American films

Jackie Chan is the fifth highest-paid actor in the world; George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson top Forbes list

Hong Kong actor, 64, appeared in six films in the course of the year, whereas Clooney didn’t appear in any but earned five times as much; actresses’ earnings still trail those of actors, with the top 10 women taking home US$562 million less than the top 10 male stars

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2018, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2018, 1:32pm

George Clooney may be taking a hiatus from the big screen, but he’s still cashing in.

The 57-year-old ranks as the highest-paid actor of the year, according to Forbes’ 2018 list of top male earners, which was released on Wednesday.

Clooney took in US$239 million in pre-tax earnings, thanks to a lucrative business venture, endorsements and older movies. The extra money should come in handy taking care of his one-year-old twins, Ella and Alexander, with wife Amal Alamuddin Clooney. The highest paid Asian star was Jackie Chan, in fifth place.

The new dad claimed the top spot despite not starring in a hit movie during the 12 months to June 1, 2018 covered in the Forbes study. The annual ranking tallies on-screen and off-screen earnings.

Clooney sold his Casamigos Tequila company to British liquor giant Diageo last June for US$700 million upfront with a potential to earn US$300 million in the next decade, Forbes reported. Clooney, who founded the company in 2013 with Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, took home US$233 million during the sale.

Trailing close behind at No. 2 is Dwayne Johnson. The 46-year-old raked in US$124 million pre-tax, “the largest ever acting take-home from front-of-camera roles in Celebrity 100 history”, Forbes said.

During that time, Johnson played a soldier turned primatologist in Rampage and an archaeologist explorer in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle , which proved to be his biggest salary bump.

Johnson’s huge social media following (113 million on Instagram) helped him pad his wallet, allowing him to nearly double his earnings through promotion.

“Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me,” Johnson told Forbes. “I have established a social media equity with an audience around the world that there’s a value in what I’m delivering to them.”

After the top two, the other highest earning actors are:

3. Robert Downey Jnr, 53, scored US$81 million from his portrayal of snarky Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War .

4. Chris Hemsworth, 36, pocketed US$64.5 million as Thor in Marvel movies, including Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.

5. Jackie Chan, 64, earned US$45.5 million after starring in six movies in 2017, including The Lego Ninjago Movie . His earnings also included money from endorsements and his own cinema chain in China.

The top-ten highest paid actors made US$748.5 million combined last year.

Despite equal pay becoming a pressing issue in Hollywood, Forbes’ 10 top-paid actresses only made US$186 million in the same period, a whopping US$562.5 million gap from their male counterparts.