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The 15 Highest Grossing Actors at the Box Office

Tom Hanks in The Post

5. Tom Hanks

  • Top Movies Credited: Splash (1984), Big (1988), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Toy Story (1995), Saving Private Ryan (1996), Toy Story 2 (1999), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Polar Express (2004), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels and Demons (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Cloud Atlas (2012), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), Inferno (2016), The Post (2017)
  • Domestic: $4,396,228,137 (as leading actor), $127,751,988 (as lead ensemble member), $46,678,895 (as supporting actor), $34,346,139 (other)
  • International: $9,035,469,461 (as leading actor), $463,084,484 (as lead ensemble member), $70,078,895 (as supporting actor), $40,067,009 (other)
  • Worldwide Total: $9,498,961,247
  • Average: $189,979,225 (from 50 films)

Tom Hanks has had a long and illustrious career in Hollywood (and at the box office), not to mention having multiple Oscars under his belt. What's interesting is that despite not appearing in major blockbuster movies (aside from the Toy Story series), Hanks remains one of the highest grossing stars in the world. That's partly thanks to the strong relationships he has with directors like Steven Spielberg but also that his acting skills and stardom can attract audiences of all ages. Perfect example is The Da Vinci Code, which was the 2nd highest grossing film of 2006, ahead of Pixar, James Bond, and X-Men, though it's worth noting that the movie itself was based on a widely popular book.

4. Vin Diesel

  • Top Movies Credited: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Pitch Black (2000), The Fast and the Furious (2001), xXx (2002), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Riddick (2013), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Furious 7 (2015), The Fate of the Furious (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Domestic: $1,445,783,638 (as leading actor), $1,757,536,303 (as lead ensemble member), $317,355,795 (as supporting actor), $207,957,923 (other)
  • International: $3,067,021,258 (as leading actor), $3,345,762,133 (as lead ensemble member), $338,511,416 (as supporting actor), $155,337,379 (other)
  • Worldwide Total: $9,616,103,332
  • Average: $437,095,606 (from 22 films)

When the first film in what would become the epic Fast and Furious franchise premiered, it received mixed reviews and did solid box office, but few could have predicted what it would become, much less how that would affect Vin Diesel. As well as being an executive producer for the majority of the series, Diesel has starred in most Fast and Furious films, giving him the prize of being the head of the eighth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Outside of driving very fast cars, Diesel has made the Riddick franchise a passion project, then returned to the xXx series, and became the voice of Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, thus giving him a foot in the door to the MCU.

3. Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp Unmasked in 21 Jump Street

  • Top Movies Credited: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Platoon (1986), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Donnie Brasco (1997), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Chocolat (2000), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), The Lone Ranger (2013), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
  • Domestic: $2,958,681,361 (as leading actor), $692,659,744 (as lead ensemble member), $297,876,370 (as supporting actor), $49,508,329 (other)
  • International: $5,087,659,789 (as leading actor), $1,347,031,431 (as lead ensemble member), $91,093,732 (as supporting actor), $45,362,197 (other)
  • Worldwide Total: $10,086,032,325
  • Average: $201,720,647 (from 50 films)

Johnny Depp’s reputation has taken a serious nosedive over the past couple of years, thanks to abuse allegations made by his ex-wife and multiple reports of bad on-set behavior. Between that and some major flops like The Lone Ranger, it’s easy to forget what a massive risk it was for Disney to allow him to helm the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. At the time, he was mostly known as a kooky character actor and long-time Tim Burton collaborator, and he didn’t have that many big-budget blockbusters to his name. His performance was also lambasted by Disney CEOs, who feared his work as Jack Sparrow would sink the movie before it even opened. Yet it became a game changer for the studio and catapulted Depp into a new level of Hollywood fame. Now, he’s a regular franchise player thanks to the Fantastic Beasts series and continues to appear in top budget blockbuster movies, as well as smaller projects on the side that contribute to his overall gross.

2. Scarlett Johansson

  • Top Movies Credited: The Horse Whisperer (1998), Ghost World (2001), Lost in Translation (2003), Match Point (2005), The Island (2005), The Prestige (2006), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Her (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Lucy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Sing (2016), Ghost in the Shell (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Domestic: $485,690,191 (as leading actor), $3,538,231,607 (as lead ensemble member), $358,540,043 (as supporting actor), $124,443,223 (unclassified)
  • International: $931,313,392 (as leading actor), $5,791,303,195 (as lead ensemble member), $269,875,594 (as supporting actor), $190,655,856 (unclassified)
  • Worldwide Total: $10,746,538,385
  • Average: $398,019,940 (from 27 films)

Before joining the MCU as Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson was primarily an indie talent known for works with celebrated auteurs like Sofia Coppola and the Coen Brothers. She had a couple blockbusters under her name but it wasn’t until she appeared in Iron Man 2 (and then later in The Avengers) that she dove into that career direction. In-between the big films, Johansson makes small-budget critical darlings like Under the Skin. Films like Lucy, however, have made her the biggest female star on the planet, despite some of those movies being poorly received overall - and even under-performing blockbusters like Ghost in the Shell have done little to quash her place on this list.

1. Robert Downey Jr.

  • Top Movies Credited: Weird Science (1985), Chaplin (1992), Natural Born Killers (1994), U.S. Marshals (1998), Good Night and Good Luck (2005), Zodiac (2007), Iron Man (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Domestic: $1,254,193,216 (as leading actor), $487,336,306 (as supporting actor), $3,284,474,685 (as lead ensemble member)
  • International: $1,206,172,684 (as leading actor), $200,078,688 (as supporting actor), $5,562,609,181 (as leading ensemble member)
  • Worldwide Total: $11,307,449,766
  • Average: $269,224,994 (from 42 films)

Given his absolute domination of the international box office, it’s easy to forget that, once upon a time, Robert Downey Jr. was considered a risky bet in Hollywood. The one-time SNL star was a teen idol who had won intense critical acclaim with films like Richard III as well as an Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin. Then he went through a very public downfall and drug addiction that saw him serve jail time. When he was cast as Tony Stark, it was considered a huge risk. Yet it paid off marvelously, and Downey Jr. could easily claim the credit of being the defining actor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to his frequent roles throughout the past decade of the franchise, he’s chalked up quite a few box office breakers, but solo efforts like the Sherlock Holmes movies have also helped to bolster his reputation.

More: The Highest Grossing Directors at the Box Office

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