The 2018 highest-paid actors list is out, and George Clooney takes the number one spot. Although the actor has not released a hit movie in the past year, his income hasn’t suffered. The $1 billion purchase of Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila contributed immensely to his wallet, scoring a career high pretax paycheck of $239 million between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018.
Forbes’ annual ranking tallies both onscreen and extracurricular income within the 12-month timeframe. The British liquor conglomerate Diageo announced last June plans to purchase Casamigos for $700 million up front with a possible additional $300 million over the next decade, meaning Clooney would increase his income by an estimated $233 million. Clooney also has additional earnings coming in from endorsements and older movies.
Clooney told CNBC, “If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion-dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” when the deal was announced.
Clooney founded Casamigos in 2013 alongside Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. The trio invested $600,000 apiece and owned equal stakes in the company according to one source close to the business.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came in second on the highest-paid actors list, earning an income of $124 million. Johnson’s enormous upfront paychecks and the cut he received from profits on blockbusters including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, contributed significantly to his income. His large social following also allowed him to squeeze in an extra seven figures on top of his standard contract for promotion.
“Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me,” Johnson told Forbes. “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.”
Ranking number three on the list is Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr., who earned $81 million within the year. Downey cashed in an estimated $15 million from his limited screen-time role in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and several times that amount for Avengers: Infinity War earlier in 2018.
The world’s 10 highest-paid actors together created an income of $748.5 million between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018. The salaries of top-earning male actors blow away those of the world’s highest-paid actresses who only earned $186 million together throughout the same scoring period.