Forbes 100 have revealed the highest paid actor in their history
Forbes has been publishing their highest-paid lists for 20 years now, with each year bringing the news of who's earned the most doing what. The publication recently released their Celebrity 100 list, which chronicles the celebrities who earned the most money in the last year. The highest paid actor among them broke a record for most earnings cashed in from television and movie work ever, and it was (drumroll please)... Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
While Forbes called him "Hollywood’s highest-paid actor", he still only made it to spot number five on the list. George Clooney, on the other hand, came second on the Celebrity 100 list, though his earnings for the year were mainly thanks to the $700 million sale of his tequila company, Casamigos. The Rock's $124 million earnings from June 2017 to June 2018, however, were the "vast majority" from acting royalties.
Yep, the former WWE wrestler who turned to acting almost two decades ago now holds the title of the highest-paid actor in history to his name. According to Forbes, the 46-year-old's massive earnings of the past year are "thanks to giant upfront paychecks and a cut of profits on blockbusters including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."
In the past 15 months, The Rock has starred in five movies, including the Jumanji and Baywatch reboots, the latest Fast and the Furious instalment, Rampage and Skyscraper, which has just opened in cinemas.
"I work extremely hard but never anticipated (in my wildest dreams) I’d become the highest paid actor in Forbes’ history," he wrote in an Instagram post in response to the news. "I don’t have a Harvard MBA, but my business philosophy and acumen has been sharpened over time and thru failure."
The Rock reminisced his early days where he would wrestle for cash before his WWE fame, saying that putting his audience first has always what's guided him through his career.
"My goal when I was wrestling in flea markets for $40bucks per match (well before the bright lights of the @wwe) is still the exact same goal I have today - ALWAYS put my AUDIENCE FIRST.
"I have one boss - the world. Send you home happy, and I’ve done my job. I’m the dude who started w/ $7bucks. I’m grateful to the bone and hungry to the core."
He told Forbes that even though this "audience first" mindset wouldn't win him Oscars, it's what guarantees a crowd-pleasing performance (and as a result, a box office hit). "My wrestling past has informed me in terms of having a real connection with an audience," he said. "It has to be audience first. What does the audience want, and what is the best scenario that we can create that will send them home happy?"
His popularity is (dare I say) what earns him more than his actual acting skills. In addition to acting paychecks, he also negotiates cuts of the films box office profits. On top of that, The Rock is smart enough to sell his phenomenal social media influence on top of his acting salary.
For films like Skyscraper, he'll settle for $20 million in paychecks and film profits, but then also work in a seven-figure social media endorsement fee for every movie he stars in. This means that rather than sashaying the promo money to TV ads or billboards, much of the film's advertising budget goes towards the star and his 110 million social media following.
He's been in the top 10 most-followed Instagram accounts for some time now, hovering around spot eight or nine most days, only just overtaken by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Selena Gomez and Cristiano Ronaldo. Right now, The Rock and Taylor Swift are tied for rank number eight, both with 110 million followers.
"Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me," The Rock said. "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."
Well, he's come a long way, so congratulations are certainly in order.