Salaries of Joaquin Phoenix, Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and More Detailed in New Report on How Much Actors Are Making

Tom Cruise had a huge year thanks to the juggernaut success of 'Top Gun: Maverick.' Here's how his payday compares to what many of his peers are making.

Joaquin Phoenix is seen strutting

Image via Getty/Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Joaquin Phoenix is seen strutting

Todd Phillips confirmed that a sequel to Joker, for which star Joaquin Phoenix won an Oscar, was in development just last month. And in a new report breaking down various actors’ salaries and related film profits, it’s alleged that he’ll be scoring $20 million to reprise the role.

Per a recent report from Variety, Phoenix earned an estimated $4.5 million for his initial turn as the classic DC character in the 2019 critical and commercial hit. But for Joker 2, tentatively titled Folie à Deux (yes—like a certain Lil Wayne-featuring Fall Out Boy album), Phoenix’s return is expected to cost Warner Bros. a reported $20 million.

As noted in a handy rundown included in the salaries-focused piece, Phoenix’s $20-mill haul is on par with a number of fellow actors’ recent paydays. Reported to be bagging the same mount are Denzel Washington for The Equalizer 3, Tom Hardy for another Venom movie, Vin Diesel for Fast X, Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds for Spirited, and more. Up a few notches at $22.5 million is Dwayne Johnson for this October’s Black Adam. Will Smith, meanwhile, is said to stand at $35 million for the upcoming Emancipation. Other upcoming huge paydays include Leonardo DiCaprio’s $30 million for Killers of the Flower Moon, and another $30 million for Brad Pitt, who’s starring in Apple’s upcoming Formula One drama which is still untitled. 

A hefty chunk of the Variety report, available in full here, focuses on the uniquely constructed pay method of Tom Cruise, who has this year enjoyed career-best success with the long-awaited release of the Top Gun sequel. The publication speculates that Cruise, all told, could clear $100 million once the film wraps its mega-successful run, a figure it notes includes the actor’s salary and other clearly-well-negotiated revenue forms.

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But of greater importance than creatively earned dollars, although indeed inspirational, is whether or not the art at the center of these paydays is of the quality fans deserve. In the case of Top Gun: Maverick, the film had the unique advantage of not only proving to be a truly massive box office success, but also a widely acclaimed entry in the larger Cruise catalog that defied the odds as a more-than-worthy sequel.

Whether Joker 2 can manage the same feat, of course, remains to be seen.

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