For the second year in a row, Johnny Depp sits atop Forbes magazine’s annual list of most overpaid actors.
The three-time Academy Award nominee, 53, who additionally was in second place two years ago, returned just $2.80 for every dollar paid, thanks largely to the disappointing box office of this year’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Though that sequel to 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” grossed nearly $300 million, its production budget, according to Box Office Mojo, was $170 million. Because of ancillary costs such as marketing, plus studios’ revenue split with theater owners, movies generally must earn twice the production budget in order to be considered profitable.
Another global star, two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith, 48, went from No. 5 to No. 2, after “Concussion” brought in just $48.6 million on a $35 million budget. Forbes estimates he returned $5 for every dollar paid. At No. 3, Channing Tatum, 36, returned $6 for every dollar paid. Though last year’s “Magic Mike XXL” proved a hit, “Jupiter Ascending” descended his average, barely making back its $176 million budget. Coming in fourth and fifth were, respectively, Will Ferrell and George Clooney.
Forbes cautioned that the figures can be misleading. Because of his particularly large salary, Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, 42, is No. 8 on the list, returning $9.90 for every dollar paid, even though “The Revenant” earned more than $500 million worldwide on a $135 million budget. “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) nearly quadrupled its $100 million budget and “The Great Gatsby” (2013) did nearly as well.
Julia Roberts, 49, is the only woman on the list. Forbes noted that while her pay “is far lower than that of the men on the list,” she still hit No. 9, returning $10.80 for every dollar paid, due to the modest performances of this year’s “Money Monster” and “Mother’s Day.”
Forbes’ survey looks at the last three films before June 2016 in which each actor played a significant role, excepting animated films, small releases, and counts movies’ global box office minus their production budget, divided by the star’s estimated pay.