Actress Salary Report
Top female stars still command big bucksComplete Women in Entertainment coverage
If Hollywood actresses don't command the same top dollar their male counterparts do -- and they don't -- a quick check of the boxoffice provides plenty of reasons why. Scan the top-grossers of 2009 to date, and it's not until you get to No. 11, Sandra Bullock's "The Proposal," that an A-list female-starrer enters the list.
Because of that, the studios are routinely forcing talent to cut their quotes. "Angelina Jolie and Will Smith are the only two stars who are still getting their price," one insider says.
Actresses who just a few years ago were considered $15 million players are now in flux.
Even such recent Oscar winners as Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet are hard-pressed to cross the $4 million mark. Oddly, veteran Meryl Streep seems a better bet, years after being considered boxoffice poison. Then again, who else could pull off that Julia Child accent?
The reigning boxoffice queen, Jolie earned a mid-$40 million payday, all in, from "Wanted, and her name on the marquee meant that "Changeling" more than doubled its domestic gross overseas. As a result, she's the one actress still commanding top dollar -- as much as $20 million plus a percentage -- for her next two high-octane projects: the dramatic thrillers "Salt" and "The Tourist."
For the twisty romantic spy tale "Duplicity," Roberts commanded more than $15 million -- but the movie came up short, grossing $40 million domestically. To enable her passion project, "Eat, Pray, Love," she's taking a far lower salary, well below $10 million.
On the small screen, Heigl narrowly survived brain surgery on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," but on the big screen her career is healthier than ever. Even before "The Ugly Truth" was released in July, the actress was able to command $12 million each for the action romance "Five Killers" and the more domesticated romance "Life as We Know It."
While her ongoing participation as the voice of Princess Fiona in the "Shrek" movies guarantees her a nice annuity, Diaz's regular fee settled around the $10 million mark for 2008's comedy "What Happens in Vegas" and 2010's "Knight & Day."
Witherspoon re-established her comedy cred with last year's "Four Christmases," for which she unwrapped around $15 million. For her next picture, James L. Brooks' untitled sports tale, she's playing in a similar ballpark.
For sharing screen time with an unruly yellow lab in the holiday hit "Marley & Me," Aniston picked up a $7 million-$8 million fee.
Squaring off against Anne Hathaway in "Bride Wars," Hudson earned around $7 million. Joining the ensemble "Nine" and the upcoming indie drama "The Killer Inside Me" meant taking cuts.
Dollar for dollar, Streep may just be the most reliable investment around. With an asking price in the $7 million-$8 million range, she agreed to about $5 million for "Julie & Julia," sweetened by a first-dollar gross position. Next up, she's the center of a romantic tug-of-war in Nancy Meyers' "It's Complicated."
Bullock's current status is all over the map: She enjoyed the biggest hit of her career when the summer's "The Proposal" did almost $300 million worldwide. But then, less than three months later, "All About Steve" stiffed at just $33.6 million. However, she returned to the hot list again with "The Blind Side."
Adams' career has been steadily building from supporting indie player in "Junebug" to Disney's "Enchanted" to "Doubt" and co-starring status in "Julie & Julia." Playing the rom-com heroine in the Ireland-set "Leap Year," she scored $5 million.
Toplining "The Time Traveler's Wife," McAdams stepped up to $4 million. If "Sherlock Holmes" is a hit, the glory will go to Robert Downey Jr., but she should find herself secure in the $5 million range.