Tom Cruise – $290 million for Mission: Impossible I, II, III and IV
He hasn’t produced box office gold in a very long time, but Cruise is still one of the wealthiest actors in Tinsel Town and is No.1 on the Top 20 list. That’s because the actor is a smart cookie when taking a percentage of his movies’ gross profits – especially the Mission: Impossible franchise. Spearheading a production company that optioned the film rights and produced each one means that Cruise made a combined $290 million for his efforts
Keanu Reeves – $262 million for The Matrix I, II and III
Reeves has been a rare presence at the cinema in recent years, but maybe it’s because with the money he earned from The Matrix films, he doesn’t need to work another day in his life again! The actor reportedly received a $10 million paycheck (plus 10 percent of the gross revenue) for the first film and $15 million (and 15 points) each for the sequels. Considering that the first movie alone earned $460 million worldwide, it’s easy to see how Reeves eventually took home a combined $262 million for playing Neo in the hugely popular film series.
Johnny Depp – $185 million for Pirates of the Caribbean I, II, III and IV; $40 million for Alice in Wonderland
Depp appears twice on Celebrity Net Worth’s Top 20 list – at No.3 and No.18. That’s because he made a combined $185 million for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movies and could reportedly get, potentially, $95 million to make the fifth installment, for which he would also get a cut of box office receipts PLUS merchandise and DVD sales.
Tom Cruise – $100 million from War of the Worlds
Yes, Cruise appears on the list twice, also sitting pretty at No. 5. His work on the 2005 film War of the Worlds apparently added $100 million to his already impressive fortune.
Will Smith – $100 million for Men in Black 3; $54 million for Bad Boys II; $44 million for Men in Black II
This actor gives a whole new meaning to the term “triple threat.” Once box office gold who could do no wrong, Smith appears on the highest paid actors’ list three times at No.6 (for Men in Black 3), No.13 (for Bad Boys II) and No.15 (for Men in Black II). It clearly pays to be Mr. Smith!
Sandra Bullock – $77 million for Gravity
The lone woman on this list of men, Bullock earned more than just a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work in the movie Gravity. She may have missed out on the 2014 Academy Award to Cate Blanchett but she pocketed $77 million once her salary and her percentage were totted up too.
Tom Hanks – $70 million for Forrest Gump
Life is like a box of chocolates for the man who played Forrest Gump in this 1994 movie classic. Not only did he win his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for this role, he also earned $70 million. That’s because, when the production was going over budget, Hanks returned half of his $10 million paycheck in exchange for a 10 percent share of the movie’s gross revenue.
Harrison Ford – $65 million for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
While he nurses his broken ankle in the U.K. Ford can be comforted by this thought: Back in 2008 he walked away with $65 million for returning to the role of Indiana Jones for the fourth time.
Jack Nicholson – $60 million from Batman
Nicholson was laughing all the way to the bank after he played the Joker in 1989’s Batman. He took a cut in his then standard $10 million paycheck – earning just $6 million in salary – in exchange for a big slice of the movie’s revenues. The result? When the film made $411 million, Nichlson took home $60 million.
Adam Sandler – $60 million for Anger Management
Nicholson’s co-star in Anger Management also made $60 million for striking a smart deal. He padded his $20 million paycheck with a 25 percent cut of this film’s gross revenue.
Leonardo DiCaprio – $59 million for Inception; $40 million for Titanic
Consider this: If DiCaprio only worked twice between 1996 and 2010 he would have made close to $100 million. That is the combined total that he accrued for his work in Titanic and Inception.
Robert Downey Jr. – $50 million for The Avengers
Clearly playing a superhero pays. Downey Jr. struck a deal that brought him $50 million for playing Iron Man in the 2012 film The Avengers.
Tom Hanks – $40 million for Saving Private Ryan
Four years after striking the sweet deal that brought him $70 million for Forrest Gump, Hanks earned $40 million for the movie Saving Private Ryan.
Denzel Washington – $40 million for American Gangster
New York drug dealer Frank Lucas may have made his money through a life of crime. But by portraying him in the movie American Gangster, Washington made big bucks – 40 million of them – the legal way.
Jim Carrey – $30 million for Yes Man
Rubber-faced Jim Carrey is last on the Top 20 list of the highest paid actors in Hollywood of all time. But with $30 million in his back pocket for his performance in Yes Man, we’re sure he’s not complaining!