Are actors overpaid

Most overpaid actors of all time

Kristy Sparow / Getty ImagesBy Hunter Cates / .8. May 2019 1:32 p.m. EDT

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that movie actors are called 'movie stars'. After all, they are the heavenly bodies that the film industry and pop culture revolve around. Or at least they were back then. Today, the entertainment industry is based on the broad, computer generated shoulders of superheroes, dinosaurs, robots, Jedi and other various IPs (Harvard MBA jargon for "cool things like nerds").

It was not always like this. There was a time when movies were advertised primarily because of the famous person whose name was above the title. But nowadays, movies are made based on whether or not the source material is based on a comic, TV show, book, or cereal. Star power is just not what it used to be. What can a movie star do?




While name recognition is important, it is awe, not recognition, that makes stars ... and sells tickets. Despite the lesser importance of star power, many actors still have salaries that are above the GDP of some countries. What gives? There are many examples of overpaid actors. Some have made big bucks in films that have been bombed, while many just don't have the mass appeal to justify their salaries. So who made the list? Some entries might surprise you.

Marky Mark makes the bank

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We know what you are thinking. 'What? How on earth is Marky Mark overpaid? He's so popular and cool and all of his movies make money! 'Yes, it's hard to believe at first. As I said, there are a few surprises on this list. Mark Wahlberg is undoubtedly a certifiable movie star, and he has had a number of consistent hits and many downright blockbusters on his résumé with very few bombs event to him (see what we did there?). However, as a movie star, he has huge paychecks at his disposal. To justify his mega-million dollar salary, his films have to be more than hits, they have to break records (see Downey Jr., Robert).

However, in 2017, the year Mark Wahlberg made an estimated $ 68 million, it was declared by Forbes to be the most overpaid actor in Hollywood. Ouch. The reason? While his films were making money, he only made $ 4.40 for every dollar he received. Ergo he was overpaid. Many actors made this list for the same reason - they just don't make a lot in return based on what they paid for. Not a word about whether Mark Wahlberg makes more money than he does Boogie Nights Character, Dirk Diggler. Because if that's the case then it's really unfair.



Johnny's star power sinks on the idiot

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Okay, that might not be a big surprise. Johnny Depp's career has been on a downward slide for some time, thanks to a series of bad decisions, both on-screen and off. In 2015 and 2016 Forbes explained Johnny Depp was not only once the most overpaid actor, but twice, his films only made $ 2.80 for every dollar he received. Honestly, with guys like Dark shadows, Mortdecai and The rum diary In his resume we are shocked that it is not lower.

However, Depp is an interesting case. He started in as a teenage heartbreaker on TV 21 Jump Street, then switched to quirky film roles like Edward with the scissor hands and Fear and horror in Las Vegas. These unusual decisions earned him critical praise and a good hipster, but also the status of “cash poison”. Then Captain Jack came along and changed everything. Depp had quite a run as a movie star for about a decade, but now he's bizarre Johnny again, only this time without the critical recognition to endorse him. Worse, with his presumed Captain Jack-inspired banking ability, he's now calling for millions for weird movie roles audiences won't want to see. It's a recipe for being the most overpaid actor in Hollywood for two years in a row.

Jim Carrey makes $ 20 million? OK.

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Jim Carrey is an actor whose name guaranteed a box office blockbuster back in the 1990s, but whose star power has declined sharply since the beginning of the new millennium. Carrey had one of the greatest runs of all time between Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 1994 and Bruce Almighty in 2003 (yes, it's been 16 years since Carrey had a huge hit). However, at the height of its popularity, signs of imminent doom began to emerge.



Ben Stiller (before he started his film career) made a comedy about a crazy cable guy who haunts and destroys a man's life. Not exactly a mainstream yuck fest, but he wanted Jim Carrey to play the title role. Given this setup (movie star in a creepy, dark comedy) you'd think the project would be a low budget indie movie where Carrey was paid a lower salary for the opportunity to do “interesting” work. Not quite. in the The cable typeCarrey became the first actor ever to pay $ 20 million (and you thought your cable bill was bad). In this way, he changed the game and the stars suddenly became more powerful than ever. Every Tom (Cruise), Dick, and Harry (son Ford) requested similar paychecks. Oh, The cable type under-challenged, only earning $ 60 million domestically. While it was unfairly called a bomb ($ 60 million isn't a bad thing for the subject), it didn't justify Carrey's mammoth price.

Nellie the office

Adam Sandler makes (too much) green

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Adam Sandler is another guy who went on to become one of the biggest and most bankable stars of the '90s and 2000s just to have his star fade away. Sandler's sophomoric style made great hits out of Ribald comedies like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and Big dadto name a few. Neither of these films were popular with critics, but were big hits with audiences. After about the mid-2000s, however, the audience's appetite for Sandler's Schtick was exhausted.

