Today’s Hollywood blockbusters are big business. A major production can easily cost millions of dollars and employ a cast and crew in the thousands. To ensure success, Hollywood often relies on actors known to draw in the crowds and help sell movie tickets and merchandise.
Despite the large number of people who work on these movies, audiences often associate the final project with only one or two faces. For instance, the Mission: Impossible franchise brings to mind Tom Cruise. The Iron Man films – and to a large extent the related Avengers flicks – rely on the familiar face of Robert Downey Jr.
Hollywood’s top talent has led multiple movies to box office success in 2018, with 50 different movies grossing over $50 million each at the domestic box office so far. 24/7 Wall St. has identified the lead actors who spearheaded the year’s highest-grossing films.
Many of the top actors of today have long, storied histories in the limelight. Cruise helped “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” gross over $220 million at the box office this year. This is the 56-year-old’s 33rd leading role in his lifetime, according to the Internet Movie Database. When combined, all of the films with Cruise as the lead star have grossed more than $3.5 billion.
Other accomplished actors behind some of this year’s highest grossing films include the seemingly workaholic Adam Sandler, who voices Dracula in the animated feature “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” and Denzel Washington, who plays Robert McCall in “The Equalizer 2.” Including these roles, the actors have appeared in 35 and 33 leading roles in their lifetimes, respectively.
Not all of the actors starring in the highest grossing films of 2018 have had such storied careers. Constance Wu was perhaps best known for her work on the ABC television series “Fresh Off the Boat” before striking box office gold with her performance as Rachel Chu in “Crazy Rich Asians,” which grossed over $173 million. Twenty-nine-year-old Alden Ehrenreich also appeared in his first leading role in a feature film, playing Han Solo in Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which grossed more than $213 million.
To determine the stars who helped movies become the highest grossing films of 2018, 24/7 Wall St. combined the domestic box office grosses for all of the films in which an actor starred in the leading role in 2018, according to the Internet Movie Database as of Nov. 26. To be included in this data, each film needed to have at least 10,000 user ratings on IMDb. “Leading role” refers to the first-billed among each movie’s cast.