Hollywood’s Top 10 Overpaid Actors

There are two reasons any actor gets a gig in a film. First, their ability. Fit for the role, compatibility, believability, etc. But more importantly, they get the job for the draw.

The Draw can be defined as how much attention and publicity attaching a name to a film would get. This usually means that paying for a big name would translate into making the studio a big pile of cash. Usually that pays off. But the premier financial publication Forbes has taken a closer look and ranked the Top 10 Overpaid Actors in Hollywood

Forbes breaks it down:

To calculate our payback figures, we took half of each film’s worldwide box office (to roughly approximate the studio’s cut of each ticket). Then we added the first three months of DVD revenues and subtracted the budget to derive the film’s gross income. After that, the actor’s total compensation (upfront pay plus any money earned from sharing in the film’s profits) was divided into the gross income to get the actor’s payback figure for the film. The payback for the last three movies for each actor was averaged to calculate ultimate payback. We deliberately used gross income rather than net income in our analysis because the latter figure is so easily manipulated by studio accountants, with marketing expenses treated differently for almost every film.

For every dollar paid…

Nicole Kidman’s movies averaged $1 of gross income
Jennifer Garner’s movies averaged $3.60 of gross income.
Tom Cruise’s movies averaged $4 of gross income
Cameron Diaz’s movies averaged $4 of gross income.
Jennifer Lopez’s movies averaged $4.10 of gross income.
Jim Carrey’s movies averaged $4.11 of gross income
Nicolas Cage’s movies averaged $4.16 of gross income.
Drew Barrymore’s movies averaged $4.38 of gross income.
Will Ferrell’s movies averaged $4.67 of gross income
Cate Blanchett’s movies averaged $4.97 of gross income

Forbes is clearly more about “the now” as they tend to investigate trends. I am sure if the sampling was deeper than 3 films this list might be quite different. For instance, Cate Blanchett’s numbers would be skewed if you compared her paycheque for Lord of the Rings compared to how much money it made. But this wasn’t included.

However this does bring to light current trends which is important to the future of some of these actors. When your pricetag is higher than the studios figure you are worth, they would sooner find someone lower on the “star power” scale that will simply give them a better return. They often don’t care how good you USED to be, as much as they care about what you mean to them now. And the mighty dollar is gospel in Hollywood.

Now if they were talking about an opinion list, I am sure our good friend Chris Tucker might top that list as the most overpaid star in Hollywood, but if you were to just look at the numbers, Tucker’s last three films were all Rush Hour, and started out drawing around $100 per pay dollar, so that makes him better than Kidman (statistically only) even in spite of his increasingly silly demands and declining boxoffice draw.

Click here to check out the list yourself

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7 thoughts on “Hollywood’s Top 10 Overpaid Actors

  1. Yeah, cuz Hollywood ONLY uses Oscar worthy actors.

    But as far as your assumption that she is not “Oscar worthy” I would wager the academy that chose her for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Hours and her Nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role Moulin Rouge might have something to say about it.

    Just sayin.

  2. Kate Blanchett shouldn’t be in this pole, she has real talent.

    Regarding Nicole, sorry thats just the way I feel. I didn’t write this article, and it is an article exposing the overpayment of Celebrities to star in movies. Do you feel she was over-payed to star in her Movies? Because I sure do. Basically she was overly compensated because she is a celebrity, not because she is an oscar worthy actress.


  3. @Antiseptic…. you don’t think she’s been in a good movie for 19 years? A little extreme?

    Just because she hasnt done better than your favourite Kidman film hardly means she hasn’t been in a good movie. I can name 10 that I like that she’s been in. Oscar worthy? Not really. But still good enjoyable films.

  4. I didn’t even think Cate Blanchett would be considered popular enough to be overpaid. I don’t even remember her name half the time. My friends and I mostly know her as “that elf chick from Lord of the Rings.”

  5. Easily Nicole Kidamn is number 1, she hasn’t made or been in a good movie since Dead Calm. Nothing she has ever done since then even comes close.

  6. This list says a lot more about the projects the actors have chosen than the value of their inclusion in said projects, especially when they’re using such a limited sample. To do this right, you’d have to put together a proper statistical model that would include various other parameters, some quantifiable, some not. So maybe it’s fun, but it’s also worthless.

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