Pay Per LinePay Per Line

It’s no secret that actors earn a comfortable sum of money when appearing on the big screen. Whether it’s playing a lead part in the new Marvel series or taking on a singing role in the next big musical, earning potentials are rocketing. But have you ever wondered how much male and female actors get paid per scripted line in films?

We have created a new study looking into the highest-grossing films and analysing their scripts to find out how much actors earn per line spoken.

 

Robert Downey Jr earned $683,060 per line for Avengers: End Game!

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In 2019, Avengers: End Game became the highest-grossing film of all time earning over  $2,797,800,564 at the box office. Lead actor and overall Marvel superstar Robert Downey Jr played a vital role in the movie and his earnings certainly represent that, taking home more than $125 million. In this film Downey’s script had 183 lines, making his earnings per line an astonishing $683,060! Out of the top 5 highest-grossing films of all time, Robert Downey Jr appeared 3 times as the highest earner per line spoken.

Beyonce Knowles ranks second in the highest-earning actors with $446,429 per line for her appearance in The Lion King 2019. Grossing $1,656,943,394 at the box office, Knowles had just 56 lines making her pay per line earnings soar.

A noticeable figure in the study that stood out was the data for Sandra Bullock. Her appearance in Gravity earned her $70,000,000 but having over 260 lines in the film, it meant her earnings per line sat at $263,158.

 

The top 20 highest-earning actors per line

RankActorMovieTotal EarningsNo. of LinesEarnings Per Line
1Robert Downey JrAvengers: End Game$125,000,000183$683,060
2Beyonce KnowlesThe Lion King$25,000,00056$446,429
3Robert Downey JrAvengers: Infinity War$50,000,000129$387,597
4Robert Downey JrThe Avengers$50,000,000139$359,712
5Sandra BullockGravity$70,000,000266$263,158
6Scarlett JohanssonAvengers: End Game$20,000,00081$246,914
7Robert Downey JrAvengers: Age of Ultron$40,000,000179$223,464
8Scarlett JohanssonAvengers: Age of Ultron$15,000,00069$217,391
9Leonardo DiCaprioTitanic$40,000,000201$199,005
10Emma WatsonHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2$15,000,00086$174,419
11Harrison FordStar Wars: The Force Awakens$25,000,000159$157,233
12Cameron DiazBad Teacher$42,000,000351$119,658
13Daniel RadcliffeHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2$25,000,000249$100,402
14Chris PrattJurassic World$10,000,000102$98,039
15Emma WatsonBeauty and the Beast$15,000,000177$84,746
16Carrie FisherStar Wars: The Force Awakens$1,500,00028$53,571
17Sigourney WeaverAvatar$8,000,000174$45,977
18Carrie FisherStar Wars: The Last Jedi$1,000,00035$28,571
19Mark HamillStar Wars: The Force Awakens$1,000,00062$16,129
20Chadwick BosemanBlack Panther$2,000,000142$14,085

 

Does speaking more in a film get you more pay?

Analysing a mix of high-grossing films and high earning actors to create an index, we looked into the correlation between the number of lines spoken and total amount earned per line.

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Our study found that Cameron Diaz spoke the most number of lines in her film Bad Teacher, with a total of 351. Earning an estimated $42,000,000, this comes down to $119,658 per line.

When comparing this to Leonardo DiCaprio, who earned roughly $2,000,000 less than Diaz in his film Titanic, he took home $199,005 per line. This is roughly $80,000 more than Diaz despite speaking 150 lines less!

Harrison Ford and Chris Pratt however were the real winners. Speaking just 159 lines, Ford earned $157,233 per line in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Chris Pratt’s lead role in Jurassic Park saw him speak 102 lines, earning $98,039.

 

The top 10 actors with the MOST lines

RankActorMovieTotal EarningsNo. of LinesPay Per Line
1Cameron DiazBad Teacher$42,000,000351$119,658
2Sandra BullockGravity$70,000,000266$263,158
3Daniel RadcliffeHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2$25,000,000249$100,402
4Leonardo DiCaprioTitanic$40,000,000201$199,005
5Robert Downey JrAvengers: End Game$125,000,000183$683,060
6Emma WatsonBeauty and the Beast$15,000,000177$84,746
7Sigourney WeaverAvatar$8,000,000174$45,977
8Harrison FordStar Wars: The Force Awakens$25,000,000159$157,233
9Chadwick BosemanBlack Panther$2,000,000142$14,085
10Chris PrattJurassic Park$10,000,000102$98,03

 

Male vs female actors: Who earns more per line?

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Our study compared the earnings per line of male and female actors. When looking at the top 5 highest earners, 4 of the 5 female actors earned more than their male counterparts, with the exception of Robert Downey Jr vs Beyonce Knowles.

Leonardo DiCaprio ranked as the second highest-earning male actor, with $199,005 per line in the Titanic. Comparing this against Sandra Bullock, the second highest-earning female actor per line, who earned $263,158 for her lead in Gravity.

Harrison Ford ranks third in the list due to the huge success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With 159 lines, Harrison took home $157,233 a line. Comparing this to the third highest-paid female actor, Scarlett Johannson, who’s work in Avengers: End Game saw her receive $246,914 per line.

 

The top 5 earning male actors per line

 
RankActorMovieTotal EarningsNo. of LinesPay Per Line
1Robert Downey JrAvengers: End Game$125,000,000183$683,060
2Leonardo DiCaprioTitanic$40,000,000201$199,005
3Harrison FordStar Wars: The Force Awakens$25,000,000159$157,233
4Daniel RadcliffeHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2$25,000,000249£100,402
5Chris PrattJurassic Park$10,000,000102$98,039
 
 

The top 5 female actors per line

RankActorMovieTotal EarningsNo. of LinesPay Per Line
1Beyonce KnowlesThe Lion King$25,000,00056$446,429
2Sandra BullockGravity$70,000,000266$263,158
3Scarlett JohanssonAvengers: End Game$20,000,00081$246,914
4Emma WatsonHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2$15,000,00086$174,419
5Cameron DiazBad Teacher$42,000,000351$119,658

 

Methodology:

The majority of films have been selected from the highest-grossing, with a few additional selections from lower grossing films with high paid actors to provide context.

Lines have been tracked based on the number of times the character’s name has been included in capitals. Accordingly, the number of lines is approximate due to the usage of stage directions in the same formatting.

 

Sources:

 

Notes to Editors:

If you’re interested in covering our study, we only ask to please refer back to this study with a link to this post.

PR contact: alex.fiske@kaizen.co.uk

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