It’s one thing for actresses to make a lot of money for a role. It’s a completely different beast when it comes to how much money these women make the film studios they work with when making a film. Big budget films spend million upon millions to make the best quality film they can, with the best and most high-profile cast members they can afford. Studios know that there are certain names that will bring selling power with them in addition to incredible talent. These are the women who earn their studios the most amount of money.
Diane Lane $1.783 Billion
Actress Diane Lane has been in the film industry since 1981 when she made her film debut in Cattle Annie and Little Britches. Since then the actress has earned studios a total lifetime gross of $1.783 billion. Her top earning film was actually one she did a voice over role for – Inside Out. The other top three are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel and The Perfect Storm. In terms of her most beloved roles, though, that would have to be in films like Under the Tuscan Sun and Nights in Rodanthe.
Jada Pinkett-Smith $1.812 Billion
Jada Pinkett-Smith hasn’t been in many movies throughout her career, but when she appears in one, she makes her presence known. Smith’s most iconic role and the one that is also the top earner is none other than The Matrix Reloaded. The following top grossing films were actually voice roles (she does have a quite an inflection when she speaks, doesn’t she?) – Madagascar 1,2 and 3. Her latest roles were in Bad Moms, Magic Mike XXL, and The Women. Jada always adds lots of spice to the films she is in, making them have much more depth than they would have without her.
Kristen Stewart $1.819 Billion
Kristen Stewart’s highest grossing films and the ones that mainly contributed to her $1.819 billion studio lifetime gross, were the Twilight franchise films based on the beloved book series. Stewart may have grown tired of the series before the end of filming, but it affected her and the studios balance positively, to say the least. Kristen’s other major earners were Snow White and the Huntsman and Panic Room. Kristen likes to stick to the independent film genre, which means that the incoming return on the film’s expenses are not high and are not meant to be, her preference is for under the radar artistic films.
Judi Dench $1.824 Billion
Dame Judi Dench’s first major motion picture was in 1985 in the film Wetherby. Her accumulated studio gross sits pretty at $1.824 billion. It was her role as M in the James Bond film Skyfall that earned the studio the most. The other three Bond films followed in terms of box office success. Dench’s most recent roles were in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Spectacular Children, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Philomena.
Gwyneth Paltrow $1.833 Billion
Gwyneth Paltrow, daughter of fellow actress Blythe Danner, was practically born into the film community. Paltrow’s most famous role was in the film Shakespeare in Love, a film Paltrow won a Golden Globe, Academy Award and SAG Award for. Although Shakespeare in Love was her most critically acclaimed role, her highest grossing one is actually in the Iron Man films. Most recently, Paltrow has been in films like Mortdecai and Contagion, as well as focusing on her company GOOP.
Halle Berry $1.856 Billion
Berry is an Academy Award-winning actress for her role in the film Monster’s Ball. Her major financial contribution to studios has to be with the film X-Men: The Last Stand. Berry played the role of mutant Storm in the films. Halle’s other top-grossing film was Die aNother Day and The Flinstones of all films. Her legendary role as Cat Woman in the film of the same name came in as the 14th top-grossing film she has been in.
Kristen Wiig $1.918 Billion
Kristen Wiig is famous for her Saturday Night Live skits and some seriously snort laughing moments. Her voice over role in Despicable Me 2 is her highest grossing film date, along with The Martian, How to Train Your Dragon and Bridesmaids. Wiig’s SNL sketches are where she truly shines, though, as her comedic timing and originality work very much in her favor.
Kirsten Dunst $1.927 Billion
In a not-so-surprising turn of events, Kirsten Dunst’s highest grossing film that she participated in is Spider-Man. The top films that contributed to her $1.927 billion gross for film studios include the Academy Award nominated film, Hidden Figures, one of her first films, Interview with the Vampire, Jumanji, and her cheerleader role in Bring It On. Despite having the blonde girl next door look, Dunst was able to transform into each of her roles which were vastly different and required complete internal shifts.
Queen Latifah $1.934 Billion
Queen Latifah has played roles that were serious, comedic, and at times ridiculous. However, she has always portrayed her character with integrity and total dedication. The highest grossing film she has been a part of is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, followed by Ice Age: The Meltdown, Chicago, and Bringing Down the House. In the Ice Age films, it was obviously her voice role that made the impression. We personally loved her most in The Last Holiday and Taxi.
