Actor Dwayne Johnson Officially Loses Highest-Paid Entertainer Status to Popular Megastars

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Dwayne Johnson as John Hartley in 'Red Notice'

Credit: Netflix

The result of actor Dwayne Johnson and his turbulent 2022 has been revealed, and it sees the former professional wrestler replaced as one of the highest-paid entertainers on the globe.

Dwayne Johnson wearing sunglasses
Credit: ABC

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Dwayne Johnson made his commercial acting splash as Luke Hobbs in Fast Five (2011) alongside Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez. It would be a decade earlier that the then-professional WWF (now WWE) wrestling star would make his debut as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (2001). A year later, he would headline his first feature film with The Mummy franchise spinoff, The Scorpion King (2002).

With a string of big blockbuster hits in his back pocket, Johnson was no longer just “The Rock”, attracting the attention of many influential movie studios. From the Fast & Furious franchise to the critical and commercial Jumanji movies, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) to more recent films like Jungle Cruise (2021) and Red Notice (2021), Johnson has cemented himself as a family-friendly action megastar.

Dwayne Johnson in 'Jumanji'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: “The Rock” No More, Dwayne Johnson Ditches Classic Name For Huge Movie Deal

Despite a few rocky entries into the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie canon, the actor has seen huge success throughout his career and was even the Highest Paid Celebrity back in 2016. Per Forbes, movies like Central Intelligence (2016) and The Fate of the Furious (2017), as well as his then-upcoming turn as Mitch Buchannon in the Baywatch (2017) reboot, secured Johnson the top spot with a yearly payday of just short of $65 million.

Fast forward five years, and Forbes would report that Dwayne Johnson was the fourth highest-paid entertainer in 2022, behind Peter Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Jay-Z. Johnson’s reported $270 million in earnings came partially from his stints in Jungle Cruise and Red Notice, with the most coming from his own tequila brand, Teremana.

Dwayne Johnson in 'Jungle Cruise'
Credit: Disney

However, the end of 2022 would be a dark episode in the celebrated actor’s journey after the DC Extended Universe’s Black Adam (2022), a passion project of Johnson’s, failed to land at the box office. In fact, the “savior” of the DCEU took only $390 million globally and was largely panned by critics and fans, even with the return of Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman).

Reports later surfaced that Johnson had leaked financial information stating the movie had made a profit, and then things took an even more turbulent turn when the star of Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023), Zachary Levi, corroborated claims that Johnson’s alleged ego and self-serving behavior hurt the DCEU franchise.

Earlier this year, Forbes posted their yearly ranking of Highest Paid Entertainers, and, rather surprisingly, Johnson did not make the top five. In fact, he did not make the top 10 at all.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Credit: ABC

Actor Dwayne Johnson drops from the highest-paid list.

The band Genesis, singer Sting, and TV and film mogul Tyler Perry took the top three spots. They were followed by South Park‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Simpsons‘ James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, actor and producer Brad Pitt, rock group Rolling Stones, Avatar franchise director James Cameron, singing superstar Taylor Swift, and musician Bad Bunny.

Johnson, however, may be charming his way back into some of the biggest upcoming films. After a long feud with Vin Diesel, Johnson made his comeback to the Fast franchise in Fast X (2023) as an uncredited cameo. He will next star in Red One (2023) alongside Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame).

Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise
Credit: Universal Pictures

Related: After Dwayne Johnson Replaced Johnny Depp, Another Star Now Challenges “The Rock”

His appearance in Fast X suggests that Johnson will be back in the franchise as a leading figure, and with sizeable box office takings, the actor could once again return to the list. The former wrestler also recently spoke about his Teremana tequila brand, which looks set for another strong sales year. Then in a few years’ time, Johnson will likely reprise his role as Maui in the upcoming live-action Disney remake of Moana (2016). Johnson announced the movie in April with his production company Seven Bucks Productions, joining The Walt Disney Company in bringing the film to life once again on the big screen.

This lines him up to continue being one of the big-time earners over the next few years. That said, a recent multi-million dollar loss with the XFL, the American football league he co-owns with Dany Garcia, may hinder his chances of landing a spot in the top 10 on next year’s list.

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