Here are the 10 highest paid actors of 2022 – Tom Cruise tops the list from the mega millions he raked in from Top Gun: Maverick. Surprisingly, Will Smith beat everyone else on the list.

Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Chris Hemsworth all made millions in 2022 from film gigs, but who made the most? Photos: AFP; @leonardodicaprio, @chrishemsworth/Instagram; Getty Images


Everyone knows that Hollywood movie stars make some of the world’s biggest pay cheques. But not all actors show the same standard of talent and some can make much more than others when factoring in pulling power.

This year has been a lucrative one for showbiz veterans like Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt with new films, while Joaquin Phoenix’s critically-acclaimed role in the Joker (2019) has given him a financial booster for the film’s upcoming sequel.

So, as we near year-end, which actor got paid the biggest bucks in 2022, based on Variety’s estimations?

Joaquin Phoenix poses at the premiere of Joker at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in September 2019. Photo: Reuters

10. Joaquin Phoenix – US$20 million
Starring in Joker 2
The 48-year-old American actor was signed by Warner Bros to play the dark and tortured character of Arthur Fleck, aka DC Comics’ Joker villain.

Joaquin Phoenix in the film Joker, a heartfelt reinterpretation of Joker. Photo: TNS

Variety reported that he was paid US$4.5 million for the 2019 film, but he’s since proven his worth as it went on to earn over US$1 billion at the box office, accounting for his new US$20 million pay cheque for the Joker 2, which he’ll star in alongside Lady Gaga.

Tom Hardy is a British actor famous for starring in Guy Ritchie’s films. Photo: @tom.hardy.legacy/Instagram

9. Tom Hardy – US$20 million
Starring in Venom 3
Known for his early roles in films like RocknRolla (2008) and Inception (2010), Hardy hit the money jackpot when he landed the lead gig for Marvel’s Venom franchise. The British actor, 45, reportedly made US$20 million for re-signing the Disney-produced character for its upcoming third movie.

Vin Diesel also earns millions with the Fast and Furious franchise. Photo: @vindiesel/Instagram

8. Vin Diesel – US$20 million
Starring in Fast X
Fast and Furious fans will be delighted to know that the action mega franchise is making yet another film (the 11th one), with Vin Diesel raking in US$20 million for his reprised role.

Chris Hemsworth is one of the faces of Hugo Boss. Photo: @chrishemsworth/Instagram

7. Chris Hemsworth – US$20 million
Starring in Extraction 2
When Chris Hemsworth first joined the Marvel clan to play Thor, he was still an up and coming actor, but the 39-year-old has watched his salary skyrocket in the last decade from US$122,000 to a whopping US$18 million for the most recent instalment, per The Indian Express. The hunky Aussie is clearly well sought-after as Netflix paid him US$20 million for his Extraction 2 film.

Actor Will Ferrell arrives at a premiere in Los Angeles, in March 2012. Photo: AP Photo

6. Will Ferrell – US$20 million
Starring in Spirited
Funnyman Ferrell may be known for his comedic roles, but the 55-year-old Californian has stacked up a serious net worth and his US$20 million Spirited pay cheque only confirms it.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson arrives at the People’s Choice Awards in December 2021, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Photo: AP

5. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – US$22.5 million
Starring in Black Adam
This multi-hyphenated star went from one mean wrestler to one of the highest-paid movie stars in Hollywood.

Dwayne Johnson in a scene from Black Adam. Photo: AP

For the actor’s first superhero role, he was paid a hefty US$22.5 million sum to play DC Comics’ Black Adam. The 50-year-old gets extra millions by promoting the film on his social media with his Instagram account, boasting 350 million fans alone, per Insider.

Brad Pitt attends the Bullet Train photo call at Corinthia London on July 20, in London, England. Photo: Getty Images

4. Brad Pitt – US$30 million
Starring in a Formula 1 drama (title TBC)
Pitt’s long-time career in the industry has seen his salary stream come in at a consistently high number. For his latest gig after Bullet Train, the 58-year-old actor-producer has locked in an exclusive negotiation of US$30 million. Deadline confirms that Pitt will act as a veteran Formula One driver in a fictional film with Apple Studios. The to-be-revealed title is based on a script written by Top Gun: Maverick’s Ehren Kruger and will also star seven-time F1 champ Lewis Hamilton.

US actor Leonardo DiCaprio speaks onstage at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement in Central Park in New York. Photo: AFP

3. Leonardo DiCaprio – US$30 million
Starring in Killers of the Flower Moon
DiCaprio’s roster of critically acclaimed films, including Shutter Island (2010), Django Unchained (2012) and Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019) has earned him some handsome pay cheques over the years.

The 48-year-old’s next film Killers of the Flower Moon paid him US$30 million and stars Robert De Niro, with a screenplay by Martin Scorsese. The historical drama is based on the 1920s Osage tribe murders, which famously became the FBI’s first major homicide case, per History.com.

US actor Will Smith reacts after winning the Oscar for best actor for King Richard during the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on March 27. Photo: EPA-EFE

2. Will Smith – US$35 million
Starring in Emancipation
Smith infamously made headlines earlier this year for slapping Chris Rock on national television at the Oscars, leaving many fans and critics wondering if the 54-year-old’s film career would ever be the same after.
According to the BBC, his latest release Emancipation received generally positive reviews and may be his saving grace back into Hollywood. The film reportedly paid US$35 million for his role and is set in the 1860s following the life of a slave.

Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick. Photo: TNS

1. Tom Cruise – US$100 million
Starring in Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun’s sequel, released over three decades since its first one, passed over US$1.37 billion at the global box office in August, reports Collider.

Tom Cruise stars in Top Gun’s sequel, released earlier this year – Top Gun: Maverick. Photo: TNS

But Cruise’s initial pay cheque was a “mere” US$13 million when he signed up, per Insider.

The 60-year-old added to that number by signing a package that ensures the actor/producer gets a cut from the blockbuster’s total income earned from ticket sales and streaming revenues, per British media. And so, making nearly 10 times over what he started with, pre-film-release, Cruise’s 2022 earnings accumulate to a whopping US$100 million, making him the highest-paid actor of the year.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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