Much like Carrey, Sandler had a good ten year run of immature comedies before the buzz faded. Like Carrey, however, he was still demanding salaries in line with his previous accomplishments. In 2014, Sandler received Forbes'Less than the pre-eminent honor of being the most overpaid actor in Hollywood, returning $ 3.20 for every dollar he made. He now has a Netflix deal that keeps him busy ... but also makes it hard to measure how much revenue he's actually generating.

Eddie's salary goes up into space

Jim Carrey is paid for $ 20 million The cable type is a bad business decision. Eddie Murphy gets $ 20 million for it The Adventures of Pluto Nash is an abomination and a travesty. Make this an a-BOMB INATION. As for bad business decisions, this is somewhere in the same environment as Enron and the subprime mortgage disaster.

Eddie Murphy was one of the biggest comedy stars of the 1980s and 1990s, but showed some cracks in his armor as of 2002 when Pluto nash was published. There was also the fact that Pluto nash, a raunchy comedy set on the moon in 2087 in which a nightclub owner refuses to sell to the mob (... what?) just sounds like a bad idea. But studio bosses must have been thinking, hey, we've got a guy on hand, so let's just pay Eddie $ 20 million and maybe he'll make something out of it. Yeah, not so much.

Pluto nash only made $ 7 million - yes, barely a third of Eddie's salary. Yikes Eddie has worked sporadically for the past 19 years, with few hits on his name, excluding the time he was the voice of a lively talking donkey in the world Shrek Movies. They know a stink bomb is bad if its stink lingers nearly two decades later. Maybe Eddie should have just paid back his salary.

Myers' return to the screen is unloved

Probably no comedian has been more difficult than Mike Myers. Myers' magic had managed to turn 1960s libidinal British secret agent Austin Powers into an even bigger box office attraction than the character he was forging, James Bond.Austin Powers and speciallyShrekmade Mike Myers about as bankable as any comedian has been. Unfortunately, as brilliant as everyone knew Myers was, he was also regarded as one of Hollywood's toughest actors to work with. To Cat in hatBelow Average In 2003, Myers took a five-year hiatus from live-action comedies and held on to it Shrek until he returned in 2008 The love guru. And Hoo Boy, he was definitely not greeted with a warm welcome from the audience.

Myers is believed to have made $ 20 million for the film, which just made $ 32 million less than that of his pal Dana Carvey at the home box office The master of disguise (We can guarantee Carvey didn't pay $ 20 million to star). Given its controversial work history in the years beforeTeacherOne can imagine that many were actively responsible for its failure. They got their wish - Myers hasn't done much in the last few years as he performed in small parts here and there and only played along in one Shrek Movie and a bizarre stunt that made him restart The gong showdisguised. Maybe it's time for another one Austin Powers continuation? Yeah baby yeah

Will Ferrell is living the American dream

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Here we go again. Do you notice a pattern here? Note to budding young comedians: If you want to go to Hollywood and become a big comedy movie star, save your money ... or keep getting a higher salary than you make. You can try that too.

Much like Carrey, Sandler, Murphy and Myers, Will Ferrell had a nice run where he couldn't seem to go wrong. His supporting role in stealing Old school led to leading roles in big hits Eleven,Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, andTalladega Nights: The Ballad by Ricky Bobby. Like so many others on this list, however, it wasn't long before Ferrell's cash bank eligibility no longer justified his salary. In 2010 it was classified as ForbesMost overpaid actor who gives back $ 3.35 for every dollar he makes.

Ferrell had a good sense of humor. But I say, “Apparently I'm living the American dream without trying. Isn't that the whole point? Don't we all strive to be overpaid? 'Fair enough, Will. Because of me.

Will Smith? More like Will $ mith!

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Believe it or not, in the near future we may have to tell the next generation that Will Smith was once the greatest star in the world. Will Smith was so bankable he could play in any genre and make the movie a hit: Comedy (Hitch), Action (I robot), Comedy / Action (Men in black), Horror (I am Legend), even Hallmark-level drama (The pursuit of happiness). Smith had the Midas touch. But lately its star power has stalled. In 2016, Smith was classified by Forbes The second largest overpaid actor in Hollywood (behind Johnny Depp), he only makes $ 5 for every studio he paid.

Ironically, his pursuit of excellence - however misguided it may be - seems to be the culprit. The Oscar bait dramatic roles he's taken on seem to garner critical raves, but instead deservedly scored anemic rotten tomatoes. Smith was never known as a great dramatic actor, but rather as an inviolable film star. By focusing on being a respected actor (and choosing terrible roles for it), Smith has damaged both of his box office hits and whatever chance of critical admiration he had. In short, Smith just made a lot of bad decisions. Luckily he dodged the bullet that was Independence Day: Resurgencealthough time will soon tell if his role as a genius is in Aladdin is a bust or a blockbuster.

