Remember when Drew Barrymore was “America’$ $weetheart”? Well kids, the days of “Never Been Kissed” and “Charlie’s Angels” are long gone, as today Forbes placed the lil’ cutie-pie at #1 on their list of the most overpaid actors in Tinseltown. So how exactly did she earn the not-so-coveted designation?
Simply put, the mag took a look at the 40 highest-paid film stars in Hollywood, who have made at least three films in the last five years to open in more than 500 theaters (though movies released after May 1, 2011 weren’t counted for timing reasons). They then added up the production budgets for each trio of qualifying films and divided that number by the star’s total compensation across all three movies (including any “back-end” earnings like a percentage of ticket sales, etc.), with the resulting number representing the studios’ “return on investment”, i.e. how much money they got back for every dollar invested in the star in question.
And after all the calculations were done, Barrymore came out on “top” of all other ridiculously-compensated actors with…wait for it…a $.40 return on every dollar she was paid. That’s 40 cents.
Barrymore really got screwed by the magazine’s decision not to include the 2009 hit “He’s Just Not That Into You” into the tally, for the stated reason that the actress “wasn’t really the star of the film”. That leaves 2010’s “Going the Distance” ($42 million worldwide), 2009’s “Everybody’s Fine” ($16 million worldwide) and…uh-oh…the 2007 mega-flop “Lucky You” ($8 million worldwide).
What makes the actress’ “win” here most painful is the fact that no other actor on the list came even close to matching that pitiful 40-cent figure, with the next most overpaid star being Eddie Murphy at a $2.70 return thanks to “Imagine That” ($23 mil), “Meet Dave” ($50 mil) and “Norbit” (pulling the average up with $159 mil). Perhaps “Tower Heist” will turn things around for the once-daring comedian?
Filling out the “Top 10” (in ascending order) are: Will Ferrell ($3.50), Reese Witherspoon ($3.55), Denzel Washington ($4.25), Nicolas Cage ($4.40), Adam Sandler ($5.20), Vince Vaughn ($5.20), Tom Cruise ($6.35) and Nicole Kidman ($6.70). You can check out the full list with commentary here.
In case you were wondering, Ferrell, Murphy, Washington, Cruise, Barrymore, Vaughn and Sandler also ranked on the 2010 countdown.
Is there anyone you’re surprised didn’t make the cut? I thought Jack Black would certainly qualify – that is, until I checked the international grosses for the actor’s Stateside flop “Gulliver’s Travels” and discovered that it grossed nearly $240 million globally. Thanks to “The Big Year”, of course, he may just be looking at a spot on next year’s list.