Shia LaBeouf is once again for the second year in the row at the top of Forbes list of Best Actors for The Buck. For every $1 the studio invests in the talented actor they get an average return of $81 of profit. Which is an amazing reputation to have with any studio, and also explains why they wanted Shia LaBeouf for the new Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps film. In second place is Anne Hathaway as the highest-ranking woman on the list she brings in $64 of profit for ever $1 invested in her by the studios.
In order to create our list we looked at the top 36 earners in Hollywood. To qualify, each actor had to have starred in at least three movies in the past five years that opened in more than 500 theaters. Movies that opened after June 1 of this year are not counted. We did not include animated films because the actors aren’t really the draw and they tend to take pay cuts for voice work.
We then used data gathered for our annual Celebrity 100 list to calculate each star’s estimated earnings on each film (including upfront pay and any earnings from the movie’s box-office receipts, DVD and TV sales). We then looked at each movie’s estimated budget (not including marketing costs, which are susceptible to accounting chicanery) and box-office, DVD and television earnings to figure out an operating income for each film.
We added up each star’s compensation on his or her last three films and the operating income on those films and divided total operating income by the star’s total compensation to come up with each return on investment number. The final number represents an average of how much a studio earns for every dollar paid to the actor.