I keep telling you, Hollywood is going to make Kristen Stewart out to be the next Angelina Jolie. Megan Fox’s attempts were a bust. Zoe Saldana was a non-starter. But Kristen has the staying power, and she incites controversy and fan flame-wars like no one else save Angelina. And now Kristen is even taking over one of Angelina’s old positions: that of “the highest-paid actress in Hollywood.” Forbes released their list of “Highest Paid Actresses” yesterday, and Kristen is positioned at the top – above such actresses as (in descending order): Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock, Angelina, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Meryl Streep, Kristen Wiig, and Jennifer Aniston. Incidentally, Kristen is the only actress on the Top Ten who is under the age of 30. It’s a brand new Hollywood (except not really)!
Studios are notoriously stingy when it comes to paying young actors for the first film in a planned franchise. Forget about the $10 million they would have had to shell out to get a big name — an up-and-comer is lucky to get $800,000. That changes dramatically when it comes to the third and fourth films in a series. Suddenly, the star becomes indispensable and the studio has to pay up. That’s why Kristen Stewart has vaulted to the top of our annual list of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.
At this point, could anyone else play Bella Swan in Twilight? Probably not; if the studio tried to switch in another actress, fans would revolt. So for the last two Twilight films, Stewart has been able to demand an estimated $12.5 million per film, plus a share of the profits.
Her two co-stars, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, get paid the same, but Stewart earned more than them this year because of Snow White and the Huntsman. Stewart’s earnings between May 2011 and May 2012 totaled $34.5 million, helping her rank 43rd on our Celebrity 100 list. (The list measures a combination of money and fame.)
At 22, Stewart is the youngest woman on our list by 16 years. The next youngest is Kristen Wiig who is 38. Last year Stewart ranked 5th on our list of the Highest-Paid Actresses tied with Julia Roberts. This year Roberts ranked 6th.
Women are still paid less than men in the movie business. The 10 actresses who make up our list earned a total $200 million compared to the $361 million brought in by our top 10 men. To determine who the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood are, we considered upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements and advertising work. We talked to manager, agents, lawyers and other in-the-know folks to come up with our estimates. We did not deduct for things like agent fees or the expenses related to being a celebrity.
Damn, that’s a lot of money per lip-bite and eye-roll! Still, I’m kind of surprised that Kristen’s flat-rate for the Breaking Dawn films was only $12.5 million – which is probably why she’s making so much more in the backend. Other stars might have asked for the money upfront, in a flat-out payment of $20 million or even $25 million for the sequels. But Kristen must have a really smart business manager to get a backend deal, because everyone knew after Twilight and New Moon that the franchise was only going to expand even further. Anyway… I’m kind of proud of Kristen. I’m glad that such a young woman is having such success in Hollywood, and that success hasn’t made her a total mess.
Photos courtesy of WENN.