Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks were earning a then- staggering $1 million per year in 1917. $1 million in May 1917 would be worth $17.5 million today. How does that compare to the highest-grossing movie stars now? That would only make Chaplin the 24th-highest paid movie star in the world last year.
Forbes ranked Dwayne Johnson as the highest-paid actor of 2016 at $67.5 million. Chaplin would be sandwiched between Matthew McConaughey at #23 with $18 million and Chinese film star Chan Bingbing with $17 million.
What’s fascinating look at the last is how many of the top 25 highest-paid actors may not be worth the salary. Many just in the past year alone have starred in box office domestic underperformers, relative to studios’ pre-release hopes:
- #3 Matt Damon with The Great Wall
- #5 Johnny Depp with Alice Through the Looking Glass
- #7 Ben Affleck with Live By Night
- #8 Vin Diesel with xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
- #13 Brad Pitt with Allied
- #19 Scarlett Johansson with Ghost in the Shell
- #20 Will Smith with Collateral Beauty
- #23 Matthew McConaughey with Gold
Three Film Stars Get $1,000,000 a Year Each: Motion Picture Business, at Pinnacle of Success, Sees No Sign of Waning Popularity — Tax Talk Stops Boasting of Profits
From Sunday, May 27, 1917