movies for all he can. Mindful of the fact that even immortal vampires will fade away in the end, he’s wisely branching out into other roles. His role in romantic drama Water for Elephants opposite Reese Witherspoon proves that he can create swoons in the day as well as night.
12 Daniel Craig, $20m
Despite the giant salary (enough to by almost 30 million shawarmas), the occasional James Bond might be a bit disappointed with this year’s salary. Not because it isn’t huge, but because the films he’s starring in are going to be among the bigger movies of the year. First up, he’s got his name above the titles in Cowboys & Aliens, then there will be the probable box office smashes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Adventures of Tintin later this year.
11 Jim Carrey, $20m
There have been years when Carrey has topped this list. It is fair to say that his journey down the league table won’t be worrying him too much, however. What he’s lost in terms of bank balance, he’s more than made up for in critical acclaim. His turn as a con artist in I Love You Philip Morris earned him rave reviews despite being a box office turkey.
10 Tom Cruise, $22m
For about twenty short years (say between Top Gun and Mission Impossible 3), Cruise had a legitimate claim to be Hollywood’s brightest star. Although that star has waned somewhat, he still commands a hefty fee. We presume he was offered a fair wedge of cash to dangle from the Burj Khalifa while filming Mission Impossible: Ghost Protoco
9 Tim Allen 22m
To the cash machine and beyond! Hanging up his helmet and bidding farewell to Buzz Lightyear will probably mean he’s said a tearful goodbye to his biggest pay cheque as well. Remarkably, he still earns a regular dividend from his work on 90s sitcom Home Improvement.
8 Mark Wahlberg, $28m
Stripping down to your pants and pouting will make you a lot of money in Hollywood. That’s how Wahlberg got his big early break. The cash started rolling in, however, when his name started rolling on credits for films such as Date Night and The Other Guys. The real money, as everybody knows, is in producing and that is an area Wahlberg is starting to excel at. He takes credits and cash for TV series including Entourage and Boardwalk Empire.
7 Robert Downey Jr, $31m
At what point can we stop talking about Downey Jr having a troubled past and start concentrating on his command of the box office? When he overtook Cruise in the earnings league table seems as good a time as any. His earnings seem guaranteed for years to come with Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes looking likely to be popular franchises that spout sequel after sequel.
6 Ben Stiller, $34m
Considering he is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, it is surprising that some of his heftiest salaries are received for voice-over work. He’s currently mouthing the words for Alex the Lion in Madagascar 3 and last year provided back up support in Megamind. The ongoing Meet The Parents and Night at The Museum sagas are the films that have seen him command the greatest audience, though.
5 Tom Hanks, $35m
Hanks plus Julia Roberts in a romantic comedy must equal box office gold. You can see the thinking behind Larry Crowne, but the film was one of few flops in “the modern day Jimmy Stewart’s” career. Thankfully, his performance in the all-conquering Toy Story 3 is likely to keep him close to movie-goers hearts for some time to come.
4 Will Smith, $36m
There are thirty six million reasons why you rarely see a picture of Will Smith when he is not grinning from ear-to-ear. The princely sum is almost entirely based on a cash advance for reprising his role as agent J in the upcoming Men in Black III. His last film was actually 2008’s Seven Pounds. He’s put his own career on hold for a while preferring to let his children Jaden and Willow take the limelight.
3 Adam Sandler, $40m
Surprised? We certainly were, but anybody who took the time to study box office receipts over the past 15 years would know that the former Saturday Night Liver is a consistent, if unspectacular, performer. Sandler would be wise to stick to familiar territory. Like career funnymen Carrey and Stiller before him he’s got the notion into his head that he can play straight acting roles to show of his ‘range’. The result was a tragic tanking at the box office for Funny Men.
2 Johnny Depp, $50m
Johnny Depp manages to give the impression of only ever featuring in quirky art house films while simultaneously appearing in massive popcorn-fuelled blockbusters. Perhaps it’s because he rarely fails to deliver a twinge of oddity to any role he fills. He’s already turned out in another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel and starred as a fish-hugging lizard in the lawless Wild West in Rango. Next up, he is back in familiar territory in front of Tim Burton’s directorial camera in Dark Shadows.
1 Leonardo Di Caprio, $77m
Every year, it is harder and harder to remember little fresh-faced Leonardo Di Caprio of his Titanic days. The transformation which began five years ago with Blood Diamond and The Departed was comprehensively completed last year with the darkly tinged Inception and Shutter Island. Having done the business for the biggest directors in Hollywood (Martin Scorsese seems to consider Leo his muse but he’s also turned out for Christopher Nolan, Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen, Danny Boyle, James Cameron and Baz Luhrmann), there is no surprise that the King of The World has become the King of the Blockbuster.