Before beginning production on his newest film for Disney, actor Dwayne Johnson made some hefty demands regarding his salary and co-star.
Maybe it’s because he’s “The Rock,” and it could be because he’s, well, Dwayne Johnson. Perhaps it’s because he played the role of a demigod in Disney’s 2016 animated blockbuster Moana. Maybe it’s because women often swoon when he appears on-screen. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Dwayne Johnson likes Dwayne Johnson, and hey, we won’t judge him for that.
According to Cosmopolitan magazine, Johnson simply cannot stop making money. In 2022, the wrestler-turned-world-famous-actor garnered more than $22 million for his starring role in Black Adam alone. Johnson plays the title role of Black Adam, who was given the superpowers of several Egyptian gods in the storyline and has every appearance of being a villain, but in reality, is a good guy.
The Jumanji actor has a success story unlike any other. He was a third-generation wrestler who enjoyed great success in the ring, but his performance in a supporting role in The Mummy Returns (2001) opened the door for a seemingly unending stream of offers to act in even bigger projects. Johnson’s acting success over the years has accomplished several things. It’s made “Dwayne Johnson” a household name, it’s made Dwayne Johnson a fortune, and it’s made Dwayne Johnson a rare commodity in Hollywood–so much so that he reportedly has a lot of pull when it comes to negotiating contracts for new film roles.
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Johnson has a knack for starring in one hit film after another, but occasionally a film starring The Rock hits the box office, and rather than becoming a major blockbuster, it does ok and then fizzles out somewhat, as in the case of Disney’s live-action flick The Jungle Cruise (2021). The film certainly wasn’t a box office lead balloon, but compared to many of Johnson’s other films, this one was guilty of that “fizzling out” scenario.
In the film, Johnson plays Frank Wolff, a steamboat skipper who–against his better judgment–agrees to act as a guide for an explorer named Dr. Lily Houghton (played by Emily Blunt), who, along with her brother McGregor (played by Jake Whitehall), is on a quest to find the mythical Tree of Life.
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The film lost more than $150 million at the box office, but even so, it garnered enough attention to open the doors for a sequel, which has been announced but has no release date as of the time of this publication. Recently, however, news of the difference in Johnson’s and Blunt’s salaries in the film has garnered attention as well.
According to a recent report over the weekend, Dwayne Johnson demanded a salary that was more than double the salary paid to Emily Blunt, who, like Johnson, is a successful, recognized, and widely-respected actor in Hollywood.
“Johnson had earned $22 million for the movie,” reads the report. “The figure itself may not be that surprising considering that he is one of the highest-paid actors [in Hollywood]. What was surprising was the fact that Emily Blunt only earned $9 million for the role. The actress is a highly recognized figure in the Hollywood industry. Her talent has been one that is specifically respected both in American and British cinema. This was furthermore concerning because both of them were playing the lead actors.”
While the details of the two actors’ contracts have not been publicized, it is common knowledge that Johnson earned $13 million more than Blunt for his role in the film that saw both actors cast in starring roles.
Details about the second Jungle Cruise film are scarce, but Disney has said that both Johnson and Blunt will reprise their roles in the take-two of the film inspired by the Disney Parks attraction of the same name. Whether their compensation will see another pay gap remains to be seen.