On paper, the movie Gravity seemed like a crazy risk. The effects-heavy movie cost upward of $100 million to produce and instead of comic book heroes duking it out, the film featured one woman floating in space for almost the entire 90-minute running time.
Despite the odds, Gravity turned out to be one of the highest-grossing movies of 2013 bringing in $716 million at the global box office. The film was the rare commercial and critical success. Gravity earned 10 Oscar nomination and won seven gold statues.
Gravity star Sandra Bullock didn’t win for Best Actress this year (though she did in 2010 for The Blind Side) but she did walk away with a ton of money. Thanks mostly to Gravity, Bullock tops our 2014 list of the highest-earnings actress with an estimated $51 million in earnings between June 2013 and June 2014, reports Forbes.
Despite Bullock’s impressive showing, women are still earning less than men in Hollywood. Our ten top earning actors brought in a combined $419 million during our time frame while the top ten actresses brought in just a little over half of that -- $226 million.
Hopefully the women on our list can start to change that as female-led blockbusters bring in just as much money as action films starring men.
The fact that The Hunger Games franchise stars a woman hasn’t stopped fans from spending millions of dollars on the movies. Star Jennifer Lawrence earned less than $1 million upfront for the first movie. Now she’s in a position to demand top dollar for future Hunger Games movies as well as a share of the backend. We estimate that Lawrence earned $34 million between June 2013 and June 2014 ranking her second on our earnings list. Lawrence ranked 12th overall on our Celebrity 100 list which measures a mix of earnings and fame.
To come up with our earnings estimates we talked to agents, producers, lawyers and other in-the-know folks to figure out how much each celebrity earned from entertainment-related work during our 12 month time period. We didn’t deduct for taxes, agent fees or the other costs of being a celebrity.
Ranking third on our list is Jennifer Aniston with $31 million. Thanks to Friends and her endorsement work for products like Aveeno, Aniston can be choosy about her film projects. Lately she’s focused on smaller-budgeted comedies like We’re The Millers and Horrible Bosses. Aniston is usually willing to cut her upfront pay for these movies in return for a chunk of the profits. It’s a strategy that’s paying off. Aniston should continue her streak with Horrible Bosses 2 which is scheduled to hit theaters in November.
With an estimated $19 million in earnings, Gwyneth Paltrow ranks fourth on our earnings list. Though she doesn’t come close to earning Robert Downey Jr. money, the star’s work in Iron Man 3 (the top grossing film of 2013) helped land her high on our list. Paltrow also earns big endorsing Max Factor makeup and Hugo Boss.
Last year’s top earning actress, Angelina Jolie, ties for fifth place on our list with Cameron Diaz. Each actresses earned an estimated $18 million last year. In 2013 Jolie earned an estiamted $33 million. She earned less for our latest list because we had credited her with her large upfront payment for Maleficent last year. She’ll earn more next year thanks to her profit participation on the Disney film which has earned more than $700 million at the box office so far. She’s also well positioned for some kind of Oscar love. Unbroken, which Jolie directed, hits theaters this Christmas.