It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time — in the early aughts, circa his brief, largely CGI turn in The Mummy Returns — when it seemed far-fetched that Dwayne Johnson, once upon a time a popular wrestler mostly referred to as The Rock, would cross over into movies. But crossover he did, and at this point it’s hard to imagine blockbusters without him. In fact, he’s so big that Forbes named him the highest paid actor in the world for the second year running — a feat he’s achieved before that, too.
Who beat the sometime Luke Hobbs back in 2018? George Clooney, who made $239 million, albeit not from movies; much of that was his share of the $1 billion purchase of his booze line, Casamigos Tequila. Johnson came in second, with $124 million. (These lists compile total earnings, including non-acting gigs.)
But much has changed in the last two years. (Boy, have they.) Johnson is on top of the list, albeit with a smaller total: $87.5 million, about a third of that from the $23.5 million paycheck who received from Netflix for their forthcoming movie Red Notice. Last year, Johnson made about the same amount — some $89.4 million. Each year’s Forbes list tallies from June 1 of the previous year to June 1 of the next.
Johnson’s career finds him mixing franchises, such as the Fast and/or Furious series (including the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw) and the relatively new Jumanji, with solo one-offs, like Skyscraper and Rampage. He also appeared as himself in the wrestling bio-comedy Fighting with My Family.
As for Johnson’s closest competition, that would be Ryan Reynolds, with $71.5 million, having nabbed $20 million apiece for two Netflix ventures: Michael Bay’s Six Underground and — wouldn’t you know? — Red Notice, opposite Johnson, who got a slightly higher paycheck. Mark Wahlberg is third, with $58 million, Ben Affleck fourth, with $55 million, and Johnson’s occasional co-star Vin Diesel with $54 million.
The top ten is rounded out by Bollywood star Akshay Kumar at number 6 with $48.5 million; Lin-Manuel Miranda, making his Forbes debut at number 7 with $45.5 milion; Will Smith at 8 with $44.5 million; Adam Sandler at 9 with $41 million; and, last but certainly not least, the legendary Jackie Chan, with $40 million. Congrats, gentlemen — and of course, the ones making the most money in this industry are all men.
You can see Forbes’ entire list here.