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Scarlett Johansson tops Forbes' highest-paid actresses list

Scarlett Johansson earned $40.5 million between June 1,

Scarlett Johansson earned $40.5 million between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018. Credit: Invision/Jordan Strauss

After a year off the list, Scarlett Johansson came roaring back to take the top spot in Forbes magazine's annual list of highest-paid actresses.

Largely on the strength of this year's "Avengers: Infinity War" and next year's sequel, in which Johansson, 33, plays superspy Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, the star made estimated gross earnings of $40.5 million between June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2018. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told Forbes last year that while the Marvel films' budgets formerly skewed toward visual effects and similar production costs, they now trend more toward cast salaries. "But that's OK," he noted, "because [the actors] are the best effects." 

Last year's top actress, "La La Land" Oscar winner Emma Stone, dropped off the list, while Angelina Jolie, 43, returns for the first time since 2015 to take second place with $28 million, primarily from her salary for the upcoming "Maleficent 2."

At No. 3, down a notch from last year, is Jennifer Aniston, 49, who has made the list every year for a decade, with $19.5 million. The "Friends" Emmy winner earned less from her screen work over the past year than from endorsements for such clients as Aveeno, Emirates airline and Smartwater. But she and "Big Little Lies" star Reese Witherspoon, 42, who hits No. 5 with $16.5 million, will each make an estimated $1.25 million for their upcoming Apple series about a morning-TV show.

"Silver Linings Playbook" Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence moved down a notch from last year, to No. 4, with $18 million after "Mother!" (2017) and "Red Sparrow" (2018) met with unenthusiastic receptions. But earnings also came in through a Dior contract and her role as Mystique in next year's "X-Men: Dark Phoenix."

Cate Blanchett, Gal Gadot, Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy and Julia Roberts also made the list, while such A-listers as Amy Adams, Charlize Theron and Emma Watson did not.

Forbes derives these figures based on data from Nielsen, comScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, and from speaking with industry professionals. The estimates are of pretax gross income from acting, endorsements and other sources, before deductions for agents, managers and others.


1. Scarlett Johansson — $40.5 million

2. Angelina Jolie — $28 million

3. Jennifer Aniston — $19.5 million

4. Jennifer Lawrence — $18 million

5. Reese Witherspoon — $16.5 million

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