Forbes List of the 10 Highest Paid Actresses Fails to Include Quotation Marks Around Certain "Actresses"
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Forbes List of the 10 Highest Paid Actresses Fails to Include Quotation Marks Around Certain "Actresses"

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 20, 2012 | Comments ()


The Forbes list of the 10 Richest Actresses has been revealed, and it just goes to show you that, if you bite your lip in just the right way and land the lead role in a franchise in which you can barely disguise your own disdain, one day you too can be the richest actress in America! Meanwhile, the second richest actress in America made most of her money on a back-end deal for a movie in which she played a foul-mouthed sex crazed schoolteacher, while number four earned all of hers in residuals. Number five earned hers the hard way: By putting in great performances on numerous films (Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus and Young Adult.

But where's Jessica Chastain? You'd imagine even if she only made $1,000 per film, she'd have landed in the top ten this year strictly out of prolificacy.

10. Jennifer Aniston -- $11 million

9. Kristen Wiig -- $12 million

8. Meryl Streep -- $12 million

7. Sarah Jessica Parker -- $15 million

6. Julia Roberts -- $16 million

5. Charlize Theron - $18 million

4. Angelina Jolie -- $20 million

3. Sandra Bullock -- $25 million

2. Cameron Diaz -- $34 million

1. Kristen Stewart -- $36 million

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • BierceAmbrose

    "Actress" is not in quotes because it's Forbes, where they are all soulless Gnomes.

    True fact - Gnomes are formalists. If it's called an actress, or paid for the actrissin', it's an actress. They don't do irony.

    I have a developing suspicion that some of the "actresses" on this list are in fact Gnomes, possessed of neither souls nor irony. It all makes sense now.

  • DominaNefret

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to claim that Kristen Stewart isn't a bad actress, I don't actually have enough of a frame of reference to say one way or another, having only seen her in two of the Twilight movies and Panic Room.

    Back in 2008 or 2009, out of morbid curiosity, I decided to read Twilight. I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I got through Twilight and New Moon and couldn't bring myself to go any further.

    Kristen Stewart plays Bella EXACTLY how the character is written in the books. She absolutely nails it. Everyone here keeps saying how horrible she is in the Twilight movies, but the problem is the character, not the performance.

  • e jerry powell

    From a mathematical standpoint, it's interesting (to me, anyway) to note:
    10. Jennifer Aniston - 2 films
    9. Kristen Wiig - 3 films
    8. Meryl Streep - 1 film
    7. Sarah Jessica Parker - 2 films
    6. Julia Roberts - 2 films
    5. Charlize Theron - 2 films (Snow White wasn't released until June 1)
    4. Angelina Jolie - 1 film (Kung Fu Panda 2, can you believe it?)
    3. Sandra Bullock - 1 film
    2. Cameron Diaz - 3 films
    1. Kristen Stewart - 2 films (again, Snow White doesn't count)

    The list looks a little different if we look at salary per film, with Bullock on top.

  • ed newman

    Also interesting: it is not made clear if the May to May timeframe refers to money paid the actresses or if it refers to money made from projects released in that time frame. With backends and residuals the results could be way different. A huge chunk of Aniston's change could be residuals from Friends for all we know. They specifically refer to Stewart's SWATH starring role, so it seems likely that the figures are a measure of what each actress was paid in the time frame, not whether the projects were released in the time frame

    I did read the source article so I am sure of another thing. The figures include all income streams, including back ends, residuals and advertisements. So every watch ad Jolie does in Russia is included in her 20 MM $ estimate.

  • PDamian

    Meh. Almost all of the women on this year's Forbes list have been on that list for the past three years, including Kristen Stewart. The only thing that really changes is the relative positioning. This is the first year Stewart is in first place, but she's been on the list in prior years, usually near the bottom. Two hit films (SWATH and Breaking Dawn) put her at the top, but in past years, Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie have made over $50M, so Stewart's high ranking is not that unusual. The only real change is the disappearance of Renee Witherspoon from the list and the addition of Kristen Wiig -- a positive change, as far as I'm concerned.

