The 30 Highest-Paid Actors in the World

World's Highest-Paid Actors
The 30 stars on Forbes’s annual list of the world's highest-paid actors earned a combined total of $892 million in 2017. But which one earned the most? Click through the gallery to find out. AFP/Getty Images

We've all heard the stories of movie stars and their dizzying salaries. Ridiculous, isn't it, that some people can earn millions for a smile and a wink and few lines read from a script? 

But here's something else: The movie-making business is also the money-making business, and the brightest stars not only earn the biggest bucks, they make them too. Global box office revenue in 2016 was $38 billion and is projected to rise to $50 billion by 2020. People go to the movies to see the megastars. They're worth every dime.

Business magazine Forbes keeps track of the salaries of the Hollywood A-list, basing its calculations on "data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders." Forbes adds: "All figures are pretax and scored between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted."

When the person who ranks 30th on the list is raking in $11.5 million, you get an idea of how profitable an industry it is.

For all that, and as journalist Natalie Robehmed writes, the latest list of Hollywood salaries demonstrated that "a gender pay gap persists in Hollywood." The top 14 earners were men, with only nine women featuring in the top 30. The world's highest paid actress earned an estimated $26 million, according to the list, only slightly more than one-third of what the highest-paid male counterpart earned.

However, the list was published in August 2017, based on figures from the previous year, and Hollywood has been a highly turbulent place since then. Mogul Harvey Weinstein has been exposed and disgraced while the #MeToo and "Time's Up" movements, aimed at fighting sexual harrassment, have gathered pace. Only time will tell whether the efforts to close the gender pay gap, in Hollywood and beyond, will bear fruit.

World's Highest-Paid Actors
Amy Adams is at number 30 on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid actors, with earnings of $11.5 million. John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI
Amy Adams - Arrival
Amy Adams recent releases include Arrival, Nocturnal Animals and Justice League. Paramount Pictures
World's Highest-Paid Actors
29. Julia Roberts earned $12 million. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Julia Roberts - Wonder
Julia Roberts recent releases include Mother's Day, Money Monster and Wonder. Lionsgate
World's Highest-Paid Actors
28. Cate Blanchett earned $12 million. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF
Cate Blanchett - Thor
Cate Blanchett’s recent releases include Song to Song, Thor Ragnarok and Ocean’s 8. Marvel
World's Highest-Paid Actors
27. Mark Ruffalo earned $13 million. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for Disney
Mark Ruffalo - Avengers Infinity War - Marvel
Mark Ruffalo’s recent releases include Now You See Me 2 and Thor Ragnarok. Marvel
World's Highest-Paid Actors
25. Charlize Theron earned $14 million. Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Charlize Theron - Atomic Blond
Charlize Theron’s recent releases include Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious 8. Universal Pictures
World's Highest-Paid Actors
25. Emma Watson earned $14 million. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images