Dwayne Johnson remains the highest paid actor in the world in 2020


Article from Forbes US – Author: Madeline Berg

Many actors have seen their earnings rise this year thanks to Netflix, from Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson to Jackie Chan.


Former Saturday Night Live comedian Adam Sandler peaked in 1998 when he sold $240 million worth of tickets at the domestic box office. Since then, he has not been a box-office draw. Indeed, last year, the only Adam Sandler film to hit theaters was the critical darling Uncut Gems, which grossed only $51 million and for which the actor earned only about $5 million. However, he still made it to number nine on the annual Forbes US highest paid actors list thanks to Netflix. The streaming giant paid Adam Sandler $31 million, or 75 per cent of the actor’s annual earnings, as part of his $250 million contract signed in 2014 for four films. Netflix has streamed more than 2 billion hours featuring one of the public’s favourite actors, leading to a new deal signed in January that would be worth even more than the first.

This year, Netflix’s top ten highest-paid actors earned $545.5 million. Dwayne Johnson topped the list for the second year in a row with $87.5 million, earning $23.5 million for his role as an Interpol agent chasing art thieves in Red Notice, the upcoming Netflix original film. The company also paid $85 million to Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel.

For Netflix, unlike the movies, the secret is not in the box office results, but in the number of monthly subscriptions the company gets. This figure is calculated using Netflix’s proprietary database, including the number of times a film is streamed and the number of repeat viewings, as well as insight into the actors’ social network following.

In addition, Netflix, which has spent more than any other studio on Hollywood’s biggest names, is expected to invest more than $17 billion this year. Apple TV+ is also reportedly planning to invest more than $30 million to snag Ryan Reynolds (#2, $71.5 million) for A Christmas Carol. Similarly, Amazon is reportedly ready to pay $10 million to Akshay Kumar (#6, $48.5 million) for his role in an upcoming TV series.

Mike Bloxham, an entertainment analyst at research firm Magid, referring to the strategies used by studios and TV networks to determine salaries, said: “It’s not really art or science anymore, it’s a real chemistry, and it’s getting stronger and stronger as we go along and more and more data becomes available.


Dwayne Johnson: $87.5 million


The Rock topped the list for the second year in a row, thanks to a $23.5 million check from Netflix for the upcoming film Red Notice, as well as the highly successful Under Armour Line and Project Rock.


Ryan Reynolds: $71.5 million


Netflix’s current golden boy, Ryan Reynolds, has earned over $20 million for Six Underground and Red Notice. In July, Netflix announced that it would be funding a third Ryan Reynolds film, which will undoubtedly mean another eight-figure cheque for the actor.


Mark Wahlberg: $58 million


Mark Wahlberg’s action comedy Spenser Confidential became Netflix’s third most-watched original film. Mark Wahlberg also made millions producing the documentary series McMillions and Wahl Street.


Ben Affleck: $55 million


After a brief hiatus, Ben Affleck returned to the big screen this year, thanks to his roles in Netflix’s The Way Back and The Last Thing He Wanted.


Vin Diesel: $54 million


The F9 star missed out on a big payday this year, as the release date of his film was pushed back to April 2021. He did, however, star as a producer in Netflix’s animated series Fast & Furious Spy Races.

The only Bollywood star on the list, Akshay Kumar is currently working on his first TV series, Amazon Prime’s The End. Most of his money, however, comes from endorsement checks for multiple products such as multi-vitamins.


Lin Manuel Miranda: $45.5 million


Disney acquired the worldwide film rights to the original Broadway production of Hamilton for $75 million this year, putting Lin Manuel Miranda on that list for the first time. Even though Broadway is closed until the end of 2020, the actor can expect another big check next year when the film version of In the Heights comes out.


Will Smith: $44.5 million


Will Smith can still pocket big checks for leading roles, such as his upcoming role in King Richard, in which he plays Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Serena and Venus.


Adam Sandler: $41 million


The comedian has found his place at Netflix. In January, he signed another deal for four new films for Netflix after his film Murder Mystery became one of the most popular films of all time on the platform.


Jackie Chan: $40 million


Six decades into his career, the martial arts star is busier than ever. After making five films last year, the actor is boosting his earnings by millions of dollars through promotional and licensing deals.



Revenue estimates are based on data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office, Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry professionals. All figures represent gross revenues for actors between 1 June 2019 and 1 June 2020. Therefore, agents’ fees (10%), managers’ fees (15%) and lawyers’ fees (5%) are not deducted.

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