Investing in cruises is a risky business

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Tom Cruise is in a class of its own. He's been a movie star for nearly 40 years since 1983 A risky endeavor. He seems like a movie star from a bygone era who is somehow still one of the biggest stars today. The irony is that no one seems to really like him all of that, even though they keep going to the movies (at least the Impossible mission Ones). Will Smith and a few other actors on this list are popular but usually seem to make bad decisions. Cruise is the opposite - he's not that popular, but he knows how to choose roles in films that people want to see.

That said, while his film selections were for the most part wise, his off-screen antics were anything but what sparked public distrust of the former boy wonder. In 2010 it all came to a head and Cruise was rated # 2 (behind Will Ferrell) as Hollywood's Most Overpaid Actor Forbesand made $ 7.20 for every dollar he made. His career since then has been spotty. There were few bombs like thatRock of Ages and The Mummy(What such a train wreck was all but killed The Dark Universe proposed by Universal Studios in one fell swoop. If anything, the last ten years of Cruise have been marked by mediocrity, which for a man like him is as bad as complete failure. But hey , he will always have Ethan Hunt -Mission Impossible: Fallout was the biggest hit in the franchise.

Kurt Russell is a lucky soldier

Kurt Russel is another entry to the club that was supposed to get out of hand in the 1990s. Granted, it kind of hurts to add just because Kurt is so damn cool. But hey, we have to call them what we see them.

We are back in the late 90s. Jim Carrey had just changed the game for with his outrageous salaryThe cable type. Now everyone wants to make $ 20 million. Well, Kurt Russell gets his for soldier. If you don't remember this movie (which would be understandable), Russell plays a cross-border mute soldier in a future space colony. Very similar Pluto nash, Really.

soldierwas directed by Paul W.S. Anderson of Mortal Kombat and resident Evil 'Fame' to give you an idea of ​​the quality of the film. soldier is basically just a really bad video quality action shot that would always have a hard time getting its budget back out of control before the cameras even got rolling thanks to Russell's salary. soldier sits at a horrific 12% on rotten tomatoes and only earns $ 14 million at the box office. For most actors, that's a career killer. Fortunately, Russell survived despite still having a few lumps on his jaw at the box office. But even here he's just so great that he can't stay down for long.

Arnold makes a cool $ 25 million

We've talked a lot about how paying $ 20 million became a symbol of movie star status in the 1990s. When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you probably think of one thing: size. Since Arnold is Arnold, a $ 20 million salary just wasn't big enough. He had to earn $ 25 million, his reported salary for 1997 Batman and Robin.

Batman and Robin, You may recall is the movie that killed the original Tim Burton-Joel Schumacher Batman series. Arnold played Mr. Freeze, a casting decision that met with great controversy for good reason. It just didn't make sense. The star ofBatman foreverVal Kilmer had left the cape and hood behind and had been replaced by the then unproven television star George Clooney.With this vacuum of guaranteed bankability under the hood, Arnold was by far the biggest star in the production and consequently could ask for whatever he wanted. in addition, Batman forever No amount of money was too much for Warner Brothers to spend on their golden goose.

The film cost $ 125 million at the time, a mammoth sum of which $ 25 million would buy Arnold cigars and Humvees. Despite that huge investment, the film only made $ 107 million. It's hard to believe, but yeah, a Batman movie once made just over $ 100 million - and Schwarzenegger was the name above the title.

Marlon Brando: the godfather of overpaid actors

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This one shouldn't come as a surprise - Marlon Brando is the figurehead - the godfather, you might say - for overpaid actors. Brando was the greatest movie star of the mid-20th century and arguably the greatest film actor of all time. He managed to use his reputation as a bargaining chip for huge salaries where he was overpaid for limited work.

Brando's overpaid roles are too many to list. He was paid $ 3.7 million and 11.75% of the profit from Superman: the movie for about ten minutes of screen time. While this movie made a ton of money, does anyone think it was because of Brando (who allegedly wanted to play the role as a floating green bagel)? 20 years later, Brando was rumored to have made around $ 5 million Dr. MoreauLet's not start with that.

You can't blame Brando. Who doesn't want to stick to past successes and earn several million for just a few weeks of work? The problem with Brando's greatness is that, to quote the man himself, he may have been a competitor. As much as he has done for his profession, he could have done so much more if he had actually taken care of it. But hey, some people want awards, some want their own Pacific island. If the studios were stupid enough to pay Brando millions for two weeks of substandard work, he wasn't stupid enough to say no.