• Ed Gaines

The Biggest Movie Stars’ Salaries

Daniel Craig topped Variety's list of the biggest movie star salaries topping $100 million.

The list, published Wednesday, includes 17 of the highest recent film star salaries and shows other A-listers like Dwayne Johnson, Will Smith and Denzel Washington earning salaries in the mid eight-figures, while Jenifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts were tied for the highest-paid female actors.

A heavy contributor to the expanding salaries is the rise of streaming releases, in which stars negotiate for higher up-front payments to make up for tiered payments based on theatrical ticket sales.

Craig is joining the Netflix fold after the streaming service acquired a second and third film in the "Knives Out" series, which began with the acclaimed 2019 film. Netflix is reportedly shelling out $450 million on two sequels, and the new list indicates that $100 million alone is going to Craig for starring in both movies.

Dwayne Johnson is being paid $50 million for the Amazon action film "Red One".

Most high-profile actors' contracts now have tiered salaries, with multiple bonuses being paid out when their films reach various benchmarks at the box office.

Most streaming release have limited theatrical release, or none at all, so actors have to be paid higher salaries up front to entice them.

Will Smith's salary for the upcoming biopic "King Richard", about Venus and Serena Williams' father Richard Williams, jumped to $40 million after Warner Bros. decided to release the film simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

Denzel Washington's salary on the serial killer thriller "The Little Things" was also raised to $40 million to include his projected backend payments.

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