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A Celebrity's Worth - According To Forbes Magazine

Forbes Magazine today published what it calls "The 2008 Forbes Ultimate Star Payback list," - a list that shows which actors give the best return on the money studios spend on them - how much they earned for the studio for each dollar they were paid.

The 35 actors that make up the list are ranked according to average gross income (revenue minus production costs) divided by the actor's compensation, in their last three widely released films.

Here are the top 5:

#1 - Vince Vaughn (??? Yup, you read correctly), his last 2 movies considered - The Breakup, Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball: $14.73 Million; meaning for every dollar he was paid by studios for the above 3 films he starred in, studios earned $14.73 million on average.

#2 - Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man 2, Seabiscuit: $13.44M

#3 - Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson's War, Ocean's Twelve, Closer: $13.19M

#4 - Brad Pitt, Ocean's Thirteen, Babel, Mr. & Mrs. Smith: $12.73M

#5 - Naomi Watts, Eastern Promises, King Kong, Stay: $12.16M

Of note, Denzel Washington is at number 16 with, $7.95M, with American Gangster, Deja Vu, and Inside Man as his last three movies considered. And somewhat surprisingly, Will Smith was in the bottom half at number 21, with $5.64M - his last 3 movies (Hancock aside) being, I Am Legend, Pursuit of Happyness, and Hitch.

What does this all imply? The studios might want to reconsider those fat Hollywood paychecks that some big name stars have enjoyed in recent times, because, as indicated on the Forbes list, the highest-paid performers aren't always worth the investment, since they're yielding the lowest returns.

See the entire list here:


  1. nic said...

    This is very interesting. Sometimes we forget that Hollywood really is a BUSINESS and there is some accountant sitting in an office crunching these numbers.

    Obenson, what do you think would happen if the studios started compensating the actors based on their actual ROI?

  2. The Obenson Report said...

    If studios start basing talent compensation on ROI, then you'd obviously start to see a lot of smaller paychecks. Or, small advances upfront, or no upfront money at all, and a lot more back-end deals, wherein stars get a percentage cut of box office and DVD sales, whether gross or net. Some actors already do that now, like Will Smith and Tom Cruise, but often it's accompanied by a hefty upfront salary.

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