Julianne Moore $1.973 Billion
Julianne Moore will always be the woman who made the T-Rex come to the camp site in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It’s her role as President Coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 that were the highest grossing films she has ever been in; Jurassic Park follows in third place to those films. Her most recent film that made a huge splash with audiences and critics alike is the film Still Alice, in which Moore plays a linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers Disease.
Meryl Streep $2.038 Billion
Streep is one of the most respected and beloved actresses in Hollywood to date. Her film career has surpassed most other actors and her award count is through the roof. The top grossing films that Streep has been in may surprise you because they are not the ones that she won any award for or much critical acclaim. The highest grossing film is Mamma Mia!, followed by Into the Woods, The Devil Wears Prada, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. These films were very high budget and targeted at the mainstream and millennial public, making a killing at the box office.
Sally Field $2.075 Billion
Sally Field’s most beloved role is also the one that grossed the most amount of money for Paramount Studios – Forrest Gump; the 1994 film currently stands at a lifetime gross of $330 million. Field’s other hit films (financially speaking) are The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Lincoln. Field is an Academy Award-winning actress for her role in Norma Rae as well as another Oscar for her role in Places in the Heart. Other films that made Field a household name, that didn’t necessarily make a lot of money, are Not Without My Daughter and Steel Magnolias.
Natalie Portman $2.077 Billion
Natalie Portman won an Academy Award for her role in the dance inspired film, Black Swan. When it comes to the film that she was in that made the studio the most amount of money, that would have to be Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Rounding off the top three are the other two Star Wars Episodes completing Fox’s top three earning films. Portman’s other successful films, which is the reason she has an accumulated lifetime gross for studios of $2.077 billion, are the Thor films and Black Swan.
Michelle Rodriguez $2.097 Billion
Michelle is known for her role in the Fast and Furious Films. However, her highest grossing one is none other than Avatar. Any actor who was in that film has that listed as their highest grossing film considering it was the second highest grossing film in cinematic history. Rodriguez’s other roles include S.W.A.T., Resident Evil: Retribution, and Blue Crush; but none of those films made as much as of box office splash as Avatar and Fast and Furious.
Amy Adams $2.126 Billion
Amy Adams has a very wide range in her acting, starring in films that go from dramas to comedies to children’s films. Her top-grossing film for Warner Brothers Studios is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by Man of Steel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Catch Me If You Can, and American Hustle. Adams’ many roles have shown her ability to transform into any character she needs to transform into, while always hitting the mark.
Angelina Jolie $2.179 Billion
It’s no wonder that Angelina Jolie is on this list. Jolie has been in films since she was a late teen and introduced into the world of acting from her father, actor John Voight. These days Angelina is a film director, producer and actress, with her highest-grossing film being Maleficent, followed by her voice over role in Kung Fu Panda, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Shark Tale and Wanted. Many of her films had Jolie as the producer as well. One of her most iconic roles was in the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Zoe Saldana $2.249 Billion
Much like her co-star Sigourney Weaver, actress Zoe Saldana’s highest grossing film is Avatar. Saldana played the lead female role, using a lot of CGI technology to bring her character to life. Saldana’s other studio successes include Guardians of the Galaxy and the Star Trek film franchise in which she played the role of Nyota Uhura. Saldana has been on the Hollywood scene since 2000, which makes her accomplishments very impressive since she is considered relatively new to the industry.
Carrie Fisher $2.258 Billion
The late Carrie Fisher was known more than anything for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. In 2016, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, featured Fisher reprising her role as the general and the studio also saw it’s highest grossing film. The other Star Wars film followed in line with the financial income from the box office, as well as When Harry Met Sally and Hannah and Her Sisters. Prior to Fisher’s untimely passing, she managed to film scenes for the next Star Wars film coming out in 2017.
Sigourney Weaver $2.280 Billion
Weaver is most known for her role as Ellen Ripley in the Alien films. However, it’s her role in the film Avatar that was the top grossing one. In fact, Avatar is the second highest grossing film in history (the first is Gone with the Wind). Weaver’s other top-grossing films are 1984’s Ghostbusters and The Village. Sigourney is extremely respected and recognized in Hollywood and has also gone into film production after years in the industry.