  • e jerry powell

    But really, what has Reese Witherspoon done for us lately?

    I mean, besides Water for Elephants and This Means War.

  • e jerry powell

    And yes, Dustin, Chastain was in a shitload of films last year, but let's look at them.
    Take Shelter
    The Tree of Life
    The Help (I'm not assuming she had back-end gross points on that)
    Wilde Salome
    Texas Killing Fields
    and recent release Madagascar 3 (though, as a June release, it doesn't count)

    At $1000 a picture, she'd only have $6000 within the parameters of this list (releases from May 2011 to May 2012).

  • sal

    Well, no one writes articles about Dustin neglecting to include quotation marks around the "Editor" part of his title. Just goes to show that If you have admin access, you too can write stuff without proofreading your own shit!

  • hapl0

    And people wonder why Meryl dresses the way she does.

  • e jerry powell


    Meryl Streep only released one film last year, so that $12 million was her salary for The Iron Lady.

  • Stump

    I was ready to give Kristen the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't as bad an actress as her Twilight character suggested, But SWATH proved she is terrible to a demographic that wouldn't have necessarily watched twilight, Word of mouth will eventually kill her unless she gets better. I refuse to see movies with her as anything other than a smallish part because it is extremely distracting.

  • Pat C

    I liked her as Joan Jett in The Runaways. Maybe you should try that one (although actually I wouldn't bother myself looking for exceptions for actors I don't care for - I wouldn't try to find a decent Adam Sandler movie when there are so many other interesting movies out there I haven't seen yet).

  • rachel612

    She was good in The Runaways. It's a meh film, but she was a high point

  • Stump

    I also saw the Runaways and thought she was ok in it, but seemed to be playing a slight variation of herself. Same with Panic Room. I don't think she's a lead, and she can't really go out of that comfort zone.

  • John G.

    I'm happy to see Kristen Wiig in there. I knew bridesmaids was good for her, but $13 million, right on. It's good to see actual talent get rewarded.

  • Wiig also had to do more to earn that much. I can't tell if they factored in that she wrote the script and co-produced the film, which, in terms of total cash, counts as two additional revenue streams, no?

    Plus, she was in two other films: Friends with Kids and Paul from last year, so that total includes more than just Bridesmaids.

  • John G.

    right, no, I didn't mean she got it all from Bridesmaids. I mean that after that success, it upped what she could ask for.

  • e jerry powell

    Most definitely.

  • I'm not really sure what this is indicative of, given that at one point Julia Roberts was earning $20,000,000 per film (much was made of her "Adam Sandler" negotiation strategy; to wit, at the time Sandler was getting $20 million per picture on the strength of one $100 million grossing film, where to that point Roberts had five).

    Did she just blow a shitwad of cash every other month?

    ETA: Ah, okay, the top earning actresses from May 2011 to May 2012. That makes a difference.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I had the same thought when I read the first sentence and Dustin said it was the 10 Richest Actresses. It's not, but we can cut him some slack on occasion and not point out his faults. Obviously, this is not one of those occasions, but still I am sure that hypothetically we could one day do so.

  • e jerry powell

    I understand your point. But journalistic credibility is a thing, right? As many times as I've read corrections in just The New York Times, we have to assume that there is a standard for factual accuracy in journalism/publishing (Matt Drudge and Fox News notwithstanding).

    And this is not just any discussion group or fan site, this is an ad-funded blog staffed by people who have real live press credentials. There has to be a higher level of expectation, no?

  • Fredo

    The one that surprises me most is Aniston who, let's face it, hasn't been in a movie anyone can call either A) a smash hit or B) great since forever. Who knew the luster of "Friends" would last this long?

    (NOTE: No one bring up "Office Space" because she isn't the reason anyone likes "Office Space". OK?)

  • However, in terms of the list's parameters, she did earn a fair amount between Just Go With It and Horrible Bosses.

  • "Kristen Stewart "

    See, this is why we can't have nice things, America.

