Meryl Streep, $10 million
Streep had a huge year in 2009 with Julie & Julia and It’s Complicated but the award-winning actress has been quiet since then. She’ll return later this year as Margaret Thatcher in the biopic The Iron Lady directed by her Mamma Mia helmer Phyllida Law.
Sandra Bullock, $15 million
The actress hasn’t had a movie out in the last 12 months. After a year of triumph (winning an Oscar) and heartbreak (a painfully public divorce) Bullock is getting back to work with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel about New York after 9/11, the film costars Tom Hanks.
Cameron Diaz, $18 million
Seventeen years after she debuted opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask, Diaz is still one of the most popular actresses in movies. She starred opposite Tom Cruise in last year’s Knight & Day. The film didn’t perform as well as many would have liked but it still brought in a solid $260 million thanks to brisk overseas ticket sales. Her relationship with baseball star Alex Rodriguez helps keeps the busy actress in the news.
Katherine Heigl, $19 million
One of the few women who can still command $12 million per picture, Heigl is the new queen of romantic comedies. She risks having that crown taken away from her though due to a couple of recent duds including Killers, which earned only $100 million, and Life as We Know It, which performed slightly better, bringing in $106 million on an estimated budget of $40 million.
Kristen Stewart, $20 million
Julia Roberts, $20 million
Roberts’ career has slowed considerably since her Notting Hill days but she’s still a box office draw. Eat Pray Love earned an impressive $205 million. Roberts also earns from her work as one of the faces of Lancome. She’s attached to play the Evil Queen in one of two Snow White projects currently in development.
Reese Witherspoon, $28 million
Her marriage to agent Jim Toth kept her in the public eye this year but the actress’ latest romantic comedy, How Do You Know, was a colossal flop, earning only $47 million on an estimated budget of $120 million. Don’t expect it to dent Witherspoon’s career. She is still the go-to actress for movies like her upcoming This Means War, about a love triangle involving two CIA agents.
Jennifer Aniston, $28 million
While the tabloids fret about Aniston’s love life, the actress is slowly proving herself to be one of Hollywood’s surest things on the business side. Her 2010 movie The Bounty Hunter opened weak and was immediately written off by the pundits. But the film kept attracting audiences, eventually earning $136 million on an estimated budget of $40 million. She later helped Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It earn a healthy $212 million.
Sarah Jessica Parker, $30 million
Parker hasn’t strayed far from her association with fashion-lover Carrie Bradshaw from the hit TV show Sex and the City. In 2010 she starred in the second Sex movie, which earned $290 million. She’s designing clothes with Halston and she has a line of best-selling fragrances, including NYC, which brought in $18 million in 2010.
Angelina Jolie, $30 million
Jolie is the only woman making bank for playing action heroes these days. Salt, which was originally written for Tom Cruise, brought in $300 million on a budget of $110 million. Her other movie from 2010, The Tourist, earned 75% of its $280 million box office overseas.