Want Your Movie to Make Money? Try These Profitable Actors

By Kirsten Anderson Uncategorized

Thanks to "Black Swan," Natalie Portman is a bargain.

If you’re a sports fan, chances are good that at some point you’ve stared at a player on the screen in front of you and said, “That *&@ is so overpaid.” However, there may also have been times when you looked at a utility player, a sixth man, a backup, watched them perform and thought, “Man, that dude is a bargain.”

Today we’re taking notice of the bargains in Hollywood, or at least Forbes did in their annual Best Actors for the Buck list. This doesn’t mean actors who got paid the least or actors who got paid a lot to be in movies that earned a lot, but just which ones achieved that perfect balance of being paid a reasonable amount to appear in movies that returned high profits for their budgets.

Here’s Forbes’s methodology:

To compile our list, we used data on actors’ earnings gathered for our Celebrity 100 list. Box office grosses and budget estimates are from Box Office Mojo. We looked at the last three films each actor starred in over the last three years that opened in more than 2,000 theaters, calculating the return on investment for the studios who pay his (or her) salary. We didn’t count movies where the actor was in a supporting or large ensemble role and we didn’t count animated movies. The actors who score well on this list tend to have small paydays and star in highly profitable movies.

So that explains why Natalie Portman, who hasn’t starred in a movie in over a year, tops the list–she’s costing on the mega-success of the microbudget “Black Swan.”Also note that some actors are on this list thanks to roles in highly profitable franchises that have now ended, which means Shia LaBeouf and Taylor Lautner, amongst others, will be off this list in a year or two.

1. Natalie Portman — Returns $42.70 for every $1 paid
2. Kristen Stewart — Returns $40.60 for every $1 paid
3. Shia LaBeouf — Returns $35.80 for every $1 paid
4. Robert Pattinson — Returns $31.70 for every $1 paid
5. Daniel Radcliffe — Returns $30.50 for every $1 paid
6. Taylor Lautner — Returns $29.50 for every $1 paid
7. Bradley Cooper — Returns $25 for every $1 paid
8. Dwayne Johnson — Returns $22.70 for every $1 paid
9. Amy Adams — Returns $22.60 for every $1 paid
10. Kevin James — Returns $22.40 for every $1 paid



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