Are They Worth It?: Forbes’ 10 Highest Paid Actors


With the release of Forbes’ Annual Top 10 Hollywood Actors list, Dustin breaks down the list and tries to figure out who’s really worth the money they’re making.

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Just a quick note before we get started here: no, no one really “deserves” to make like $50+ million in a single year. But in Hollywood where value is inflated and celebrities and influencers make more money than doctors, nurses, and other high-risk jobs, it’s no secret even to most actors that they’re overpaid and ridiculously fortunate. My approach to reconciling this (as I also do with pro athletes) is this: “if someone is willing to pay them that amount of money for something, given how much money they’re probably going to generate, then by all means get out there and get your bag.”

Now, with that elephant addressed, let’s get into this Top 10.

10. Jackie Chan: $40 million

Is He Worth It: I Think So
A quick search online has informed me that Jackie Chan had two documentaries and three theatrical released films in 2019. None of them prominently released or promoted in the United States but all three of which made absolutely bananas amounts of money in China and other overseas markets. There’s no arguing with Jackie Chan when it comes to anything. The man is a martial arts legend and will deserve every penny he gets for as long as he feels like working.

9. Adam Sandler: $41 million

Is He Worth It: Sure
To be fair, whatever you think of the Sandman is going to inform how much you think he’s worth. But in 2019 he was one of the biggest Oscar snubs for his electrical role in the Safdie Brothers’ anxiety attack disguised as a movie, “Uncut Gems”. He also had “Murder Mystery”, another hit movie as a part of his massive deal with Netflix that was one of the most-watched things on Netflix of the year. Oh, and he had this viral video leak of him absolutely clowning dudes in pickup basketball games. Love him or hate him, you gotta respect the Sandman.

8. Will Smith: $44.5 million

Is He Worth It: Unfortunately, Probably Not.
Big Willie Style had a busy 2019 for him but unfortunately that didn’t translate to busy movie theaters. I legitimately don’t know anyone who’s actually seen “Gemini Man”, the “Looper”-looking flop from Smith & director Ang Lee which seemed to come and go before I even had the chance to consider buying a ticket. “Spies in Disguise” fared much better at the box office but was also an animated movie where Will played a super spy who gets turned into a pigeon by brainy sidekick Tom Holland. I actually did see that one and it wasn’t bad. My girlfriend and I enjoyed it and Will was charismatic and played to his strengths a bit more than he has lately. But like, I don’t know if that accounts for a $44 million deposit is all I’m saying.

7. Lin-Manuel Miranda: $45.5 million

Is He Worth It: Honestly, He Might Be Worth More
2019 was a relatively minor year for the “Hamilton” creator but it’s very clear that the multi-hyphenate creative is going to continue to expand his reach and influence until he becomes his own media empire. Maybe that’s hyperbolic but since “Hamilton” dropped on Disney Plus while we have all been under quarantine, it’s become very clear to me that his reach is literally every single person in the world. He made everyone care more about the Founding Fathers in a two-week span then in like the last 300 years. Pay the man.

6. Akshay Kumar: $48.5 million

Is He Worth It: I Have No Idea. Google Tells Me Yes Though.
I mean that too, I’ve never heard his name but quick online research tells me that this dude is absolutely owns Bollywood. Four movies last year that all did very well and it appears that he has three more bangers that are yet to be released due to the current state of the world but it’s safe to assume that those are going to continue to help him add to his pile of accolades, awards, and probably money.

5. Vin Diesel: $54 million

We here at Hefferbrew are very big fans of Mr. Vincent Diesel and will never slander his good name with talk of does he deserve the money he makes. He appeared as Groot in “Avengers: Endgame”, which is also the highest grossest movie of all time. You can’t tell me that those two things aren’t related. People want their movies Diesel powered and Vin knows exactly what the hell that means. Does “Bloodshot”, his movie from earlier this year, make any sense at all? No not really. Does Vin Diesel rampage through and kill dozens of people in fits of action movie rage? You’re damn right he does. Vin isn’t making movies for accolades, he’s for the people. And lest we forget, we would’ve all seen “Fast & Furious 9” like three months ago if it wasn’t for Covid-19 and we all know that would’ve probably made enough money to sink a continent under its’ weight. Safe to say he’ll be back on this list next year.
Salud mi familia.

