Published: August 20, 2015
Highest-Paid Actress?, Though it may seem like inevitable, obvious news, this is actually the first year Jennifer Lawrence has topped the annual Forbes Highest-Paid Actresses List. The odds are unquestionably in her favor.
The Oscar-winning 25-year-old with two lucrative franchises-Hunger Games and X-Men-to her name earned a whopping $52 million pre-tax over 12 months to top the list. Behind her by only $16.5 million is Scarlett Johansson, in second place with $35.5 million. The presence of both Black Widow and Mystique actresses on the top of this list proves what we already knew: it pays to slap on the superhero spandex. (Or, in Lawrence’s case, the superhero spackle.)
But beyond ScarJo and J.Law, the list gets a bit more unexpected. Thanks, in part, to lucrative endorsement deals, the usual suspects like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and Reese Witherspoon come in pretty high, but ranked above them in third place is comedy juggernaut Melissa McCarthy. The actress may rank even higher next year thanks to her newly launched clothing line, but Variety reports that McCarthy vehicles have become hugely popular around the world, with Spy and Tammy grossing a combined $335 million worldwide. Spy, in particular, offered McCarthy the opportunity to be as glamorous as any of her fellow actresses on the list while delivering both the punches and punch lines that have made her such a global phenomenon.
But speaking of global phenomenons, there’s one more surprise on the Forbes list. Chinese actress Bingbing Fan comes in at No. 4, having earned $21 million over 12 months. Though Fan may have gained some attention from American audiences for her brief role in X-Men: Days of Future Past, her massive salary is almost entirely comprised of earnings from the booming Chinese movie market. (Fan’s popularity with Asian audiences landed her a flashy cameo in the controversial Chinese cut of 2013’s Iron Man 3.) The ever-growing international audience made its mark on the 2015 Forbes Highest-Paid Actors list as well with China’s Jackie Chan ($50 million) coming in right behind Robert Downey Jr. ($80 million) and Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan (both at $33.5 million) tying for seventh place.
As for Hollywood’s infamous wage gap, there’s still about a $30 million difference between the highest-paid actress, Lawrence, and the highest-paid actor, Downey Jr. But recent salary negotiations prove that Lawrence is hard at work closing that gap. The gents better look out, this girl is on fire.
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