Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Highest Paid Actors & Actresses Lists + My $.02

Forbes Magazine's list of the 10 highest paid actors and actresses in the business, for the year from June 2006 to June 2007. I believe they do this annually, so their next list, to be released later this year, will cover June 2007 to June 2008.

Some interesting points I notice about both lists:

1. The obvious lack of non-white faces, except for Will Smith on the actor's list. No surprise there, I guess. But, at least there's representation on the actor's side. I wonder who the highest paid non-white actress was for that time period... Halle Berry? Jennifer Lopez? Jessica Alba doesn't really count, I don't think.
2. It's still very much a man's world. There's still quite a gap between what the women are getting paid, compared to the men. The average earnings for women is roughly $12.5 Million, while the average for the men adds up to approximately $40.5 Million! WOW! An obviously significant difference. The lowest paid man, Matt Damon, at $24 Million, made more than every woman on the top actress list, except for one - Nicole Kidman, at $28 Million.
3. What the hell did Vince Vaughn do in 2007 that generated $25 Million in earnings for him???
4. In reading the full article on Forbes's website, the reason for this discrepancy between men and women became clear to me. The men tend to be more aggressive on the back-end side - meaning, their contracts with studios for films that they starred in, included a percentage of the films' profits, on top of their already gargantuan salaries. For example, in Johnny Depp's case, the $92 Million he made for the year came mostly from one single film - the 2nd installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest series. I believe his usual salary hovers in the $20 to $25 Million range, so, he pocketed at least $60 Million in back-end profits from a film which went on to become the 3rd highest grossing film in history, raking in over $1.1 Billion worldwide. So, what does this mean for the women? Simply, they need to be aggressive with their contracts and demand some, or more back-end participation.
5. What the hell are all these people doing with all this freaking money anyway? The cumulative 2007 earnings total for both actors and actresses is $530 Million!! That's a lot of money, and possibly the GDP of some small countries. How about spreading the wealth around a little bit.
6. It's actually good to see that most of the names on either list are what we could call Actors and Actresses (note the capital "A"). These are people who are popular not because of their off-screen shenanigans, but rather because they take their work seriously and they're mostly good at what they do... although, the Jessica Alba inclusion on the actress side, is a little discombobulating... as are Sandra Bullock and Adam Sandler :o) But for the most part, these are usually reliable, solid performers.

Alright, nothing else stands out to me at the moment, so I'll end it here. But feel free to add your $.02 where necessary.

Here are both lists:


Nicole Kidman $28 mil
Angelina Jolie $20 mil
Jennifer Aniston $14 mil
Cate Blanchett $13 mil
Sandra Bullock $10 mil
Keira Knightley $9 mil
Julia Roberts $9 mil
Jessica Alba $9 mil
Scarlett Johansson $5 mil
Reese Witherspoon $7 mil


Johnny Depp $92 mil
Tom Hanks $74 mil
Ben Stiller $38 mil
Brad Pitt $35 mil
Tom Cruise $31 mil
Will Smith $31 mil
Adam Sandler $30 mil
George Clooney $25 mil
Vince Vaughn $25 mil
Matt Damon $24 mil


  1. said...

    1. I'm sure it's Halle Berry. I don't think Jessica Alba counts, either. I agree.

    2. It is. No surprise.

    3. O-kay? What's up with that? LOL. It's quite unbelievable, really. LOL.

    4. This is either inaccurate reporting by some idiot man who believes women are unable to manage their business affairs or are "too afraid" to negotiate deals.

    Or it's true; women have not demonstrated the wherewithal to conduct their business affairs optimally. I find this very hard to believe.

    It's still sexist, though; whatever the case. A man might have to request something. But a woman will probably have to scream, scratch, kick, cuss, and kill for the same deal.

    5. Yeah; start with the bloggers. LOL.

    6. Yeah; I agree with you here.

  2. The Obenson Report said...

    RE #1 It probably is Halle Berry. I can't think of any non-white actress who commands million dollar paychecks. And even Halle's rep might be slipping, since her last 3 or 4 films have been flops. J-Lo hasn't made a film in some time. I know she used to collect 7-figures at one point. I'm sitting here perplexed at the fact that I can't think of many actresses of color to begin with :-( I wonder what Queen Latifah is getting. She's been quite busy lately, both producing and acting, most recently in the currently in release, MAD MONEY, with Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes, which isn't doing too badly. Other than her, can't think of anyone else, whether black, Latino, Asian...

    RE #4: Blame their agents partly - this is usually where they earn their percentages! But I think the sad reality is that these actresses just aren't in positions to demand those kinds of deals - at least from the POV of the studio execs. As always, it's all about the money, unfortunately. A star's box office clout determines how much wiggle room they've got in the executive suites. And most of those male actors have been proven consistent box-office successes, while the women haven't all been as lucky. But one could certainly argue that the women haven't really been given the opportunity in the first place. As it is in most of corporate America, on average, men make more money than women. Not because they are any better; it's just all thanks to a long history of sexism and misogyny that's plagued humanity since forever. Same goes for blacks compared to whites - there's a definite discrepancy. So, Hollywood simply reflects the larger politic. Will the scales ever balance all around? Who knows? Would be nice though :o)

    RE #5: Yeah, please do start with the bloggers! I don't need that much - a cool million will last me a lifetime :o)

  3. Jake said...

    I don't think that this is sexist at all. Does a huge salary disparity still exist between men and women in the workplace in other professions? Absolutely. But consider that this is the entertainment business, that people are going to be paid based on the amount of money that people pay to see them. Julia Roberts is the only one on this list who has proven that she can consistently draw droves of fans to the multiplexes. Other than that, all of the other actresses have bombed just as many times as they have struck box office gold. Many of the actors, on the other hand, guarantee $100 million hits based solely on their billing, even if the films are mediocre. Why actresses are not bigger box office draws bewilders me, but as it is, men generate much more money. Therefore, they should be getting the bigger checks. That is all.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Penelope Cruz, though she hasn't been making many movies lately, is still a very successful Hispanic actress. There is one for the list.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Eddie Murphy earns quite ALOT OF CASH

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