Closing The Gap

The 10 top-earning actresses made almost $300 million less than their male peers this year

Scarlett Johansson attends the World Premiere of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures "Avengers: Endgame" at Los Angeles Convention Center on April 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jeff Kravitz | FilmMagic, Inc | Getty Images

For the second year in a row, Scarlett Johansson is Hollywood's highest-paid actress, having earned $56 million between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019.

According to Forbes' list of the 10 highest-paid actresses of 2019, most of Johannson's earnings come from her role as Black Widow. She was the only woman in "Endgame" granted an eight-figure salary up front, as well as 5% earnings on the back end.

Johannson, along with the other nine actresses on the list, including Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon, earned a collective total of about $315 million over the past year. Though that's a 69% increase from the previous year, Forbes reports that it's still significantly less than the top 10 highest-paid actors, who collectively earned almost $600 million over the same time period.

Dwayne Johnson plays Spencer Strasmore in HBO's "Ballers"
Aaron Davidson | Getty Images

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who tops the list of highest-paid actors, earned $89.4 million between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019. That's roughly $33 million more than Johansson.

As the co-founder of Seven Bucks Production, which he started in 2013, Johnson now has a lot more say in the business dealings of his projects, including HBO's "Ballers" and the "Jumanji" franchise.

For instance, Johnson has negotiated a contract for the upcoming "Jumanji: The Next Level" that will give him an upfront salary of $23.5 million, as well as 15% of the earnings from "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which made $962.1 million in box offices worldwide. On "Ballers," the actor-turned-businessman earns $700,000 per episode.

To close the pay and opportunity gap that women face in Hollywood, several actresses on this year's highest-earning list have also started their own production companies. Witherspoon, who earned $35 million over the past year, launched production company Hello Sunshine more than five years ago to help boost opportunities for women in the industry.

"I started a production company five years ago to create more roles for women onscreen and behind the scenes," she wrote in an essay for Glamour in 2017. "Today I have something like 23 projects in the works driven by great female characters of different ages and races."

One of those projects includes HBO's "Big Little Lies," which Witherspoon produced and stars in alongside Nicole Kidman. According to Forbes, Witherspoon and Kidman each earned $1 million per episode in the show's second season.

Take a look below to see the total earnings of the top 10 highest-paid actresses and actors over the past year. Earnings are pre-tax and fees for agents, managers and lawyers have not been deducted. 

Ellen Pompeo arrives at the 300th episode celebration for ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' held at TAO Hollywood on November 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Tran | Getty Images

Highest-paid actresses:

10. Ellen Pompeo: $22 million

9. Charlize Theron: $23 million

8. Margot Robbie: $23.5 million

7. Elisabeth Moss: $24 million

6. Kaley Cuoco: $25 million

5. Jennifer Aniston: $28 million

4. Nicole Kidman: $34 million

3. Reese Witherspoon: $35 million

2. Sofia Vergara: $44.1 million

1. Scarlett Johansson: $56 million

Actor Will Smith attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'Concussion' during AFI FEST 2015.
Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Highest-paid actors:

10. Will Smith: $35 million

9. Paul Rudd: $41 million

8. Chris Evans: $43.5 million

7. Adam Sandler: $57 million (tie)

6. Bradley Cooper: $57 million (tie)

5. Jackie Chan: $58 million

4. Akshay Kumar: $65 million

3. Robert Downey Jr.: $66 million

2. Chris Hemsworth: $76.4 million

1. Dwayne Johnson: $89.4 million

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