Kathy Bates $2.330 Billion
Legendary Kathy Bates has been in Hollywood for a very long time. The veteran actress has been a part of some of the most epic films to come out of Hollywood. Her most famous role, as well as the one that made the most money for the studio, was 1997’s Titanic. The film The Blind Side came in at number two and The Waterboy at number three. Bates has lent her voice to many a film, including Bee Movie and Charlotte’s Web. We all still remember her most, though, from her role in Fried Green Tomatoes.
Anne Hathaway $2.416 Billion
Anne Hathaway has come a long way from her Princess Diaries roots. Her top-grossing film is The Dark Knight Rises, where she played the role of cat woman. The following three films were the other top-grossing movies – Alice in Wonderland, Interstellar, and Les Misérables. Hathaway won an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award for her role as Fantine; a role in which Anne shaved her head and lost a lot of weight for in order to portray the character as realistically as possible.
Sandra Bullock $2.462 Billion
Bullock is the queen of comedy, romantic dramas and just about every other type of film except horror. Her career has been sensational, with her top grossing film a truly shocking one – Minions! Bullock had a voice role in the film. The other top grossing films are Gravity, The Blind Side (for which Bullock won an Academy Award for Best Actress), The Proposal, The Heat and Speed.
Jennifer Lawrence $2.468 Billion
Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t been on the scene as long as some of the other women on this list but she has made an impact as if she has been around for decades. Lawrence’s top grossing film was (in a not so surprising turn) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Her role as Katniss Everdeen catapulted her career to the Academy Award-winning one she has today. The other Hunger Games film follow the top spot, along with both X-Men films she has been in since 2011.
Julia Roberts $2.735 Billion
You would think that Pretty Woman was the movie that made the studio the most amount of money, right? Well, you’re almost right. Julia’s highest earning film was actually Ocean’s Eleven, followed by Pretty Woman. The other top grossing films are Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Erin Brockovich. Roberts’ career has had memorable moments and roles alongside some of Hollywood’s other greats.
Elizabeth Banks $2.769 Billion
Elizabeth Banks is now a director in addition to her successful acting career, but before she got into the directing chair she was a part of The Hunger Games films, which grossed an exorbitant amount of money, a combined $1.451 billion to Lionsgate Studio to be precise. The films that followed are The LEGO Movie, Pitch Perfect, Seabiscuit, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. This year her latest film Power Rangers is coming out and we are sure to see her number rise.
Cate Blanchett $2.802 Billion
Cate Blanchett has been around Hollywood for a while now and her name already walks before her. Her participation in The Lord of the Rings brought with it more fans, among other cast members, bringing in over $377 million to the studio. Cate’s other high grossing projects include Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skill, The Hobbit, Cinderella, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Helena Bonham Carter $2.822 Billion
Tim Burton’s ex-wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, was part of the Harry Potter franchise. It was the last film in the series that earned the studio the most amount of money, with names like Helena’s drawing more and more fans in. The films that grossed the most thereafter are Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinderella, Planet of the Apes and Les Misérables. Helena likes to keep busy and with her large fan base, it’s not hard for her to get any role she would wish.
Emma Watson $3.007 Billion
Emma Watson may find her spot here moving higher up with the new release of Beauty and the Beast. Currently, and just like co-star Helena Bonham Carter, Emma’s highest lifetime grossing film is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, also known as the last Harry Potter film. The rest of the Harry Potter films are right there behind the last and followed by This is the End, Noah, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Cameron Diaz $3.031 Billion
Cameron Diaz made the most amount of money for Dreamworks. Her role as Fiona in the Shrek films was the highest return the studio got. The other Shrek films are following suit, while There’s Something About Mary, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Charlie’s Angels, and The Mask are right there behind them all. Diaz is very much in demand as studios know that if they hire her, the money will follow.
Scarlett Johansson $3.611 Billion
ֿScarlett has been in a long list of films. However, it is her role as Black Widow Natasha Romanova in The Avengers film franchise that had ticket sales soar and the studio profit immensely from. The next most profitable films that ScarJo has starred in are Iron Man, Lucy, He’s Just Not That Into You, and We Bought a Zoo. Sometimes the picks can be surprising considering they aren’t award-winning films, but at the end of the day it’s a winning combination to be able to do what you love, make money off it and also make money for someone else.
The information regarding the lifetime gross these women made their respective studios, as well as their highest earning films were taken from the Box Office Mojo website.