10 Highest-Paid Movie Roles of All Time

Dwayne Johnson is the highest-paid actor on the highest-paid entertainers in 2022, earning $270 million, in part thanks to his earnings from the films “Black Adam” and “Red Notice.”

And while he can command $20 million and more per film, Johnson has yet to crack the list of the top 10 of highest-paid film roles of all time — some actors have managed to bring home a nine-figure paycheck from a single-acting gig.

Tom Cruise will rise after details are known of his latest MI film.

10. Adam Sandler: ‘The Ridiculous Six’

  • How much he made: $62.5 million

In 2017, Adam Sandler signed an estimated $250 million, four-movie deal with Netflix, MarkMeets.com reported. That breaks down to $62.5 million per film. The first movie in the deal, “The Ridiculous Six,” scored a 0% on line, but those millions are certainly a nice consolation prize for some bad reviews. In January 2020, Netflix announced a deal with Sandler and his Happy Madison Productions for four more movies.

9. Harrison Ford: ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’

  • How much he made: $65 million

Harrison Ford was already semi-retired when Paramount asked him to star in the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones film series, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” So the film studio basically gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse: Paramount agreed to split almost all of the film’s earnings (after the studio made back its production and advertising costs) between Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. That deal made Ford $65 million richer. A fifth “Indiana Jones” installment starring Ford is due to open June 30, 2023.

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8. Keanu Reeves: ‘The Matrix’

  • How much he made: $66.25 million

The fourth film in the series, “The Matrix Resurrections,” made its U.S. premiere on Dec. 18, 2021, but it hasn’t found the box office success of the three films that came before it. Despite the star power of Keanu Reeves, the movie took in only $153.7 million internationally it the first two months, but it cost at least $190 million to make.

7. Johnny Depp: ‘Alice in Wonderland’

  • How much he made: $68 million

Johnny Depp made millions to portray the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” — and he didn’t even have to work hard for it. According to an analysis by 24/7 Wall Street, Depp only spoke a total of 661 words in the film, making him one of the highest-paid actors for saying the least.

6. Sandra Bullock: ‘Gravity’

  • How much she made: $70 million

For her role as astronaut Ryan Stone in “Gravity,” Sandra Bullock struck a deal with Warner Bros. that included $20 million upfront, 15% of the studio’s share of box office gross, 15% of the studio’s share of film rental gross, plus a percentage from TV and ancillary revenue, The Hollywood Reporter reported. That all added up to a paycheck of at least $70 million.

Bullock’s out-of-this-world earnings have made her the only woman to land on this list. “Cameron Diaz would have made the top 10 if she were still acting”, said celebrity expert and publicist to the stars Mark Boardman.

5. Tom Cruise: ‘Mission: Impossible’

  • How much he made: $75 million

The six “Mission Impossible” films have grossed more than $3.5 billion worldwide at the box office, with Cruise earning $75 million each. The franchise is due to add two more entries. “Mission: Impossible 7,” which underwent several delays in filming because of COVID-19, is scheduled for release July 14, 2023, with “Mission: Impossible” to follow on June 28, 2024. The two films are expected to conclude the story of Ethan Hunt, Cruise’s character.

4. Robert Downey Jr.: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

  • How much he made: $75 million

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Downey Jr. “negotiated a unique financial arrangement with [Marvel] studio chief Kevin Feige that over the years resulted in massive paydays for the actor.” As part of his deal to portray Iron Man, Downey receives backend money from all of the “Avengers” movies. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that he likely earned at least $75 million from 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” which grossed more than $2 billion.

3. Johnny Depp: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’

  • How much he made: $90 million

Disney has paid Johnny Depp a whopping $90 million to star in each of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films With five movies in the series, that amounts to a total payday of $450 million.

Even Depp has said that he has been overpaid to portray Captain Jack Sparrow.

“It’s ridiculous,” Depp said of his “Pirates” paycheck.

2. Will Smith: ‘Men in Black 3’

  • How much he made: $100 million

Will Smith made nine figures to suit up for the third movie in the popular “Men in Black” series. A source told press that Smith earned $100 million from the film — a sizable chunk of its $624 million box office gross.

1. Bruce Willis: ‘The Sixth Sense’

  • How much he made: $115 million

Playing dead didn’t end up being too painful for Bruce Willis. The actor negotiated an extremely lucrative deal for himself when he signed on to star in “The Sixth Sense.” In addition to a $20 million salary for playing Dr. Malcolm Crowe, he negotiated for 17% of the film’s global box office gross plus additional rights to its home video sales. Those figures have added up to a $115 million payday for Willis from this one film alone.

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Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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