With blockbuster budgets continuing to soar, it is becoming more important that tentpole films star actors and actresses who consistently draw fans to the theater. Flops at the box office are becoming all too common and studios can no longer throw $100 million or more behind a film that does not include at least one major bankable star. Take 2016's Gods of Egypt. The Gerard Butler-starring film grossed $150 million worldwide on an estimated budget of $140 million, ouch. While that film has problems far beyond its lack of star power, there is little doubt it would have earned more if it starred someone like, let's just say Dwayne Johnson, who brings with him a massive social media following.
Excluding predominately animated (or CGI) pictures, the top grossing films of 2016 include Captain America: Civil War ($1.153 billion), Batman V Superman ($873 million), Deadpool ($782 million), and Suicide Squad ($745 million). You may notice that each of these films feature bona fide superstars. Yes, it is true that each of these were comic book adaptations with a built-in fan base. Still, their popularity is in no small part thanks to actors like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Margot Robbie and Will Smith. However, as popular as these actors are, the best actor for the buck is one of their colleagues.
Forbes has recently compiled a list of 2016's "Best Actors for the Buck," with the aim of showing how much money an actor's film earns per dollar he/she is paid. And the actor at the top of the list is none other than Captain Steve Rogers himself, Chris Evans. According to Forbes, Evans' films earn a whopping $135.80 for every $1 he is paid — remember, he gets paid millions.
Not surprisingly, the rest of the list includes quite a few more Marvel stars. In fact, the top three best actors for the buck are all MCU stars. Following Evans, Guardians of the Galaxy's Chris Pratt notched second on the list with his films earning $125.40 for every $1 he is paid. Chris Evans' Captain America: Civil War co-star, Scarlett Johansson took the third spot on the list, with her films earning $88.60 for every $1 she is paid.
Mila Kunis, Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, and Jennifer Lawrence rounded out the top ten. The list takes in to account the global box office earnings of the actors' last three films prior to June 2016, and does not include animated movies, cameos, or films in limited release. The list follows an earlier Forbes examination that named Johnny Depp Hollywood's most over-paid actor.
The Forbes list is an interesting exploration of which actors drive fans to the theaters. Still, the list purely takes into account salary and box office recepits without any further analysis. It would be interesting if someone analytically gifted could adjust the list, while taking into account film genre, established fanbase (of the property), social media presence, and so forth.