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New Study Reveals Hollywood’s Most (And Least) Profitable Stars Including Ryan Gosling, Adam Sandler And Jennifer Lawrence


08 September 2020

According to Vanity Fair, approximately 6% of a blockbuster film’s budget goes to the lead actor.

But which Hollywood stars bring in the big bucks? And who is routinely costing studios a fortune, but not transforming the investment into sky-high box office profits?

That’s what the team behind CashNetUSA’s personal finance blog SavingSpot set out to find out...

To find out who the most and least bankable Hollywood stars are, the CashNetUSA team took 50 of the most in-demand actors and calculated their average career earnings using IMDb data. They then gathered the Metacritic scores for all the movies they have starred in, as well as the the box office returns from The Numbers.

Data in hand, the team distilled this information into two interactive charts to show: o The Most Overpaid and Underpaid Hollywood Stars

o The Hollywood Stars with the Best and Worst Returns on Investment Here’s a preview of key findings:

  • Ryan Gosling is the most underpaid actor in our study

  • Adam Sandler is the most overpaid actor in our study

  • Jennifer Lawrence comes out on top as the best return on investment for studios

  • Charlize Theron scored the worst ROI on our list

  • Emma Watson and Robert Pattinson are the ‘most bankable’ British stars in Hollywood

This project is part of a series of content campaigns commissioned by frugal living blog SavingSpot (managed by the CashNetUSA team).

 

 

Key Findings:

Ryan Gosling is the most underpaid actor in our study

- Gosling gets paid an average of $2.2 million per film and he doesn’t just make the studios their money back and more but he gets the best ratings:

> Studios see their profits multiplied over 600x when casting Gosling, our data shows he makes studios $635.65 per $1 paid to him

> Gosling’s salary is one-twelfth of that of the highest paid actor in our study (Tom Hanks, $29,131,013) but he is top of the list for Metacritic scores with an average rating of 70.8 for his entire filmography.

Adam Sandler is the most overpaid actor in our study

- He averages more than $20 million per movie (placing him in the top 10 highest-paid stars) but critics rate his movies at the bottom of everyone else on the study (his average Metacritic score is 38.9).

- Not only that, his average salary-to-film profit at the box office places him within the bottom 3 actors in our study --- Sandler makes studios $9.80 per $1 paid to him, a stark difference when compared to Jennifer Lawrence (the actress with the highest ROI), who makes studios $782.8 for every dollar she’s paid to star a movie.

- Meanwhile, movies with Ryan Gosling receive the highest average Metacritic scores, but Gosling’s average salary is one-tenth that of Sandler, at $2.2 million.

 

 

Jennifer Lawrence comes out on top as the best return on investment for studios

- An example of Lawrence’s bankability is the 2010 indie hit Winter’s Bone, where she was paid around $3,000 a week for a film which ultimately grossed $16 million worldwide.

- Not only Lawrence has the highest average salary-to-film profit, but she also secures great critics ratings for her movies - the average Metacritic rating for her entire career is 65.3 (among the top 10 highest ratings for the Hollywood stars analyzed in our study).

- Studios get the most bang for their buck with Jennifer Lawrence ($782.80 per $1 paid), Sylvester Stallone ($733.40 per $1 paid), Tom Hanks ($714 per dollar), Ryan Gosling ($635.60 per dollar) and Chris Evans ($511.80 per dollar).

 

 

Charlize Theron scored the worst ROI on our list

- With an average salary-per-film of $11.1m, she produces just $5.96 per dollar paid to her.
- The other actors who generated the worst returns include Denzel Washington ($7.10), Adam Sandler ($9.80), Samuel L. Jackson ($10.70) and Nicole Kidman ($13).

Emma Watson and Robert Pattinson are the ‘most bankable’ British stars in Hollywood

- With an average salary of $15,795,223, Watson has an average salary-to-film profit of $84.23 and she’s in the top 10 of Hollywood stars with best Metacritic scores (65 over her entire career).

- Pattinson is one of the top 3 lowest-paid actors in our study (his avg. salary is $1,721,233) yet he makes studios $77.87 per dollar they pay him. Plus, films with Robert Pattinson receive a Metacritic score of 52 but his average salary is 12x lower than Adam Sandler’s, the star with the lowest Metacritic score in our study.

Methodology

To determine the most successful Hollywood stars SavingSpot first generated a list of popular actors. The team ranked actors based on the total number of reviews for the films in which they received a starring credit on IMDb. They then chose the 50 actors with the highest number of aggregate film reviews. They did not consider actors who did not have sufficient salary data or whose careers were tied to one film franchise.

Next the SavingSpot team calculated the average earnings of each actor using information on each actor’s IMDb profiles. Salary data is often unreported, or reported as an after-the-fact combination of upfront fees and backend deals. When possible, the research team favored data on the upfront fee an actor earns for a role, and excluded backend salary data that is a function of the total revenue or profit of the film. All data was adjusted for inflation using annual Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was only assigned to actors for movies in which they had the lead role, as quantified by IMDb.

SavingSpot also gathered the Metacritic scores for every movie that each actor has starred in, allowing their tram to create an average score for each actor. The Metacritic score average is based only on movies for which salary data is also available. Next the team gathered the box office returns for each movie from The Numbers.

The return on investment calculation was based on inflation-adjusted salary data and total inflation- adjusted worldwide box office gross as of April 11, 2020.

Interactive chart: The Most Overpaid and Underpaid Actors, According to Critics

 

 

Interactive chart: The Most and Least Bankable Stars at the Box Office

 

 

Research

For the full data behind the study, go to StellarPay.

Sources

IMDb. (2020). IMDb. IMDb.com
Metacritic. (2020). Metacritic. metacritic.com
The Numbers. (2020). All Time Worldwide Box Office. the-numbers.com
Kroll,. Lang, B. (2019). Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie and More 2019 Star Salaries Revealed. variety.com
Kroll,. Lang, B. (2019). Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Other Star Salaries Revealed. variety.com

About SavingSpot
SavingSpot is a personal finance blog, which offers advice on how to live a frugal life, shares tips on how to get ahead in your career and features inspirational content to help American readers rediscover the USA. The blog is managed by the CashNetUSA team.

Founded in 2004, CashNetUSA is a leading, state- licensed online lender that offers payday loans, installment loans and line of credit products. CashNetUSA has partnered with more than 3 million customers over the 10+ years we've been in business

About NeoMam Studios
NeoMam Studios is a creative studio on a mission to create digital content that online audiences will want to share.

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