Hollywood's Highest-Paid Stars: 7 Actors Who Made a Killing on the Big Screen

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While these stars may deservedly be lauded for their top-notch acting, it’s the money made on each move that waters the eyes and drops the jaws.

Keanu Reeves - $125 million

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that Keanu Reeves is one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. It should be said, though, that he donates most of the money he makes to charity. Another interesting factoid about Keanu is that he shared a lion’s share of his pay for the cult classic The Matrix with the special effects team to make sure the CGI in the movie was up to par.

And it proved to be a shrewd long term investment that paid off handsomely: he got $75 million for The Matrix: Revolutions, the third instalment in the franchise, and a cool $125 million for his latest outing as Neo in The Matrix: Resurrections.

Julia Roberts - $25 million dollars

Julia really hit it big in the movies in the 1990s when she appeared in Pretty Woman, a film she received many prestigious awards for. Once she had established herself as an A-lister, she figured she should be compensated accordingly.

When she was approached in the early 2000s with an offer to play the lead in Mona Lisa Smile, she asked for $25 million. The producers agreed and met her numerous other terms and conditions.

Jim Carrey - $35 million

Towards the late 2000s, Jim Carrey was also a big star. He had by then appeared in such iconic titles as The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, How the Grich Stole Crhistmas and many others.

So when he got an offer to play the lead in Yes Man, he said yes for a cool $35 million. Yes Man is a decent effort but the famous Jim Carrey magic was already waning, so it doesn’t compare favourably to his golden age films from the 1990s.

Angelina Jolie - 20 million dollars

In 2010, Angelina Jolie got the biggest salary of her entire career, even though the movie itself didn’t do as well at the box office as her previous blockbusters had done. Angelina got $20 million for her role in Salt.

It doesn’t sound like much compared to the money paid to some of her colleagues but it’s still a great deal and we’re pretty sure Angelina was happy with it.

Tom Cruise - $100 million

After the first Mission Impossible made a killing at the box office, Tom Cruise figured his pay for reprising his role in the series should go up accordingly. So he asked for $75 million per movie and the producers agreed, paying him this amount for each instalment in the franchise.

Tom Cruise, though, believed he could do better than that, so when he got invited to star in War of the Worlds he asked for $100 million and got it, because the film’s creators really wanted him in this film.

Leonardo DiCaprio - $55 million

Leonardo DiCaprio is pretty modest by Hollywood standards: given his track record and accolades, the measly $20 million that he accepts for appearing in a movie sounds like pocket change (especially compared to Tom Cruise’s financial appetites).

He did manage to make a killing off a movie once, though. When he appeared in Inception he signed a deal to get residuals from the movie, i.e. the proceeds from the film being played on TV and DVD sales. In the end, he made a total of $55 million from it.

Johnny Depp - 75 million dollars

Johnny Depp has always been well-compensated, seeing how he’s one of the most important people in Hollywood. There are two cult projects that really stand out, though, not just for their cult status but for how much money Johnny made from them.

In 2010, he got $75 million for playing The Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and the following year he made $56 million for the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which was a little less but still an appreciable sum.