Tough-talking Bostonian actor Mark Wahlberg has shown off his talent for a range of different roles over the span of his career, everything from action to comedy, to drama, to anything in between. With a career so long and varied, how much can Wahlberg expect to make for starring in a movie?
Mark Wahlberg gets paid up to $17 million for starring in a movie, not including any extra deals. Including back-end deals, he has been known to make more than twice that amount in some movies.
It should be no surprise that Wahlberg commands such a princely sum for assuming a starring role in a movie, owing to both how long he has been in the business and the high profile movies that his career is decorated with.
A Running Start
For a lot of new actors, you’ll naturally have to go through a period where, due to a lack of star power, you’ll be getting tiny roles or even being drastically underpaid for major ones. This means that in your very first big role, you could be looking at only earning $20~$50 thousand for your troubles.
Wahlberg had already accrued a chunk of fame prior to entering the film industry, however. The hip-hop group that he was the leader of, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, had already put out a few albums and singles. Amongst those singles was a chart-topping hit in the US, “Good Vibrations.”
Although his acting chops proved that he didn’t need it, his fame as Marky Mark got him a foot in the door, landing him some decent roles right out of the gate. Although it wasn’t a lot compared to what he eventually started to earn, one of his very first roles was in The Basketball Diaries, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
It didn’t earn him millions, but it did net him a cool $60 thousand, an almost unheard-of amount for a fresh new actor looking for work. It would only be a few years later that he actually earned his first million dollars for a role.
The movie Boogie Nights was a period drama capturing the lifestyle of the 1970s and 1980s pornography industry, where we witness the character of Eddie Adams, played by Mark Wahlberg, experience all the highs and lows associated with that lifestyle in that era.
Not only was the movie incredibly well received by critics, particularly praising Wahlberg’s performance, but it earned the actor a one million dollar payday, the most that he had been paid up until this point. He was set to continue on this course as well, repeatedly earning a similar amount for his subsequent movies, until finally starring in Planet of the Apes.
The reboot of the sci-fi classic, partially because it already had eyes on it from being a beloved existing franchise, and partly for Wahlberg’s rising star, earned him his largest paycheck of $8 million.
Of course, all these numbers shrink in comparison to what he earned on Michael Bay’s Transformers epics, blockbuster flicks with huge action, enormous budgets, and even bigger paychecks. For his part in the first Transformers movie, Wahlberg took home $14 million.
For the sequel, it was even more. Not only did he earn $17 million upfront, but with back-end deals included, it could be somewhere more in the region of $40 million, which is an absolutely jaw-dropping amount of money, making him one of the highest-paid actors in the industry.
One of the only anomalies where Wahlberg got paid less than the millions that he usually earns was The Fighter in 2010, the smallest paycheck that he had earned in years, coming in at around half a million.
Not only was it a low budget movie, but the movie was focused on championship professional boxer Micky Ward, a role that Wahlberg took incredibly seriously. So seriously, in fact, that after all of the training and associated costs were factored in, Wahlberg was actually left out of pocket at the end of the day.
The way that Wahlberg talked about his desire to make a movie like The Fighter, and the respect and diligence that he showed towards assuming the role of Ward, just goes to show that even though money is important, it isn’t necessarily what determines Wahlberg’s desire to participate in it.