October 16, 2021

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Ten Highest Paid Single Movie Roles And What Actor’s Earnt

3 min read

As movie fans flock to franchises rather than individual stars these days, the big film payoff is hard to come by for Hollywood A-listers – although plenty are still able to command a fee which us mere mortals might describe as eye-watering. Watch a run down of the ten highest paid movie roles below:

You’ll recognise all the actors who’ve commanded the highest fees for film roles – but you may be surprised by the appearance of one or two.

The lists kicks off with Johnny Depp – and it’s not the last time we’ll mention him. Depp earned a reported $55 million (£39.7m) for his appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A hefty fee, and one no doubt earned thanks to the continued success of the franchise.

On Stranger Tides was the fourth installment of the swashbuckling series and its production costs came in at a reported $410 million (£296m), making it one of the most expensive films ever made. Good job it was a box office success then, taking in over $1 billion (£700m) worldwide.

Credit: Disney

Tom Hanks earning $60 million (£43m) for Forrest Gump, meanwhile, is even more astounding when you consider the film came out in 1994. The whopping figure for the Hollywood A-lister came after he struck a deal to take a portion of the box office receipts after stumping up cash for certain scenes when the production went over-budget.

Pipping Hanks is the critically lukewarm but seemingly universally loved Adam Sandler.

It was in fact one of Sandler’s more recent deals that put him in the top 10, signing a $250 million (£180m) four-movie deal with Netflix in 2014 – which included the smash hit Murder Mystery – that netted him $62.5 million (£45m) per movie. It’s since been extended.

$65 million (£47m) was the price it took to get Harrison Ford involved with a fourth Indiana Jones movie. Ford’s figure came after he agreed to a share of the box office receipts, alongside director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas.

Harrison Ford will be back for a fifth film. Credit: Paramount Pictures
Harrison Ford will be back for a fifth film. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Johnny Depp return’s to the list at six, earning a not-too-shabby $68 million (£49m) for his role as The Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland. Depp might’ve been working for his old pal Tim Burton, but that doesn’t mean he was giving out mates’ rates.

Sandra Bullock’s role in space thriller Gravity saw her nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars in 2014 – and she also earned some wonga from it too.

The film nailed it commercially and so she earned a cool $70 million (£50m) – made up of a $20 million (£14m) fee up front and 15 percent of the box office receipts.

“What about all those Avengers cast members? Surely they’re in here somewhere,” we hear you cry. Well, enter Robert Downey Jr.

For his role in Avengers: Infinity War, the actor earned a whopping $75 million, thanks to taking a share of the box office receipts. It made him the highest-paid actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for his role as Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr received a huge payout for Avengers: Infinity War. Image: Disney
Robert Downey Jr received a huge payout for Avengers: Infinity War. Image: Disney

Dead level with him is action veteran Tom Cruise who, you’ll be unsurprised to know, appears here thanks to the Mission: Impossible franchise. The fourth film in the installment Ghost Protocol saw Cruise earn $75 million as he played Ethan Hunt one more time.

That pales in comparison to Keanu Reeves though, who made an incredible $250 million (£180m) from The Matrix trilogy for his role as Neo. That meant he picked up a huge $83.3 million (£60m) per movie – how can that be topped?

Given how box office records have since surpassed it, it’s easy to forget just how much of a big deal the Men In Black franchise was – and central to that of course was Will Smith.

Men In Black
Men In Black

Smith took his career to the next level playing Agent J in the much-loved alien comedy and by the third installment could command a tall fee indeed – $100 million (£72m) to be precise, nearly a sixth of the film’s $624 million (£450m) gross.

Not bad for a few months work!

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