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George Clooney Tops World’s Highest-Paid Actors 2018 List With $239 Million

Forbes ranked the highest-paid actors between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018, and 57-year-old George Clooney topped the list.

It’s been years since the actor had a hit film, but his bank account barely noticed. This is thanks to the up to $1 billion sales of his Casamigos tequila, earning the actor a pretax paycheck of $239 million in the 12-month frame.

George Clooney. Photo: Bankrate


Casamigos was founded in 2013 by actor Clooney, nightlife entrepreneur Rande Gerber and real estate tycoon Mike Meldman. The trio invested $600,000 each and owned equal stakes in the company, according to an inside source.

Last June, British liquor conglomerate Diageo announced it would purchase Casamigos for $700 million upfront with the potential for an extra $300 million over the next decade. For Clooney, that meant an estimated $233 million pretax from Casamigos, plus additional earnings from endorsements and older movies.

Speaking to CNBC when the deal was announced, Clooney said, “If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion-dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes.”

This deal put Clooney ahead of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who made $124 million pretax, ranking second on the highest-paid actors’ list. johnson had the largest ever acting take-home from front-of-camera roles in the history of the list, thanks to giant upfront paychecks and a cut of profits on blockbusters including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Dwayne Johnson on the Rampage set. Photo: Screen Rant

Speaking to Forbes, Johnson said,

“Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me. I have established a social media equity with an audience around the world that there’s a value in what I’m delivering to them.”

Coming in third is Robert Downey Jr, who cashed in $81 million. Downey Jr pocketed $15 million up front for 2017’s limited-screen-time role as Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming and earned several times that amount for Avengers: Infinity War.

His co-star, Chris Hemsworth came in fourth with $64.5 million thanks to his cut from Marvel movies such as Thor: Ragnarok.

Fifth went to Jackie Chan, China’s top film star with $45.5 million thanks to his appearances in six films released in 2017 and a vast array of endorsements, producer credits and his own line of film theatres.

Together, the world’s ten highest-paid actors tallied $748.5 million between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018, before fees and taxes. Their salaries dwarf those of the world’s highest-paid actresses, who earned a cumulative $186 million in the same scoring period.

This gender pay gap was partly due to a shortage of opportunities in long-running franchises or action movies that pay the big bucks both up front and on the back end. According to the 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, women earned 80.5 cents (292.06) for every dollar (362.81) men earned in 2016. That gulf deepens for African-American, Native American and Latina women.

Earnings estimates are based on data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders. All figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted.

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