Variety has published a list of the top earning celebrities for 2019 and Martin Lawrence is sitting pretty at the big boys’ (and girls, and Tommy Girl’s) table. And no, I’m not talking about that Martin Lawrence, I’m talking about original recipe Martin Lawrence. Thanks to his Bad Boys For Life co-star Will Smith, Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence out-earned Academy Award nominees Jessica Chastain and Joaquin Phoenix. The three-time Kid’s Choice nominee was paid $6 million for reprising his role in the Bad Boys 3-sequel. I guess that creepy genie really can make wishes come true!
Because he chose to go to bed with Netflix, Mr. Blake Lively, aka Ryan Reynolds, topped the list earning $27 million for Six Underground, “a Michael Bay film about a billionaire-financed vigilante squad”. It sounds atrocious, but it pays the bills. Oakland booties don’t feed themselves. Variety says that stars making deals with Netflix get paid more than stars who rely on measly studio salaries. At least up front.
The streaming service is bolstering pay packages for the most famous actors in the business at a time when studios are getting downright stingy about writing generous checks.
Netflix salaries come with one big caveat. The stars don’t share in any upside. Even if customers love a movie, stream it ad nauseam and encourage their friends to check it out, actors’ take-home pay stays the same.
Will Smith will likely score $35 million from Netflix in exchange for reprising his role as a wisecracking cop in “Bright 2.”
Will got $17 million for Bad Boys so even if the genie is granting Martin’s wishes, he’s keeping the bottle for himself. But $17 million is barely a grain of sand compared to what he would normally get for a studio film. He took a pay cut to get the project off the ground. That’s apparently what kept Tom Cruise from topping (stop it) the list. He’s only getting $12-$14 million for Top Gun: Maverick. He’s doing it in service of his passionate love affair with speed.
Here’s the full list of the 17 stars Variety says have collected the most coin in 2019 (presumably, to date), and for which projects.
Jessica Chastain $2.5M for It: Chapter 2 – Warner Bros.
Joaquin Phoenix $4.5M for Joker – WB
Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence $6M for Bad Boys for Life – Sony
Kristen Stewart $7M for Charlie’s Angels – Sony
Ben Affleck $8M for Triple Frontier – Netflix
Idris Elba $8M for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes and Shaw – Universal
Margot Robbie $9-10M for Birds of Prey – WB
Leonardo Di Caprio $10M for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – Sony
Gal Gadot $10M for Wonder Woman 1984 – WB
Brad Pitt $10M for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – Sony
Emily Blunt $12-13M for A Quiet Place 2 – Paramount
Tom Cruise $12-14M for Top Gun: Maverick – Paramount
Jason Statham $13M for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes & Shaw – Universal
Will Smith $17M for Bad Boys for Life – Sony
Robert Downey Jr. $20M for The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle – Universal
Dwayne Johnson $20M for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes & Shaw – Universal
Detective Pikachu $27M for Six Underground – Netflix