Dwayne Johnson’s Hollywood Smackdown: World’s Highest-Paid Actor For 2016

Dwayne Johnson has obtained a number of nicknames over the years. In his wrestling career he performed as Flex Kavana and Rocky Maivia before referring to himself in the third person as “The Rock.” He’s had nicknames like “The Brahma Bull,” “The Great One,” and “The People’s Champ.” He established such memorable catchphrases as “Know your role and shut your mouth,” “Lay the Smackdown,” “Finally…The Rock has come back to…(insert city here),” and “If you smell what The Rock is cooking.”

Apparently Forbes magazine smells what he’s cooking: box office supremacy.

Entertaining the millions (and The Rock means millions!) of movie fans worldwide, Johnson delivered the “people’s elbow” to Robert Downey Jr. to become the world’s highest-paid actor. His annual paycheck vaulted to $64.5 million due to upfront fees for movies like Central Intelligence (which now stands at more than $200 million worldwide) and the forthcoming releases Fast 8 and Baywatch. In the movie industry he has acquired the nickname of “Franchise Viagra” due to his ability to boost the profit margins for sequels to The Mummy (which resulted in his own spin-off The Scorpion King), Journey to the Center of the Earth, and of course the Fast and Furious franchise. He even scored a hit with 2015’s earthquake disaster pic San Andreas.


“I can kick ass better than anyone on the planet,” Johnson told FORBES in 2012. “And I have a decent smile.”

In a surprising second is Jackie Chan ($61 million), based on the success of the movies he makes in China. Matt Damon placed third with $55 million mostly due to the success of The Martian last year.

Rounding out the top five were Tom Cruise (No. 4, $53 million) and Johnny Depp (No. 5, $48 million). While both actors have franchise sequels on the horizon with Jack Reacher: Never Back Down and a new Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, they have mixed results outside of established franchises. Depp even took a hit with the box office bomb that was Alice Through the Looking Glass. And with Cruise and Paramount unable to come to a contract agreement with the latest planned sequel in the lucrative Mission: Impossible franchise, that could play havoc with their paychecks next year.

On the other side of the gender spectrum, Jennifer Lawrence was the world’s highest-paid actress with $46 million, which translates to 71% of Johnson’s $64.5 million. The gender pay gap still persists, but the pay disparity of a white actress to male actor is better than that of actresses who are Hispanic or Black.

Combined, the world’s 20 highest-paid actors earned a whopping $703.5 million between June 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016, before management fees and taxes. That’s more than three times the $205 million tallied by the top 10 highest-paid actresses in the same time frame.

For Forbes’ tabulation of actor earnings, the figures were based on data from “Nielsen, BoxOffice Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with agents, managers and lawyers.”


  1. Adele Dickinson

    October 12, 2016 at 11:07 am

    The Rock has come to Raleigh! Love to see this movie.

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