TV & Film

The World’s Highest Paid Actors and Actresses 2016

San Diego Comic-con 2015

Back in July 2016, Forbes released a list of the world’s 100 highest paid celebrities of 2016. Screen Rant has taken that list and rounded up the top 16 highest paid actors and actresses from it.

Although Taylor Swift topped the overall highest paid celebrities list, there is a clear gender pay gap when it comes to acting with only four women appearing in the top 16 amongst actors and actresses.

Some names are household to many, including the likes of Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr and Tom Cruise, while other may be slightly more obscure.

Without further ado, here are the 16 highest paid actors and actresses of 2016:

16. Brad Pitt (US$31.5 million)

While Brad Pitt hasn’t had a major starring role in recent years, Mr Angelina Jolie has been producing various films and shows including the very successful The Big Short, which was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and made over US$133 million worldwide on a US$28 million budget.

15. Akshay Kumar (US$31.5 million)


A slightly lesser known name to most, Akshay Kumar is a highly successful Bollywood actor, producer and martial artist, appearing in over a hundred Hindi films since the beginning of his career in the 1990s. In fact, Kumar came in 9th last year in the list of highest paid actors. Known as the “Indian Jackie Chan”, Kumar is in fact Canadian and is married to another highly popular celebrity Twinkle Khanna.

14. Melissa McCarthy (US$33 million)


Actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy has seen her roles change over the last couple of years. From mastering the art of comic relief in countless supporting roles, McCarthy has been receiving a fair share of leading roles – some great, others not so – including Identity Thief, Spy and The Boss. While McCarthy has had a rocky year so far with flops such as The Boss and Ghostbusters, she reportedly banked US$14 million from one film alone (Ghostbusters). It’s clear that she’ll be having the last laugh after all.

13. Shah Rukh Khan (US$33 million)

Shah Rukh Khan is one of those names from Bollywood that remain familiar to even those who haven’t watched a Hindi film in their lives. Referred to many as the “King of Bollywood” or simply “King Khan”, Khan has appeared in over 80 films and has been regarded as one of the most successful actors in the world in terms of drawing both audiences and box office revenue. Besides acting, Khan is also a co-founder of a production company and co-owner of an Indian Premier League cricket team.

12. Robert Downey Jr. (US$33 million)

Who doesn’t love Robert Downey Jr? It’s hard not to be on a highest paid list having launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe to where it is today. While no specific salaries are disclosed, reports strongly suggest that RDJ is the highest paid Marvel actor by a very huge mile. In fact, Downey made US$40 million last year from his appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron alone while Chris Evans only made US$6.9 million. This year, Downey’s main sources of income was his appearance in Captain America: Civil War and an HTC endorsement deal worth US$12 million.

11. Vin Diesel (US$35 million)

While you may not normally associate range with Vin Diesel, it hasn’t seem to stop him from raking in the big bucks. As lead actor and producer of the Fast and Furious films, Diesel has made a bankable franchise that will last the years. To top things up, his role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and the new xXx film sums up a tidy US$35 million for the year.

10. Jennifer Lopez (US$39.5 million)


Jennifer Lopez is many things at once but she certainly isn’t lazy. This actor, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer, author and talent show judge has been working her butt off this past year and it’s a surprise she isn’t higher on the list. Besides the US$17.5 million from American Idol judging duties, J. Lo also starred in a TV drama called Shades of Blue, voiced a sabre-tooth tiger in the new Ice Age film and has a Las Vegas show, just to name a few.

9. Sofia Vergara (US$43 million)

The Colombian-American, known to many as Gloria from Modern Family, comes in No. 9 with her $350,000-per-episode pay check from ABC sitcom, as well as lucrative endorsements with Cover Girl and Heads & Shoulders. She also owns her own talent management company and is set to appear in an upcoming heist-comedy The Brits Are Coming, which is currently in post-production.

8. Ben Affleck (US$43 million)

Once shun as the worst casting decision of all time (Batman), Ben Affleck is now the shining light of the DC Extended Universe and he has the paycheck to match. Affleck’s appearance in Batman v Superman alone was reported to make up the bulk of his earnings for the year by having a piece of the box office return as part of his deal. Affleck will also be appearing in an upcoming crime movie The Accountant. 

7. Jennifer Lawrence (US$46 million)

Jennifer Lawrence is not only the seventh highest paid actor but also the highest paid actress on the list, which reiterates the issues surrounding the gender wage gap in Hollywood. Lawrence also happens to be the highest paid amongst the three “superheroes” on the list, above Ben Affleck (Batman) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) from her role as Mystique in the X-Men franchise. Lawrence’s acting range has brought in multiple roles from both action-filled blockbusters to Oscar-worthy dramas, diversifying her sources of income.

6. Johnny Depp (US$48 million)

When Johnny Depp’s not busy making apology videos about smuggling dogs into Australia, he’s busy making money. With Alice Through The Looking Glass performing well internationally and with the new Pirates of the Caribbean filming under wraps, Depp has made a tidy sum of US$48 million.

5. Tom Cruise (US$53 million)

Tom Cruise and superstardom are two words that definitely go well together. Tom Cruise rakes in box office cash like very few can and he does it from his insistence on doing his own stunts as seen in last year’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. In fact, the back-end (portion of the box office return) from that film made up a part of his earnings on top of his role as Jack Reacher in the upcoming sequel out in October.

4. Matt Damon (US$55 million)

Matt Damon has US$10 million up on his Boston buddy Ben Affleck and he has his reprisal of his role as Jason Bourne to thank for. The role alone made Damon US$25 million richer despite the mixed reviews it garnered. Damon will also be starring in a massive period action film The Great Wall, which drops later this year.

3. Jackie Chan (US$61 million)

While we may not have seen Jackie Chan in recent Hollywood films, the martial artist and action star has focused his attention to China, with majority of his films made and released for audiences there. Non-Chinese fans need not fret though as some of his films have received limited released internationally and he’ll be expected to reprise his role as Mr Han in Karate Kid 2.

2. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (US$64.5 million)

Dwayne Johnson has steadily made himself the bankable action star that studios can rely on to either kickstart a franchise or save one from obscurity. He was brought in to rejuvenate the Fast & Furious and GI Joe franchise and will take on the leading role in the upcoming Baywatch reboot. He also makes bank from appearances in WWE and his role on HBO’s Ballers.

1. Kevin Hart (US$87.5 million)

Kevin Hart topping the list of highest paid actors may come as a surprise to many, either because some may not regard his as an actor or because his acting roles have been fairly limited thus far. Screen Rant clarifies that Hart has had a fair share of acting roles, from Ride Along 2 with Ice Cube, to Central Intelligence with Dwayne Johnson and a voice acting role in The Secret Life of Pets. Regarding all that bank he made, well they are mostly made up of his sell out comedy gigs at stadiums and arenas across the US and around the world.


So there you have it, the 16 highest paid actors and actresses in 2016.

Did any surprise you? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Screen Rant

The World’s Highest Paid Actors and Actresses 2016

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