The 20 Richest Actors of Modern Times, Some of Which Turned Out to Be Dark Horses

10 months ago

Cinema is considered to be one of the main kinds of art, and it is also a very profitable business. Some movies surprise us not just with the plot or acting but also by the number of zeros in their “budget“ and ”gross" columns. Of course, we agree that every single person should be paid for their hard work, but some actors make much more money than others. And many of them earn money outside the world of cinema.

Bright Side invites you to take a look at the list of today’s richest actors. Of course, all figures are approximate. Only the people on the list know the real figures.

20. Robert Downey Jr.— $250 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Gothika, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Sherlock Holmes, the Marvel franchise (Iron Man, The Avengers).
  • It seems that Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist the best, which is why he is always on the Forbes lists as one of the most well-paid actors.

19. Mia Wasikowska — $275 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Crimson Peak, Maps to the Stars.
  • Alice in Wonderland grossed $1 billion worldwide, which directly affected the financial situation of the actress. Mia is financially literate and increases her fortune by investing in shares.

18. The Olsen Twins — $300 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Passport to Paris, It Takes Two, New York Minute.
  • Acting hasn’t been particularly profitable for the sisters for a while. However, they have successfully developed their own chain of cosmetics, which they produce and sell. By the way, another of the Olsen sisters is also a star of the big screen.

17. Will Smith — $300 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Bad Boys, Men in Black, Wild Wild West, I Am Legend.
  • Will Smith demonstrates multidimensional acting skills...and high profits. 10 years ago, he already had 10 successive movies that grossed more than $100 million in the US. He recently started working with Netflix, and this collaboration will probably increase his fortune dramatically.

16. Arnold Schwarzenegger — $300 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, The Expendables. Do we really need to explain who this man is?
  • Schwarzenegger is not just an ideal combination of strength, charisma, and manly charms but also a famous politician and businessman. It may have been the career break that didn’t allow him to make even more money, but he seems to be doing just fine.

15. Jessica Alba — $340 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Sin City, Fantastic Four, Mechanic: Resurrection.
  • Jessica Alba has much more in her life than her movie career. She is a co-founder of a very successful company that produces nontoxic products. Her share is estimated to be around $200-$250 million. It’s quite surprising that Jessica stays economical and practical when shopping.

14. Jackie Chan — $350 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Rumble in the Bronx, Rush Hour, Kung Fu Panda (he has more than 100 movies in total).
  • This guru of martial arts and owner of an Honorary Oscar has seen very good profits for almost all of his movies. In 2017, he spent a huge amount of money on an expensive yacht, manufactured specially for him by Chinese masters. According to Chan, it wasn’t just a whim but a "prop" for his future movies.

13. Adam Sandler — $350 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, Click, Just Go With It, Grown Ups.
  • This man, who loves showing up wearing shorts on the red carpet, is one of the richest actors in Hollywood. Even with the low ratings of his latest works, Sandler is doing very well, and it’s all about a great deal he made with Netflix.

12. Keanu Reeves — $350 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Point Break, Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix, Constantine, The Lake House, John Wick.
  • Reeves’s rich biography includes dozens of really memorable roles. The secret of his wealth is simple: Reeves has a very stable income, and he lives a simple life. A huge part of the money the actor makes is donated to charity.

11. Clint Eastwood — $370 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Dirty Harry, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, Sully.
  • He is the idol of our grandmothers, our mothers, and even us. It has been almost half a century since this brilliant cowboy took part in westerns, action movies, and dramas. He also shoots movies. They are not always financially successful, but they won him 4 Oscars.

10. Sylvester Stallone — $400 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Rocky, Rambo, The Expendables, Guardians of the Galaxy, Judge Dredd.
  • He’s the world’s best boxer, according to movie fans, and the all-time competitor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone made his fortune as an actor and director. But even here we can’t avoid comparing him to Schwarzenegger: the most valuable thing Stallone has are his wonderful daughters.

9. Bill Cosby — $400 million

  • Most financially successful movies: I Spy, The Cosby Show, Jack, Cosby.
  • In the ’60s, Cosby became the first black actor to play a role in a drama series. The role in I Spy is probably his biggest achievement. He created his own producing empire, which made TV shows and earned him millions of dollars.

8. Jack Nicholson — $400 million

  • Most financially successful movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining, Batman, As Good as It Gets, The Bucket List.
  • Even with his tremendous charisma and 3 Oscars, Nicholson isn’t the richest person. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t been in many movies lately. Maybe it’s because he’s always been a fan of buying pieces of art. One way or another, very few people know how he lives these days as the actor doesn’t appear in movies or at parties.

7. Tyler Perry — $400 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Daddy’s Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, For Colored Girls.
  • Tyler Perry writes scripts, directs movies, and often plays the leading roles. His distinctive feature is that he makes low-budget movies that almost always earn great money. This is how he earned millions of dollars and built his own media empire.

6. Mel Gibson — $400 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or director): Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Maverick, Braveheart, What Women Want, Hacksaw Ridge.
  • One of his first movies, Mad Max, was super successful ($100 million at the box office with a $350,000 budget). Since then, Gibson’s career and his earnings went up. The actor loves spending money, and he owns an entire island in the Pacific Ocean that he bought for $15 million.

5. Johnny Depp — $440 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Donnie Brasco, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Tourist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland.
  • Depp started his career in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). After 25 years, Depp’s earnings for his roles as The Hatter and Jack Sparrow are over $100 million. In total, movies with Johnny Depp have grossed more than $8 billion worldwide.

4. Tom Hanks — $470 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or producer): Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Da Vinci Code, Bridge of Spies, Sully.
  • At the end of the ’90s, it took Tom Hanks just 5-6 years to play not only good roles but some cult ones. He won 2 consecutive (!) Oscars and started producing his own projects.

3. Tom Cruise — $480 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or producer): Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Jerry Maguire, Mission: Impossible, Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai, Valkyrie.
  • "Forever young" Tom Cruise is often the center of media attention when it comes to money and actors’ fees. It is believed that he earns money not just for himself but also for the Scientology Church. However, haters often forget that sometimes Cruise had to work for very little money.

2. Shah Rukh Khan — $550 million

  • Most financially successful movies (as an actor and/or producer): The Big-Hearted Will Take Away the Bride, The Heart Is Crazy, Chennai Express, Trust me, I Am Here, Veer-Zaara.
  • Shah Rukh Khan is called the "Bollywood King" for a reason. He started his movie career at the beginning of the ’90s and has been in more than 50 movies. However, movies are not the only source of the actor’s income: he takes part in many ads and has worked with Pepsi and Nokia. Khan owns his own producing company and a successful cricket team in the Indian Premier League.

1. Jerry Seinfeld — $860 million

  • Most financially successful movies: Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, 30 Rock.
  • Seinfeld started his career as a stand-up comedian in the clubs of New York in the ’70s. In 1989, he created Seinfeld. The show ran for 9 seasons, and more than 75 million people watch its finale. During the last season, the actor received $1 million for each episode. Seinfeld’s other projects are also profitable — he produces many movies and performs on stage.

Who surprised you the most from this list? Tell us in the comment section below!

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And is a lauded actress, with much substantive work under her belt, and not just 1 film like Michael Jordan, or cameos like Kanye and trump.

And noticeably missing also are Larry David (equivalent to Seinfeld with more acting work under his belt), Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey—all of which have multiple, lauded film roles under their belts.


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