Top 10 Most Overpaid Actors in Hollywood

These Hollywood stars command million-dollar fees for their appearances but are they really worth it? Top 10 Films takes a look at how much studios earned from their star performers in 2013…

We all know that Hollywood actors and actresses can command incredible fees for their film roles, but do the studios really get value for money on their stars? With movie makers like Sony only recouping about half of the value of box office receipts from a film, an expensive flop can seriously damage business. Recent figures from Box Office Mojo have helped us compile this list of the most overpaid Hollywood actors.

By working out the difference between these stars’ wages and the box office takings generated by their last three films, you can calculate the return on each dollar paid out by the studios. So here’s the Top 10 of wasteful talent from 2013:

10. Ryan Reynolds

RIPD-ryan-ReynoldsHe may be smooth but his days as a leading Hollywood actor seem to be almost over. After a series of flops it will surely be difficult for him to command high fees, although he still managed to bring in a respectable $10.70 for every $1 he was paid.

9. Matt Damon

elysium_matt-damonEven the much beloved Matt Damon has struggled in 2013. Without a Bourne film in sight, and with slightly more leftfield choices such as Behind The Candelabra, Matt matched Jen with $10.60 for every $1 he was paid.

8. Jennifer Aniston

were_the_millers_jennifer-anistonFor every Horrible Bosses, there’s a Wanderlust with our Jen, but she still managed to bring in $10.60 per every $1 she was paid, which is a pretty good return for someone who has been increasingly typecast over the years.

7. Steve Carell

The-incredible-burt-wonderstone_steve-carellA hugely respected and remunerated comic actor, but Carell doesn’t hit an Anchorman every time, and 2013 was pretty disappointing, bringing in only $10 per $1 paid.

6. Denzel Washington

denzel-washington-2-gunsWe all love a bit of Denzel, but even though he’s a worthy (and very highly-paid) actor, it seems a lot of his films struggle to give good box office, with a paltry $8.30 per $1 paid.

5. Kevin James

Kevin-James-Here-Comes-the-BoomWith a return of $6.10 for every $1 he was paid, the massive flop Here Comes The Boom put paid to James’ reputation as a sure-fire movie winner.

4. Nicolas Cage

frozen-ground-nicolas-cageIf it wasn’t for animated hit The Croods and its franchised products, which include a successful computer game, our Nic would really be in trouble. The Frozen Ground could only bring in $6 for every $1 he was paid, but Cage will be encouraged by the critical reception garnered by new film Joe, which will hit cinemas shortly.

3. Reese Witherspoon

Devils-Knot_reese-witherspoonAnother actress who seemed on an inexorable rise to Hollywood glory, Witherspoon had to endure poor box office receipts and getting arrested for disorderly conduct in 2013. Bringing in just $3.90 for every $1 she was paid, the acclaimed Mud signals a new but less profitable career direction.

2. Katherine Heigl

the-big-wedding-katherine-heiglA surprise entrant to the list, Heigl has struggled to match the success of the brilliant Knocked Up. Returning a paltry $3.50 for every $1 spent on her wages, the days of her being touted as a major romantic star seem a long time ago. Particularly for anyone who’s seen 2013’s The Big Wedding.

1. Adam Sandler

grown-ups_2_dvdReturning only $3.40 for every $1 he’s paid, Sandler takes top spot in our most overpaid chart. With three huge flops in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – the painfully execrable Jack & Jill, That’s My Boy and Grown Ups 2 – the king of route one, gross-out comedy will be hoping for a hit in 2014. Although it seems he’s getting paid the big bucks anyway, so maybe he’s not really that bothered.

And there’s our line up of the top 10 most overpaid actors in Hollywood. Many of them will bounce back next year with hits on the way, but some of them may well be demanding slightly less in their pay packet in 2014.

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  1. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    Thank God. Perhaps Adam Sandler’s glory days are behind him. This tripe he peddles as entertainment might make him rich, but in years to can’t ever see him being honored for services to cinema.

    Glad to see he’s at the top. Bit surprised to see Matt Damon on there though, I kinda liked him and figured he was doing okay for himself. Comparitively, wouldn’t mind seeing how Matthew McConnaughey ranks on a list like this, considering he’s now doing more “indie” films than mainstrean blockbusters….

  2. Avatar
    jackdeth72 Reply

    Hollywood seem to have been going through a care of the Terminal Stupids to be giving these actors so much money. When none of the men can equal an early comedic Jack Lemmon or Steve McQueen, Robert Mitchum, Brando, Newman or Montgomery Clift in being either cool, a “tough guy” or a “bad boy” or “troubled youth”.

    Jennifer Aniston will never equal Barbara Stanwyck’s comedic or dramatic styles or efforts. Showing that today, “name recognition”
    does not mean “quality”.

  3. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    This list is pretty much all wrong. Adam Sandler is most overpaid? Are you serious? What do you base this on? Sandler has had two flops in the last 10 years. 2. And one of them wasn’t even a flop, it was a disappointment. Jack and Jill made close to 75 million dollars which is still respectable. So that leaves That’s My Boy as his only real flop. Grown Ups 2 made 133 million. So how is he on this list? Adam Sandler is still one of the only names you can put in a movie that is almost guaranteed to make money. Having him anywhere on this list is wrong.

    Jennifer Aniston? Sure, she did Wanderlust. But she also had Just Go With It, Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers. What has Julia Roberts last 4 movies grossed? She doesn’t belong anywhere on this list.

    Kevin James? How exactly was Here Comes the Boom a massive flop? And you are basing his inclusion here on that movie? What about the other 7 movies before that?

    Sorry but many of the people you have on this list are not right. I have often scratched my head at the amount of money Denzel gets paid so I understand why you have him here but Hollywood continues to pay him 15-20 mill a movie so there must be more to it. Perhaps his films sell well on HV or they get a good TV deal from his films. I’m really not sure. I’ll even question Reese Witherspoon. Why is she on here? Besides the massive flop, How Do You Know (which also starred Jack Nicholson), her other films have done fairly well. Water For Elephants was never going to do massive business and as you mentioned, Mud was a smaller film with a very staggered release.

    Sorry, but I just don’t think you thought this one out very thoroughly.

  4. Avatar
    Pete Reply

    Surprised to see Carrell and Damon on here. Still, Cage owns this list. Wonder if Tom Cruise will one day make this list too!

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    jjames36 Reply

    Sandler’s not bothered yet. If his films keep flopping as badly as they been, he will stop getting paid. And then he will care.

    I don’t blame Heigl for The Big Wedding, really, but it was certainly wretched. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Keep in mind, Sandler’s salary includes his writing fee plus his producers fee as his company Happy Madison produces all his films.

  7. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Also, one question, where do you get the salary information for each actor?

  8. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    If we’re talking pure dollars and cents I can understand why certain actors made the list. However if we’re talking about whether people actually deserve the money they’re paid I think Washington, Damon, and Carell absolutely do. The rest, don’t in my opinion, especially Nicolas Cage. He’s dreadful.

  9. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    But it doesn’t matter if you like their movies or not, it only matters what they bring in at the box office. And for that reason alone, Sandler is probably the only guarantee at the box office.

  10. Avatar
    Lights Camera Reaction Reply

    Katherine Heigl and Adam Sandler are both great picks. I’ll never understand how Sandler’s films make so much money.

  11. Avatar
    sati Reply

    Wow, I don’t even know who Kevin James is….:)

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