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I had to take a triple take at the Forbes list of highest-paid actors in the last year. Only two of the top five names are what I would consider “serious” actors, and I only like one. Apparently, I am not with the majority on this one. The highest paid-actor is who I would have named the most annoying, or perhaps “most likely to still be living off his heyday reputation.” However, the undisputed winner is none other than recent birthday boy, Mr. Tom Cruise.
Cruise not only won, he wasted the competition. His earnings of $75 million in the past year nearly doubled those of second place earner Leonardo DiCaprio, who made $38 million.
How did Cruise do it? Primarily, he scored huge on his latest film in the Mission: Impossible franchise, which he was lucky (and smart, apparently) enough to score back in 1996. The fourth installment of the series, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol grossed an amazing $700 million worldwide, with a sizable chunk going to Cruise. It is his biggest commercial success to date.
The original Mission: Impossible in 1996 was also Cruise’s first time producing. Mission: Impossible II, directed by John Woo, came out in 2000 and grossed $547 million worldwide. Cruise received an MTV movie award for Best Male Lead Actor for his continued role as spy Ethan Hunt. Mission: Impossible III came out in 2006 and grossed $400 million worldwide.
Perhaps the biggest reason to scratch your head today is the fact that second place Leonardo DiCaprio and third place Adam Sandler are separated only by $1 million, while some sites are reporting they actually tied for second. What?!
I am a big Adam Sandler fan, don’t get me wrong; I even own his comedy albums from long ago, but what on earth is he doing so far up on the highest paid actors list? We’re talking about the same actor who set a record this year for winning the most Razzie awards (ten) ever at one time. His movie Jack and Jill swept all categories! “Razzie” is short for the Golden Raspberry Awards, which is a faux awards show (usually on the eve of the Oscars) that names the worst in film.
Claiming the fourth spot on the Forbes list is another surprise, Dwayne Johnson, who you might know better as The Rock from his World Wrestling Entertainment days. Johnson is also not far behind Sandler and DiCaprio with total earnings of $36 million this past year. Rounding out the top five is Ben Stiller with an annual income of $33 million.
It would appear that comedic actors are in high demand these days. Hmm, that may explain the Tom Cruise win…I find myself laughing at him a lot.