Most movie stars receive obscenely high paychecks for their work, yet sadly it seems as though moviegoers aren't getting their money's worth. Just take a look at the top ten films at the box office; just three are considered fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It's quite clear that the quality of work doesn't always correlate with the size of the reward, and Forbes' latest report on the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood proves it.
The list actually starts off on a decent note with Sandra Bullock. Last year, Bullock pulled in a massive $56 million. All About Steve might have been a critical and box office flop, but both The Proposal and The Blind Side earned impressive sums. And, to top it all off, Bullock nabbed an Oscar. Throw in some pity points for the whole Jesse James scandal and I doubt there are many out there who mind Bullock taking this title.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the women who hold the remaining four spots. Coming in at #2 with a $32 million haul is Reese Witherspoon. Yeah, she won an Oscar in 2005 for her performance in Walk the Line, but that doesn't mean she deserves to be on this list five years later! Voice acting aside, she hasn't really delivered anything that's particularly praiseworthy. I liked Rendition more than most, but Just like Heaven, Penelope and Four Christmases are all refund-worthy. How could she be getting so much cash upfront for How Do You Know and Water for Elephants?
Again, voice work aside, the third highest-paid actress is just not worth the cash: Cameron Diaz. My Sister's Keeper took a far harsher beating than it deserved, but The Box is pure garbage. On top of that, neither film did well at the box office. Throughout her career, Diaz has been as far from a sure thing as they come. In the last decade she's delivered just three films that have been worth my money: Gangs of New York, In Her Shoes and, yes, I thoroughly enjoyed The Holiday.
The fourth spot goes to an actress who I'd prefer never to see in another romantic comedy ever again. No, not Katherine Heigl, but you're close - Jennifer Aniston. How she can earn $27 million for Love Happens, He's Just Not That Into You and The Bounty Hunter is beyond me. And if there is one more Sex and the City film, I might feel the same way about Sarah Jessica Parker as I do about Aniston. Parker took in $25 million last year, earning her the fifth spot. But even if you discount the Sex and the City films, she hasn't really had much to offer. Other than The Family Stone, her other films in recent years have been, well, awful. She had Spinning Into Butter, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Smart People and Failure to Launch. Perhaps some of those are suitable to watch on TV, but dropping cash to check them out in the theater just isn't right.
The bottom half of the top ten list is somewhat more justifiable. Both Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie earned $20 million followed by Drew Barrymore with $15 million. The last two spots went to Meryl Streep and her $13 million haul, and Kristen Stewart with $12 million. Say what you want about that last entry, but there's no denying that The Twilight Saga is a monumental success, making Stewart far more worthy of a spot on this list than four of the top five. Putting Stewart in your movie will draw teens in by the masses. Plus, her bleak character in Twilight is masking some serious talent. Stewart's quite good in two of her non-Twilight films that hit this year, The Runaways and The Yellow Handkerchief.
But when it comes to that top five sans Bullock, what is wrong with Hollywood? How can these ladies be making so much when there's far better talent out there deserving of a higher paycheck? As much as it pains me to say it, acting chops aside, all of these ladies deserve their dough. It doesn't just come down to what they're being paid for their films; it has a lot to do with residuals from hits like the Shrek franchise for Diaz and Friends for Aniston. Also, just look at these women; they're gorgeous and that means they sign contracts with companies like Avon and have their own perfume lines the profits from which are included in these totals. I'd be more interested to see a list based on film salaries alone.