widenews desk: Emma Watson turned down a part in the Oscar-winning La La Land to prepare for her role in Beauty and the Beast, and her business sense was questioned by some industry watchers when it emerged she had taken a relatively paltry $2 million fee to play the lead role of Belle in that film.
But now critics of Emma Watson’s fiscal nous are eating their words after it emerged that Watson is on track to become Hollywood’s biggest earning female star of 2017, thanks to the runaway success of Disney’s live-action remake of the fairytale classic, and her decision to opt for profit share rather than an upfront check.
The coronation will be a welcome return to the top spot for Watson, who was the highest paid female actress back in 2010.
Watson—who already has an estimated net worth of $70 million, over half of which can be accredited to her part in the long-running Harry Potter franchise—is set to dislodge Jennifer Lawrence from the top of the list, a position J-Law has held since 2015, having banked $15 million to appear in the final Hunger Games film.
The 26-year-old actress is set to enjoy a monster payday thanks to a canny agreement to cut her a slice of the production’s global earnings, which sources are estimating to Hollywood Reporter could be in excess of $15 million.
Beauty and the Beast has earned around $750 million worldwide so far, making $350 million of that in its opening weekend.
The film has been propelled to the top of the box office by fabulous reviews and a mass of publicity around both Watson and the film’s apparent “exclusively gay moment.”
Watson has for many years been a stalwart of the Highest Paid Hollywood Actress list collated by Forbes thanks to her part in the Harry Potter franchise.
“I think she has the world in the palm of her hand,” Liza Anderson, celebrity publicist and founder of Anderson Group Public Relations told the London Evening Standard.
“She is the biggest star in the world right now. She can star in anything. She could produce. She’s America’s sweetheart and a global sweetheart. There’s no better position to be in right now. I’m sure she has Hollywood banging at her door.
“She’s a perfect combination of outspoken and demure, and those are qualities both men and women love.”