10 highest-paid roles for Hollywood actresses ever, ranked: from Marvel’s Angelina Jolie in Eternals and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, to Jennifer Aniston in Friends
While pay disparity is still an ongoing issue, with female stars often earning less than their male counterparts, there have been a select few actresses who have snagged huge pay cheques (albeit still a far cry from Craig’s fee) for a single film or TV role – starting with this top 10.
Scarlett Johansson – US$95 million
Meanwhile, she received US$20 million for the Black Widow stand-alone film, which sees her total earnings for a single role jump up to US$95 million.
Sandra Bullock – US$70 million
Sandra Bullock has helped pave the way for actresses to earn higher salaries, earning US$10.5 million for Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) and US$17.5 million for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005). However, those pay bumps are measly compared to her more than US$70 million pay cheque for the box-office hit Gravity (2013).
Bullock received an upfront advance of US$20 million from Warner Bros, with 15 per cent of “first-dollar gross”. According to Celebrity Net Worth, this means that “for every dollar the studio ever received for Gravity, 15 per cent would go to Sandra before any costs for production or marketing were taken out”.
Emma Watson – US$60 million
While Celebrity Net Worth says Emma Watson earned a whopping US$15 million for playing Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, she made more from the eight Harry Potter films that propelled her to stardom. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Watson earned a total of US$60 million for playing fan favourite Hermione Granger.
Cameron Diaz – US$42 million
Cameron Diaz always commands a seven to eight-figure salary, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, she earned a legendary US$42 million as Elizabeth Halsey in the 2011 comedy Bad Teacher. Initially, Diaz was only paid US$1 million, but her contract made sure she would also receive percentages from the film profits. The deal proved to be a smart one as the film made over US$200 million at the box office.
Angelina Jolie – US$35.5 million
Few other actress can command a seven-figure salary upfront like Angelina Jolie (she earned US$20 million for her role in the 2010 film Salt). And Forbes reported that she bagged the vast majority of her US$35.5 million earnings in 2020 from her starring role as Thena in Marvel’s Eternals, making that her biggest pay cheque yet.
Emma Stone – US$26 million
Emma Stone earned a hefty US$26 million for her Oscar-loving La La Land (2016) after back end deals. However, as she keeps on delivering successes at the box office, she may finally receive more for Disney’s Cruella sequel, depending on the deal being struck – after only receiving US$8 million for the first film (still a career high for her at the time), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jennifer Lawrence – US$25 million
After her jaw-dropping US$20 million salary for the action-packed Red Sparrow (2018), Jennifer Lawrence will see a bump in her next pay cheque. According to Screen Rant, she will receive a reported US$25 million for Netflix’s upcoming Don’t Look Up, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep.
Julia Roberts – US$25 million
Another day, another massive Netflix deal for our Hollywood A-listers. Screen Rant reported that Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts earned a whopping US$25 million pay cheque for her upcoming Netflix film Leave the World Behind opposite Denzel Washington. Both actors also served as the film’s producers.
Gal Gadot – US$20 million
Reese Witherspoon – US$20 million
Jennifer Aniston – US$20 million
- Jennifer Lawrence will get US$25 million for Netflix’s Don’t Look Up, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep
- Emma Watson earned US$60 million as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films – but that still doesn’t beat Daniel Craig’s US$100 million for the Knives Out sequels