Melissa McCarthy exploded from semi-famous Gilmore Girls sidekick to breakout movie star with her performance in 2011's Bridesmaids. From the success of that supporting role, the actress has not only become a true rarity in Hollywood -- a bankable female lead -- she has kept her foot in TV, starring in the long-running Mike & Molly.
Since her star-making part in the Kristen Wiig-led comedy in 2011, McCarthy has been incredibly busy. In addition to her five-years-and-running stint on her sitcom, the actress has starred in blockbusters including 2013's Identity Thief ($134 million in U.S. box office) and The Heat ($159 million). Her star power even pushed the poorly reviewed Tammy to an $85 million U.S. haul in 2014, according to Box Office Mojo. And while she was making the hits, McCarthy also found the time to appear in the critics' darling (and low budget) St. Vincent alongside Bill Murray, whose shoes she will partially step into in 2016's all-female Ghostbusters remake.
One of the hottest actors working, and close to a sure thing at the box office in the right role, McCarthy returns to the big screen this weekend in Spy, a big-budget action spoof that has her performing alongside Jason Statham under the direction of Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig.
The film not only puts the actress in a bigger-budget film, it also adds to her growing net worth.
How much does McCarthy make?
Since Bridesmaids, when she was a relatively unknown character actress, McCarthy's paychecks have increased. Though the details of her specific deals are not public, The Wall Street Journal estimated that she "can command close to $10 million a role."
She reportedly took less than that upfront for Tammy -- a passion project directed by her husband, Jeff Falcone -- but she likely made at least that much because she had a piece of the modestly budgeted movie's back end. McCarthy also makes around $10 million per year as of 2013 for her part on Mike & Molly -- a role she continues to play despite being in high demand for movies.
McCarthy has a deal for a plus-sized clothing line, according to WWD.com, but it does not come out until the fall, so it's unlikely it has contributed to her fortune yet. It's possible that will change in the future as plans for the actress's brand are huge.
"A more upscale offering, as well as accessories and beauty products, is expected to be added in 2016 and 2017," wrote the fashion website. "The accessories and beauty lines -- in addition to apparel other than sportswear -- will be licensed to other manufacturers under the guidance of Sunrise and McCarthy's Los Angeles-based company, M&M Clothing Co."
For now, McCarthy's net worth has been driven by her most recent acting work.
What is Melissa McCarthy's net worth?
Calculating any star's net worth leaves out pieces of the equation. It's not public whether McCarthy, for example, made shrewd investments during her Gilmore Girls days, and we don't know if she likes to smash Faberge eggs while pouring rare vintage wines out the window.
But assuming that McCarthy has made $10 million for the 2013 and 2014 seasons of Mike & Molly, with similar paydays for Identity Thief, The Heat, Spy, and about that much for Tammy -- though that's more of a guess -- you could assume she made $40 million in movies along with $20 million for her last two years on TV.
That means the star has taken in about $60 million during the past roughly two-plus years, which is the period where she has been earning big dollars. Subtract agents' commissions and taxes, and add in a little for her cameos, earlier seasons of her show, and lesser film roles, and you could place her net worth at somewhere between $25 million-$35 million.
For McCarthy, though, the best might be yet to come, as Ghostbusters is a potential franchise, and Spy has sequel potential, as well. Her Mike & Molly paychecks could also increase, and she'll likely have the leverage to negotiate a piece of the syndication money from that program.
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple. He has seen every episode of Gilmore Girls. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.