Forbes just released their highest paid actors of 2020 and shocking absolutely no one, Dwayne The Rock Johnson has held on to his number one spot for the second year in a row. I just learned last year that Forbes factors in endorsement deals including side businesses (well done, Ryan Reynolds), so some of these numbers make more sense. But, DJ, once again, is the highest earner for acting, racking up $23.5M alone for his Netflix film, Red Notice. That’s insane. According to Forbes, Netflix is responsible for one fourth of the money on this list. Does anyone remember when Blockbuster almost killed Netflix as a company? How the tables have turned. Forbes broke down the numbers here:
This year’s 10 top-earning actors collected a combined $545.5 million, more than a quarter of that paid out by Netflix. The streaming giant, in fact, cut $140.5 million worth of checks to six of the top 10. Dwayne Johnson tops the list for the second year in a row with $87.5 million, collecting $23.5 million for his role as an art thief chasing Interpol agent in the upcoming Netflix original film Red Notice. Netflix paid out an additional $85 million to Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel.
The economics of star power are the same for Netflix as they have been for the traditional movie studios: If you draw a crowd, you get top dollar. For Netflix, though, the secret isn’t in the blockbuster box office results but in how many monthly subscriptions it will sign up and retain as a result. That’s a figure that is calculated using Netflix’s treasure trove of proprietary data, including the number of times a film is streamed and the number of repeat viewings, as well as a dash of an actor’s social following.
The influence of streaming companies is accelerating. Netflix, which spent more than any individual studio on Hollywood’s leading men, is expected to invest more than $17 billion on content this year. Apple TV+ is reportedly planning to drop more than $30 million to snag Reynolds (No. 2, $71.5 million) for A Christmas Carol, and Amazon is paying Bollywood’s Akshay Kumar (No. 6. $48.5 million) $10 million for his role in an upcoming television series.
Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around these numbers. It’s almost like it’s too much money. I found the numbers breakdown between the streaming services interesting, mainly because I just never thought the streamers would have those kinds of budgets. Remember, everything they paid for, they did so before lockdown gave them the boost over any theater release. As for the list itself, meh. It’s the same one we keep seeing, action stars get all the money…. along with Adam Sandler. Bollywood star Akshay Kumar is a nice addition as is Mr. Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda (thanks Disney!) . Vin Diesel could technically be the surprise earner this year because he hasn’t really been in anything and COVID pushed his F9 backend earning off until the movie’s release in April 2021. However, he’s getting by on producing credits, which, frankly, is how Wahlberg stayed on the list. Here’s how the top 10 plays out:
Dwayne Johnson $87.5M
Ryan Reynolds $71.5
Mark Wahlberg $58M
Ben Affleck $55M
Vin Diesel $54M
Akshay Kumar $48.5M
Lin-Manuel Miranda $45.5 M
Will Smith $44.5M
Adam Sandler $41M
Jackie Chan: $40M
As always, we’ll have to wait for the highest paid actress list and as always, I’m sure it will be shockingly disappointing in representation and how far it falls behind the men. What I am very interested to see is next year’s list. With everyone’s paycheck on ice due to the filming stoppage, maybe – just maybe – next year this list will be something to talk about.
Photo credit: WENN/Avalon