Big Hollywood stars are often known as much for their multi-million dollar salaries as they are for their actual work, but what do those astronomical paychecks really mean? Is it worth it for studios to allot such a large chunk of a movie’s budget to just one star? In its annual list of the “Ultimate Star Payback,” Forbes investigated how much money these big names actually earned the studios who financed their films to reveal just who lives up to his or her big paycheck—and who is way overpaid.
To be eligible for the list, an actor needed to have starred in at least three movies given wide release in the last five years, discounting any voice work. As Forbes notes, this left off top earners like Mike Myers who, except for The Love Guru, has spent the last few years making Shrek and its sequels.
Of the 35 actors on the list, Vince Vaughn came out on top as the highest value for studios, bringing in an average of $14.73 per movie for each dollar he was paid. Vaughn was followed by Tobey Maguire and Julia Roberts, who occupy spots two and three on the list. What about that world-conscious couple no one can seem to get enough of? Both members of Brangelina were present, with Brad Pitt coming in at number four, bringing studios $12.73 per dollar of his salary, while Angelina Jolie was down at number 17 with an ultimate payback of $7.16 (beat by Brad’s ex-wife Jennifer Aniston who occupied spot number eight, bringing in $10.48 for every dollar she was paid).
The rest of the list was a variety of costly stars, from talented funnyman (and current cover story) Ben Stiller at number 10 to Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett at number 26. Nicole Kidman rounded off the list as the lowest earner, at number 35 she made studios just $1.01 for every dollar they paid her.
For the complete list of Hollywood’s money-makers (and losers), visit www.forbes.com.