Just how did the highest paid actresses of 2018 make their money?

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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From Scarlett Johansson to Gal Gadot, we’ve crunched the numbers.

£146 million. That’s how much money the 10 highest paid actresses in the world made between them last financial year according to Forbes annual list.

Scarlett Johansson took the top spot, banking £31.8 million courtesy of her role as Black Widow in the Marvel movies. After her comes Angelina Jolie, whose £22 million earnings can mostly be chalked up to an enormous upfront paycheque to return as the evil witch in Disney’s Maleficent sequel.

Other names on the list this year include the Jennifers Aniston and Lawrence, Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy and Gal Gadot, who came in at number 10. (Forbes uses reported earnings from films, businesses and endorsements as well as bonuses as a result of successful movies to calculate their rich list.)

Disappointingly, not a single black, asian or minority ethnic actress made this year’s rankings.

Gal Gadot makes her first entry on Forbes’ rich list this year thanks to Wonder Woman

Yes, £146 million is a lot of money, and this combined total of the 10 highest paid actresses does represent a 16% increase from last year’s total of £135 million.

But it’s a number that is still dwarfed by the far, far larger totals taken home by men in Hollywood. George Clooney alone made £188 million last financial year – more than the entire top 10 list of actresses made in the same year – thanks to the sale of his tequila company Casamigos. Also bringing home the big bucks is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who earned £97.5 million in 2017 from staring in big-budget releases like Baywatch, Jumanji and July’s Skyscraper.

While we’re very happy for George and Dwayne, and while some of their money was made from side hustles so we can’t entirely blame Hollywood’s infamously sexist pay scale for this disparity, we think the time has come for some women to start earning massive, mindblowing, million-dollar Hollywood paydays. Yes, it’s a ridiculous, first world gender pay gap but it’s one we’d like to see closed nonetheless.

Until then, let’s turn our gaze to how the highest paid actresses in Hollywood made their money last year.

1. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson made her millions in Marvel movies

ScarJo has Marvel to thank for her £31.8 million earnings last year. When the actress signed onto the Marvel cinematic universe back in 2009 as Russian double agent Natasha Romanoff, alias Black Widow, she reportedly negotiated a lucrative deal that would give her not only upfront pay for every Marvel movie but a percentage of each film’s profits, too.

This will come into full effect when the deal for Johansson’s standalone Black Widow movie is finally signed on the dotted line.

According to sources the actress is eyeing a £19.6 million upfront paycheque with a £4.7 million bonus if the film crosses £700 million at the global box office. That £24.3 million combined total would represent the highest an actress has ever been paid for a single movie in the history of Hollywood. Get that money, girl.

2. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie’s on the set of her film In The Land of Blood and Honey

Wait a second, we hear you say, Angelina Jolie wasn’t in any movies last financial year. While that’s strictly speaking true the actress did work behind the scenes as director on Netflix’s Cambodian epic First They Killed My Father and as producer on the Oscar-nominated animated film The Breadwinner.

But it’s the upfront paycheque that Jolie pocketed to don horns and contact lenses in Disney’s Maleficent sequel that nudged her into second place here.

Disney famously offers handsome bonuses for box office wins: that’s how Emma Watson pocketed an estimated £14.1 million for her role in Beauty and the Beast. So if Maleficent 2 makes as much money as the first movie did (£597 million) then Jolie could be in for another boost in earnings next financial year.

3. Jennifer Aniston

Everyone’s favourite Friends heroine made her £15.3 million annual fortune this year through endorsements for brands like Emirates, Smart Water and Aveeno. (She’s also the face of the health condition chronic dry eye.)

The next job to bring in the big bucks will be her starring turn in Apple’s first original series about a female talkshow host. Aniston and co-star (and co-producer) Reese Witherspoon are rumoured to be taking home £982,400 an episode for the duration of the series.

4. Jennifer Lawrence

The second Jen on this list, JLaw made £14.1 million this year thanks to her staring fee for movies including Red Sparrow, mother! and the X-Men prequels, not to mention her ongoing endorsement contract with Dior.

It was a good year, sure, but not Lawrence’s best. She topped Forbes’ list of highest paid actresses in 2016 when she made a whopping £18.8 million in a single year.

5. Reese Witherspoon

Reese has 12.9 million reasons to celebrate right now

Reese Witherspoon isn’t starring in as many movies as she used to, but that doesn’t mean her salary has gone down.

All her successful turns from behind the camera as a producer are netting her the big bucks, and she took home £12.9 million last financial year alone. Next year, like Aniston, her yearly take will only increase. That’s thanks to her rumoured fee of £982,400 an episode on Apple’s talkshow comedy and £785,800 an episode for season two of Big Little Lies.

6. Mila Kunis

Surprised to see Mila Kunis on here? The actress made £12.5 million this year and it’s all thanks to residuals from Family Guy and the huge success of Bad Moms Christmas.

If her new film The Spy Who Dumped Me makes similar money you can expect to see Kunis on Forbes’ rich list next year, too.

7. Julia Roberts

This actress took home £10.2 million this year, a combination of earnings from her cinematic back catalogue, a Lancome endorsement deal and the money garnered from her latest movie Wonder’s box office success.

8. Cate Blanchett

Yes, Cate Blanchett does have longstanding contracts with brands including SK-II and Armani. But her £9.8 million fortune this year is thanks to the actress’ switch to blockbuster popcorn fare such as last year’s Thor: Ragnarok.

And she could take home even more money next year courtesy of the major box office success of her most recent film Ocean’s 8.

9. Melissa McCarthy

All told, Melissa McCarthy is worth £47.1 million, £9.4 million of which she added to her fortune this year alone.

Some of this money came from movies, yes, but McCarthy also has those sweet Gilmore Girls residuals filtering through as well as income from her fashion brand Melissa McCarthy Seven7.

10. Gal Gadot

The first new entry on Forbes’ list, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot’s £7.8 million fortune is a combination of her earnings from the superhero franchise and two shiny new endorsement deals with Revlon and electronics brand ASUS.

Gadot only made £235,692 for Wonder Woman but for the film’s sequel Wonder Woman 1984 she is rumoured to have negotiated a significant and sizeable payrise. As she should! As far as we’re concerned there’s no Wonder Woman without Gal Gadot.

Images: Getty