Movie studios obtain the services of recognizable actors and actresses for several reasons, one of which being that the studios hope that those big names will attract customers and movie-goers to theaters. Jennifer Lawrence is just one example. Lawrence is a movie star in every sense in that she reels in the big bucks whenever she signs on to take a major role, and she has, in the past, proven that she has the goods to draw audiences regardless of whatever you may think of the roles that she has landed in the past. Lawrence is, of course, just one example of a famous actress who more than earns her money as a member of the entertainment industry.
In late December 2015, Natalie Robehmed of Forbes released that website's list of the most overpaid actors for the year. Forbes used data, specifically how much money an actor “returned” at the box office per what he was paid for his recent films, to put together this list. Each of the ten men who checked in on the list of the most overpaid actors of 2015 are likely names that even casual fans who rarely pay to go to theater will know. You may, in fact, even be a little surprised to see who topped the list. That actor has, after all, achieved quite a lot during his successful career.
10 Tom Cruise: $13.60 Return For Every $1 Paid
You may, following all that has been learned over the years, first think of the Church of Scientology whenever you see or hear of Tom Cruise. Cruise, as is evidenced by the fact that he makes this list, continues to be paid top dollar whenever he agrees to have a role with a blockbuster. While his movies, most recently Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, do well at the box office, one cannot help but wonder if that revenue is generated because of the brand of the franchise rather than because of the work put in by Cruise. Could a studio make even more money on a Mission Impossible film that featured a cheaper actor?
9 Ben Affleck: $12.30 Return For Every $1 Paid
For every Gone Girl that is received well by critics and by customers, Ben Affleck and other actors like him have disappointments such as Runner, Runner. As pointed out by Forbes, whether or not Affleck will check in on the 2016 edition of this list will largely be determined by what should be a blockbuster movie. Batman vs. Superman is a massive project that has already generated discussions via multiple previews and trailers, and advertisements for the film are only going to increase throughout 2016. Do not, in fact, be surprised to learn that Affleck is not on next year's list of the most overpaid movie actors.
8 Brad Pitt: $12 Return For Every $1 Paid
It turns out, perhaps not all that surprisingly to those who follow the industry, that movie audiences were not all that intrigued to see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star together in a film that received what could positively be referred to as “mixed” reviews. This is not to say that Pitt has not been successful in recent memory. World War Z, Moneyball and 12 Years a Slave were all hits. It is Pitt's price tag, which is understandably up there considering his past body of work, that had a major role in Forbes naming him as one of the most overpaid actors of 2015.
7 Channing Tatum: $10.80 Return For Every $1 Paid
We'll be honest about the matter and just come out and say that we don't blame anybody who saw the trailers/previews for Jupiter Ascending and then decided to pass on that particular movie. That film, which starred Channing Tatum among others, was largely ripped by critics, and its returns played a part in Tatum making it on the list of the most overpaid actors for 2015. Tatum does, of course, have his fans, and it turns out that some female viewers chose to embrace Jupiter Ascending despite the fact that even they may, when asked, have been forced to say that the movie was "garbage."
6 Christian Bale: $9.20 Return For Every $1 Paid
An actor such as Christian Bale can only hope to be so lucky as to be part of a historic franchise such as The Dark Knight series of Batman movies. Bale has, since the conclusion of that monumental trilogy, not landed such successful roles. Exodus: Gods and Kings looked a little ridiculous to those of us who saw commercials for the movie, and fans agreed in that they did not flock to theaters to see it. Forbes also reported that Out of the Furnace, a movie that was released in 2013 and one that starred Bale, grossed only $15 million. That film had a budget of $22 million.
5 Will Smith: $8.60 Return For Every $1 Paid
We may soon learn that Will Smith is going to be off of next year's edition of the list of the most overpaid actors in the world. In fact, Smith may remove himself entirely before January 1, 2016 arrives. The movie Concussion, which deals with the real head injuries that former and current National Football League players have suffered over the years, will be released to the public on Christmas Day. While that movie has generated quite a bit of buzz on talk shows, we do not yet know how it is going to do at the box office. Do people want to see a movie that tackles such a serious topic over the Christmas holiday?
4 Liam Neeson: $7.20 Return For Every $1 Paid
We want to make sure to point out to Mr. Liam Neeson that this list was put together by Forbes and not by anybody from this website. Now that we have covered our tracks and hopefully earned the mercy of Neeson, we can point out that Neeson is ranked among the most overpaid actors for 2015 largely because of the movie Run All Night. Run All Night, per the information released by Forbes, grossed $71.6 million at the box office. The movie had a budget of $50 million. One request we would have is that Neeson and everybody else out there would please not make another Taken movie.
3 Will Ferrell: $6.80 Return For Every $1 Paid
As much as fans may like to chuckle when they watch Will Ferrell appear on Saturday Night Live and when he is featured in online videos, they apparently do not like to pay to see all of Ferrell's movies. Ferrell's box office appeal has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, and he will be hoping to experience yet another “up” at the end of 2015. Daddy's Home, a movie that stars Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg battling it out in a war of dad versus step-dad, is set to be released on Christmas Day 2015. Maybe Daddy's Home will be enough to remove Ferrell from the 2016 list of the most overpaid actors.
2 Denzel Washington: $6.50 Return For Every $1 Paid
One would be foolish to even try to claim that Denzel Washington is not one of the biggest stars in Hollywood today. Washington nevertheless makes the list, per Forbes, because of “a series of expensive movies – coupled with hefty paychecks.” The Equalizer was a Washington movie that did well at the box office, and he could be part of yet another hit in 2016. The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the famous western, will star Washington, Chris Pratt and other recognizable actors. Washington has shown that he is a versatile performer. He should fit right in for The Magnificent Seven.
1 Johnny Depp: $1.20 Return For Every $1 Paid
The Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp has been a massive success. Not everything Depp has touched has, however, turned into gold at the box office. Transcendence was criticized by many, so much so that The Guardian referred to it as one of the “critical turkeys” of 2014. Mortdecai was crushed on the Rotten Tomatoes website and by critics, and it was a huge flop at the box office. Don't worry, Depp fans, as you should have another Pirates movie in your future. That film, however much money it makes, will not change the fact that Depp was, per Forbes, the most overpaid movie actor for 2015.