Forbes' highest earning actress of 2018 wasn't even on the list last year

Forbes' highest earning actress of 2018 wasn't even on the list last year

Each year, Forbes compiles a list of the highest-earning actors based on data cross-referenced from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as special intel from "industry insiders". A few days ago, Forbes released the top ten list for the world's highest-earning actresses and yep... they probably earned a lot more in the past 12 months than you ever will in your lifetime.

The actress who took the number one spot surprisingly didn't feature at all in the top ten last year. This year, it was Scarlett Johansson who earned the most, taking home a breezy $40.5 million. It was reportedly four times what she earned last year, and it's largely thanks to her role as Black Widow in the latest Avengers flick.

It goes to show how successful the superhero franchise films are - which also explains why they keep pumping them out at speeds that are really starting to get alarming. While it's probably not the most esteemed film that Scarlett's worked on, it seems to be the one with the biggest pay-check.

While the 2018 male actor's list hasn't yet been revealed, Scarlett's Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr also featured on the men's top ten last year, earning $48 million thanks to his repeated stints as Iron Man. But even though he earned nearly eight million more than Scarlet, he was only ranked at number six at the men's list. Mark Wahlberg took the top spot with $68M.

Last year, the highest-earning female was Emma Stone, whose $26 million paycheck was largely thanks to La La Land. She was absent from the list this year, as were Emma Watson, Charlize Theron and Amy Adams, who all had spots among the top ten in 2017. None of them made more than the $10 million cut off for the list this year.

The gender pay gap is quite apparent in the entertainment industry, and that's reflected in the number of career opportunities available to women in Hollywood too. A 2016 study found that female characters only make up 28.7 per cent of speaking roles in movies, meaning there are fewer opportunities for women to land big roles with big pay-checks compared to their male co-stars.

Credit: Getty

However, thanks to new production companies like the one that Reese Witherspoon founded, women are beginning to create opportunities for themselves. Reese is at the helm of supporting productions with more female-led parts, as well as getting more women involved in technical production jobs. It's largely thanks to the success of her company, Hello Sunshine, that she landed herself spot number five, earning a total of $16.5 million in the past year.

The full list included familiar names, with (fun fact!) 60 per cent of the highest-earning actresses being older than 40. Here are the top ten female earners in the movies right now:

  1. Scarlett Johansson ($40.5 million)
  2. Angelina Jolie ($28 million)
  3. Jennifer Aniston ($19.5 million)
  4. Jennifer Lawrence ($18 million)
  5. Reese Witherspoon ($16.5 million)
  6. Mila Kunis ($16 million)
  7. Julia Roberts ($13 million)
  8. Cate Blanchett ($12.5 million)
  9. Melissa McCarthy ($12 million)
  10. Gal Gadot ($10 million)

Their earnings include movie and TV show payouts, as well as things like endorsement deals and profits from individual business ventures.