Hollywood's Biggest Movie Stars Salaries, From Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to Jennifer Lawrence

The movie industry may be changing rapidly, but A-list stars are still paid exorbitantly for their [...]

The movie industry may be changing rapidly, but A-list stars are still paid exorbitantly for their roles, whether they air on the big screen or on a streaming service. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the trend of major motion pictures going straight to streaming instead of theaters, leading to some confusion and misinterpretations about how the money is made and disbursed. A new report by Variety gives us a glimpse of all that money.

Even as the film industry trends towards streaming, there are some huge stars that seem as wealthy and influential as the stars of the last generation — including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Daniel Craig and the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe crew. According to Variety, these stars can sometimes actually make more money when their projects go straight to streaming than they would have with a traditional release. In other cases, the payday might be the same — and we now have some insight about which streamers pay the best, and why.

(Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

For reference, a long-standing industry standard has been to pay the headlining star of a movie about $20 million for their work on the film. That rule reportedly holds true to this day, though of course, it is on a sliding scale depending on the scope of the movie. In the old theatrical system, stars would then earn more on the back-end via ticket sales, and perhaps even more if they had negotiated a piece of the home release sales or merchandising.

To entice stars in the modern age, streamers are reportedly trying to simulate that back-end payout and give it to the stars upfront. For example, Variety reports that Netflix is paying Daniel Craig $100 million for the two sequels to Knives Out. This was negotiated based on estimates of what the movie would have made in a more traditional setting and is drawn from the actual sale of Netflix subscriptions based on how much value executives think the movies will add to the service.

As you can tell, those factors are not quite as cut and dry and are harder to judge from a distance. However, Streamers keep extremely close track of their viewers' activity, so it may be that their metrics can really tell them how much a star like Craig is worth.

With those examples in mind, here are some more numbers to go with the names you know and love. Dwayne Johnson is reportedly making $30 million upfront for Amazon Studios' Red One, with the possibility of up to $50 million when the contract is finalized. Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly making $25 million to start for Don't Look Up at Netflix, while her co-star Leonardo DiCaprio is making $30 million. Netflix is also paying Ryan Gosling $20 million for The Gray Man, and paying Julia Roberts $25 million for Leave the World Behind.

Interestingly, Disney is reportedly paying Chris Hemsworth $20 million upfront for Thor: Love and Thunder, though it is not clear if this deal was changed after Scarlett Johansson launched her lawsuit against the company for putting Black Widow on the streaming service factoring her in. Other numbers are out there for public consumption, though some are fluid and subject to change.

Many critics and industry analysts say that these paydays can't go on — back in 2019, producer Armando Iannucci kicked off an ongoing conversation about when the "streaming bubble" will "burst," wreaking havoc on the precarious economic system emerging in the entertainment industry. There is some disagreement about whether that day is coming and what it might look like, but for now we can all continue to wallow in jealousy of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.