4. Ben Affleck: $55 million

Is He Worth It: Slightly Overpaid
Be honest: do you realize that from 2019-2020 Ben Affleck has had four movies? Weird right? He cameoed in the almost unwatchable “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”, went full special ops in Netflix’s “Triple Frontier”, double-dipped with Netflix by appearing in “the Last Thing He Wanted”, and capped it all off with a much better received performance than anyone expected in “the Way Back” where he played a burnout, alcoholic who seeks redemption as coach to a group of young basketball players.

That’s versatility right there. Also he’s probably going to park his ass right here on this list because he’s got two more movies in the pike and the highly anticipated Snyder Cut of “Justice League” coming between now and the summer of 2021.

3. Mark Wahlberg: $58 million

Is He Worth It: Would You Really Tell Him to His Face That He’s Not?
$58 million is a whole lot of cash but Mark Wahlberg has had a pretty diverse 2020 thus far. His Netflix movie, “Spenser Confidential” is apparently one of the three most-watched Netflix movies ever and he appeared as Blue Falcon in the updated “Scoob!”, which everyone I know that’s seen it has told me is surprisingly solid and entertaining. Wahlberg is one of the savviest actors in Hollywood and is always enterprising and networking and seems to know exactly what moves to make so it’s fitting he’d collect a fat bag with Netflix for delivering his typical type of action movie, and then run straight to the bank with that “Scoob!” money.

2. Ryan Reynolds: $71.5 million

Is He Worth It: Sounds About Right
Since 2017’s “Deadpool” flipped superhero movies on their head, Reynolds has been on an unbelievable hot streak as he essentially just plays different versions of himself (wise-cracking, sarcastic, quippy) across a kaleidoscope of different movies and genres. In 2019 he had a very memorable cameo in “Hobbs & Shaw” alongside the Rock (we’re getting to Dwayne in a second) and then earlier this year, Netflix took the restricter plate off of Michael Bay and the result was “6 Underground”, with Reynolds leading the way through one of the most insane Michael Bay movies ever (and that’s saying something). The jump from Wahlberg’s $58M to Reynolds’ $71.5M is a bit surprising but still, if I had to choose between Reynolds and Wahlberg, I’m going Reynolds almost every single time and that’s where he earns the difference.

  1. Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson: $87.5 million

Is He Worth It: He’s Worth So Much More
There are so many things that one could say about Dwayne Johnson and why he’s worth every single penny but instead just look at the three movies he released in 2019:

  • Cameo in “Fighting with My Family” (movie that he also produced)
  • “Hobbs & Shaw”
  • “Jumanji: the Next Level”

If you told 8 year old me with my Rock t-shirt on that one day he’d be the literal biggest movie star/celebrity/personality on the planet, I would’ve just been shocked that he wasn’t still WWE Champion while doing it all. I will see everything the Rock does. Movies, shows, whatever he wants (even saw “Baywatch” in theaters opening week). Covid might have robbed us of this summer’s “Jungle Cruise” where the Rock will team with Emily Blunt in a movie it seems that was ripped straight from my daydreams, but when that does come out and Johnson’s other big movie “Red Notice” (also starring Ryan Reynolds) hits Netflix, it’s safe to assume that he will be at or near the top of this list once again next year. Because the millions (aaaannnd millions) will always open their wallets for the Great One. And movie studios can’t pay enough for that kind of relationship.

Any surprises on this list? Anyone on here that you don’t think is quite worth their coin? Who did you think would be in the Top 10? Let us know in the comments section or follow along on Twitter.

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