These Are the Highest-Earning Movie and TV Roles of All Time

The number of women on this list is very short.

Since the Times Up movement, everyone is after Hollywood to create a fair and safe work environment for all women and men—including equal pay. And while we might not complain about the salaries (because that's a lot of zeros), it's not about the amount—it's about how work is valued. Ahead, the 30 highest-earning people for a single role in a movie or TV series—please notice the lack there of female actresses.

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Getty ImagesNBC
Kelsey Grammer

Movie/TV Show: Fraiser
Paid: $250,000/episode

Grammer was making this amount by the show's third season, which was considerably higher than his co-stars.

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2 of 30
Getty ImagesABC
Ellen Pompeo

Movie/TV Show: Grey's Anatomy
Paid: $750,000/episode

Pompeo just signed on to do seasons 15 and 16 of Shonda Rhimes' hit drama TV series, and in doing so, just became the highest-paid TV actress—in large part thanks to her own negotiation. She's opened up about her salary to empower other women to fight for what they're worth too.

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3 of 30
Getty ImagesFox
Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Harry Shearer, and Yeardley Smith

Movie/TV Show: The Simpsons
Paid: $400,000/episode

The cast took a pay cut in 2011 to keep the longest-running show in America going.

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Getty ImagesCBS
Ashton Kutcher

Movie/TV Show: Two and a Half Men
Paid: $750,000/episode

That shakes out to be roughly $34,000 per minute.

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Getty ImagesNBC
David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow

Movie/TV Show: Friends
Paid: $1 million/episode

When the show first premiered in 1994, the friends were all paid just over $20,000 per episode. As it became a beloved, fan-favorite show, the actors each received a 5000% raise, making $1 million each per episode by the time the show ended in 2004.

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CBS
John Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

Movie/TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Paid: $1 million/episode

The leading cast proposed a three-year deal at $1 million per episode and got it.

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Getty ImagesNBC
Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser

Movie/TV Show: Mad About You
Paid: $1 million/episode

According to their contracts, the duo had to be paid equally. (And it was just announced that there will be a series revival!)

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Getty ImagesNBC
Jerry Seinfeld

Movie/TV Show: Seinfeld
Paid: $1.5 million/episode

Seinfeld took home roughly $267 million to portray himself on TV. Not a bad gig if you ask us.

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Getty Images
Mark Walhberg

Movie/TV Show: All the Money in the World (reshoots)
Paid: $1.5 million

Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot scenes after Kevin Spacey was dropped from the movie after the sexual allegations brought against him. He was making 1,500 percent more than his co-star Michelle Williams.

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Getty ImagesCBS
Charlie Sheen

Movie/TV Show: Two and a Half Men
Paid: $1.8 million/episode

Sheen was also paid $2 million/episode for Anger Management, which became the highest amount a TV actor received per episode.

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Walt Disney Pictures
Emma Watson

Movie/TV Show: Beauty and the Beast
Paid: $14 million

Her role as Belle in Disney's live-action version of Beauty and the Beast put her in the rankings for Forbes' highest-paid actresses.

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20th Century Fox
Angelina Jolie

Movie/TV Show: Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Paid: $20 million

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is Jolie's highest paying movie role to date. Her role in Maleficent was just $5 million short at a salary of $15 million.

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Getty ImagesShowtime
Michael C. Hall

Movie/TV Show: Dexter
Paid: $20 million for seasons 6 and 7

Though he asked to be paid $24 million, Showtime countered with an offer of $20 million, sparking a feud that almost ended the show.

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Summit Entertainment
Emma Stone

Movie/TV Show: La La Land
Paid: $26 million

Stone became Forbes' highest-paid actress of 2017.

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Warner Bros
Brad Pitt

Movie/TV Show: Oceans Eleven
Paid: $30 million

This is the most Pitt has made for a single role in a movie.

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Getty ImagesABC
Tim Allen

Movie/TV Show: Home Improvement
Paid: $35 million for 28 episodes

Allen was in high-demand at the end of the series and accepted this extremely high salary to play Tim Taylor for the last season.

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Walt Disney Pictures
Robert Downing Jr.

Movie/TV Show: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Paid: $40 million

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Warner Bros
Daniel Radcliffe

Movie/TV Show: Harry Potter
Paid: $50 million for the final two movies

According to reports, Radcliffe made a combined $29 million from the first four movies. So, $25 million for each of the last two movies seems fair—though in comparison the Harry Potter franchise is worth $25 billion.

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Warner Bros
Leonardo DiCaprio

Movie/TV Show: Inception
Paid: $59 million

This was surprisingly the most money DiCaprio made from one movie.

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Warner Bros
Emma Watson

Movie/TV Show: Harry Potter movies
Paid: $60 million

Her earnings from the hit movies are far less than those of Daniel Radcliffe.

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Getty ImagesWarner Bros
Jack Nicholson

Movie/TV Show: Batman
Paid: $60 million

Nicholson started at a mere $6 million for the movie, but the terms of his contract bumped up his total earnings to $60 million. Obviously, he did something right.

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Paramount Pictures
Harrison Ford

Movie/TV Show: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Paid: $65 million

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Sandra Bullock

Movie/TV Show: Gravity
Paid: $70 million

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Getty ImagesParamount Pictures
Tom Hanks

Movie/TV Show: Forrest Gump
Paid: $70 million

This was the biggest payday in Hanks' career.

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Getty ImagesColumbia Pictures
Will Smith

Movie/TV Show: Men in Black
Paid: $100 milion

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Paramount Pictures
Tom Cruise

Movie/TV Show: War of the Worlds
Paid: $100 million

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Getty ImagesBuena Vista Pictures
Bruce Willis

Movie/TV Show: The Sixth Sense
Paid: $120 million

Along with accepting a $14 million deal for the picture, Willis negotiated "a deal wherein he received a percentage of the gross and home video profits of the film." Since the movie was a 2000s hit, it brought Willis a lot of money.

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Walt Disney Pictures
Johnny Depp

Movie/TV Show: Pirates of the Caribbean
Paid: $185 million

Depp didn't have to loot for treasure in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, as he brought in $185 million for the first four movies.

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Warner Bros
Keanu Reeves

Movie/TV Show: The Matrix trilogy
Paid: $262 million

Reeves received a $126,000,000 paycheck for Matrix Reloaded—marked as the largest paycheck an actor has received from a single movie.

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Getty ImagesParamount Pictures
Tom Cruise

Movie/TV Show: Mission: Impossible
Paid: $290 million

Thanks to his role as Ethan Hunt, and the popularity of the Impossible franchise, Cruise has quite literally been “cruising” smoothly through life. Making nearly $75,000,000 per movie, Cruise’s salary is expected to raise yet again, with the newest Mission:Impossible movie set to release in 2018.

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