  • blackmarket

    Kristen Stewart's habit of lip bitting is only rivaled by every critics/blog writers' use of it to describe her every time they mention her. I suppose her acting may not be inspired, but neither is this reference. Come on, you are better than that.

    And I agree with Slash. I don't begrudge any of these women, and take solace in the fact that both Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron are on the list.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Good point, it does get tedious reading that every. single. time.

  • Almost as tedious as watching it.

  • Slash

    Eh, I don't begrudge any of these people their money. Acting is one of the few jobs in which women can make more money than men (at least in individual movies). So good for Kristen Stewart. If it wasn't her collecting for making crappy vampire movies, it'd be someone else.

  • Not entirely true. There's still significant income disparity between men and women, particularly at the top end of the payscale. I remember that it was a big deal when Demi Moore got $12.5 million for Striptease, and an even bigger deal when Julia Roberts became the first actress to earn $20 million a picture (using Adam Sandler as a bargaining chip, no less). Clearly, as this list indicates, Roberts's asking price has come way down, given that the $16 million from last year was for two films, not one.

  • badkittyuno

    Go Kristen Wiig! I'm weirdly proud.

  • Luke Anthony Matthews

    Say what you want about Kristen Stewart, but from doing those shitty Twilight movies at about 30 million each, she is now set for life! If that was me, I'd be laughing at the hate and walking to the bank to go swim in my money.

  • fpkillkill

    Fuck walking. I'd be taking my helicopter.

  • ,

    Chauffer-driven helicopter, with a state room.

  • to the pouty lip jet!

  • fpkillkill

    with a full bar

  • ed

    and a damn jacuzzi

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    Why is Julia Roberts on this list, has she done anything lately? Or did she save enough money from all the creepy-smiling/vein-throbbing she used to do? Leave K.Stew alone, she's not the one watching those shitwrecks.

  • Julia Roberts: two films in the last year, Miarror Mirror and Larry Crowne. They earned her just enough to land on this list.

  • Nita

    Sandra Bullock??????????!!! wat

  • e jerry powell

    Top earners from May 2011 to May 2012. She's only had one movie released in that time, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, for which she got paid a metric shitload of cash.

  • pajiba

    HARDY HAR! Nice! Making fun of the guy who can't count. DOWNVOTES FOR ALL OF YOU.

  • e jerry powell

    Okay, I'm a whiny so-and-so, but there's a significant detail about the list you left out.

    This list represents what the actresses earned for films released between May 2011 and May 2012, where many people seem to be looking at this as representative of total net worth somehow.

  • branded_redux

    Except that it doesn't represent that. The earning referenced includes upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements and advertising.

    Hence under the listing for SJP they include "But the actress still earns big thanks to reruns of her HBO hit show Sex and the City and her best-selling perfumes like NYC and Lovely."

  • e jerry powell

    Which makes things even starker for SJP, no? $12 million, two movies, she didn't even average $6MM per picture in salary. Not hurting her bank accounts, though. Being less an actress than a brand is good for something. She couldn't have imagined this back in her Patty Greene days.

  • Internet Magpie

    So Tootie and Cinnamon aren't the only ones who need a nap, then?

  • Internet Magpie


    Tootie may need a nap, though. Dealing with Blair and Natalie's shit all day has to be exhausting.

  • Jezzer

    I didn't realize Angelina Jolie was in those movies. You'd think she would've gotten some mention in the trailers. Was she the Huntsman?

  • Utopian

    Can no one read anymore?! It says that Charlize Theron was #5.

  • Jezzer

    The article originally stated "Number FOUR earned hers the hard way" and has since been corrected, which is confirmed in the comment from Pajiba below this. Can no one in Utopia read anymore?

  • Wooot

    Yeah, I noticed the typo earlier. It wouldn't really hurt anyone if someone correct a mistake on an article.

  • Wooot

    Charlize Theron is at number five.

  • Utopian

    What's your point?

  • Wooot

    There was a typo earlier, so I kinda corrected it.

    Previous was "Number four earned hers the hard way..."

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