Forbes' last list wasn't exactly fair. Well, maybe "fair" isn't the right word. Of course the author did her research, but the list of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood was topped by four women who in terms of the caliber of their recent work, just didn't deserve their ranking. Forbes has a new list up and while it's still populated with stars who delivered last year's junk, at least the cash in question isn't going into their pockets. Now we're dealing with the actors that are making due on their paycheck based on their film's profit per $1 the actor or actress earned.
Say what you want about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but from a studio perspective, they make Shia LaBeouf well worth the money. LaBeouf actually earned the top spot last year as well thanks to the first Transformers film. Back then he wasn't nearly as big a star as he is today, meaning he wasn't getting massive paychecks up front like other top earning stars. Even with Transformers' success, Revenge of the Fallen still didn't get him in the $20 million range and in this list's case, the film's $836.3 million worldwide gross worked to his advantage. For every $1 LaBeouf earns, he makes the studio $81. Odds are he's making a little more for the franchise's third installment, so LaBeouf's run on this list might end here. However, even if Transformers 3 doesn't do as well as the second film, the 3D ticket prices could give the film's earnings a boost.
Coming in at #2 is Anne Hathaway thanks to Alice in Wonderland. The film was a huge success earning over $1 billion worldwide, which worked with her sub-sky high paycheck. For every $1 Hathaway earned, she put $64 in the studio's bank account. The third position goes to Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. His pay has reportedly increased significantly since the first Harry Potter film, but the series' earnings have remained impressively high throughout. For every $1 Radcliffe pockets, there's a $61 return.
I was surprised to see Robert Downey Jr. in the fourth spot. Not that he's an old guy by any means, but he's certainly the oldest on this list thus far and the guy is in high demand; you'd expect him to be receiving such exuberant paychecks that he wouldn't stand a chance at making this list. Apparently that's not the case because Forbes has Downey Jr. delivering a $33 return for every $1 he makes. But Downey Jr. isn't the only 40+ to crack the top five, so did Cate Blanchett. Not only does Blanchett have the hugely successful Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on her resume, but the nicely performing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Robin Hood, too. Because she isn't making nearly as much as her co-stars, Blanchett winds up returning $27 for every $1 she makes. Rounding out the top ten are Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker.
While most the films that earned these stars spots on this list aren't exactly praiseworthy, it is monumentally more interesting to see a top ten solely based on industry earnings rather than tossing in perfume lines and spokeswoman gigs like in the last one. However, there's no denying that just about every person on this list is on it for mediocre material or absolute garbage. You've got LaBeouf for the lowest of the low, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Hathaway for the poorly overdone Alice in Wonderland, Blanchett for the fourth Indiana Jones film, Aniston likely for He's Just Not That Into You and The Bounty Hunter, Depp for Alice, Cage for Knowing and Jessica Parker for the Sex and the City movies. Even Streep makes the list for two so-so productions, Mamma Mia and It's Complicated, rather than the one that earned her an Oscar nomination, Julie & Julia.
The moral of this? Something we already know, we're eager to pay to see mediocre to abysmal films.