The world is full of entertainers. And yet, it seems as if household names are hard to come by. It is only the massively successful that transcend cultural and geographical borders to reach levels of fame the rest of us can only dream about.  Oftentimes these entertainers (and subsequently their earnings) are at the mercy of public opinion. The most popular and most famous ones earn the most money. Naturally, the top five fluctuates from year to year, however, there are a few that seem to rank relatively well time and time again.

Floyd Mayweather

The boxer currently holds the title of the highest-grossing entertainer in the industry. His fight with Conor McGregor generated more than $550 million in ticket sales and live viewing subscriptions. A significant portion of this amount, around $275 million, was pocketed by Mayweather — an amount large enough to earn him the top spot in the 2017-2018 list published by Forbes.

Dwayne Johnson

The former wrestler consistently makes the list of the highest earners in the entertainment industry. He ranks 5th on the 2017-2018 Forbes Celebrity 100 list, has a massive social media following, and holds the record for highest acting take-home ever. Most of his income is generated from acting and other upfront paychecks in the promotional industry. Most recently he starred in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Lionel Messi

This international soccer player is one of the highest paid footballers in the world with an annual salary and bonuses of more than $80 million. The Barcelona player further supplements income with a plethora of marketing and promotional deals from major name brands like Gatorade and Pepsi, and is preparing for the opening of a Chinese theme park based on him in 2020.


This Irish band has long been attracting massive crowds to their epic stage shows. They earned the 6th spot on this years list thanks to an international reunion tour that attracted more than 2.7 million fans. They also released their 14th album in December of 2017, accumulating additional wealth from devoted fans purchasing and streaming their music.  

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is currently the highest earning solo artist in the entertainment industry thanks to an impressively large quantity of internet streams across various social media platforms and his stadium-filling performances. Though he is only 27 years old, Sheeran has also been featured in some major Hollywood productions like The Simpsons and Game of Thrones.