Forbes has revealed its list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses, and while the lack of diversity, and the names on the list are no surprise - there are no less than five Oscar-winners in the top ten, what is interesting is how little of the top earners’ income comes from their craft. Make no mistake, without their celebrity side-hustles they’d all still definitely be millionaires, but without them some of them definitely wouldn’t have hit the $11.5million minimum earnings threshold that makes them eligible for the list. Let’s look at their current rankings and see how they’d really place based on their box office this year.
1. Emma Stone ($26 million)
La La Land gave Emma her largest ever take-home movie paycheque so in our new ranking, she would hold the number one spot. While her average ‘upfront fee’ (her fixed paycheque for taking on a role) is likely to be smaller than say, Jennifer Lawrence (who reportedly earned $15 million for the final instalment of The Hunger Games and topped Forbes's list in 2015 and 2016), chances are she signed up for a ‘back end deal’ (whereby stars are entitled to a percentage of the profits once the film is a success). As La La Land took $445 million worldwide, that’s a pretty impressive result.
2. Jennifer Aniston ($25.5million)
Struggling to remember seeing any Jen movies at the cinema this year? That’s probably because there has only been one – The Yellow Birds. So how is she Forbes's number two? Lucrative deals with Smart Water, Aveeno, Emirates airline, and the gift that just keeps giving, residuals (money made from re-runs) from Friends. But just on 2017 movies? She wouldn't break our top ten.
3. Jennifer Lawrence ($24million)
Considering she earned $46 million in 2016, this is quite the salary drop for J-Law (no, we’re not crying her a river either), so she slipped to number 3 on Forbes's list this year. Her upfront fees for upcoming releases Red Sparrow and mother! are likely to be significantly lower than for blockbusters like The Hunger Games franchise and Passengers (mother!’s entire budget is $13million, less than her fee for Mockingjay - part 2), but her contract with Dior keeps her earnings in the $$$$ zone. However, on films alone, she’s probably no longer a top fiver.
4. Melissa McCarthy ($18million)
Judged on her steady movie work, by our reckoning, Melissa would be a strong second place in our revised list (which is where she placed in Forbes's 2016 list). Her films perform consistently well at the box office, and she’s probably one of the few actors that can entice audiences to a movie on name alone.
5. Mila Kunis ($15.5million)
Like Jennifer Aniston, Mila has been quiet on the movie front this year. A Bad Mom’s Christmas (out November) is her only scheduled project, so she wouldn't necessarily rank in our list of film paydays alone. However, the reason she places so highly on Forbes's list is because she's been the voice of Meg on TV behemoth Family Guy since 1999.
6. Emma Watson ($14million)
Beauty and the Beast alone (the biggest film of the year so far, FYI) has catapulted Emma into this list for the first time, so we’re going to re-position her as our number 3 based on film earnings.
6. Charlize Theron ($14million)
Not just a movie star, but also a producer, this instantly ups Charlize’s movie earnings. And this year she’s gone the blockbuster route, starring in The Fate of the Furious and Atomic Blonde. So while her Dior contract also nets her a tidy sum, let’s bump her up to fourth place.
Cate loves a low-budget indie role, but she also loves a tentpole epic, and as she’s one of the finest actors around, she can pick and choose. This means she dips in and out of Forbes's list depending on whether she’s having a film festival or a blockbuster payday kind of year. With Thor: Ragnarok coming up this year, and Oceans 8 next, expect to see her again in our list (and Forbes's) in 2018.
9. Julia Roberts ($12million)
According to Forbes, income from her older films and a Lancome deal make up the majority of Julia’s 2017 pay packet, so while her fees for Money Monster, Smurfs and Wonder (out later this year) aren’t to be sneezed at, Julia's box office wouldn’t have made the cut.
10. Amy Adams ($11.5 million)
Arrival performed solidly, albeit without breaking any records, but it’s November’s Justice League that will have earned Amy the bulk of her salary. She may have just ‘squeaked in’ to Forbes's $11.5 million entry threshold, but we *think* she’ll be happy with the digits on her 2016/17 P60.