Special Report

Most Bankable Actors of 2018

Detailed findings

While each of the most bankable actors is active, only eleven released a new film this past year in which they star in the lead role. These include the 56-year-old Tom Cruise, whose film “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” grossed $220 million in the U.S., making it the year’s seventh highest grossing movie. Sandra Bullock also scored a hit with “Ocean’s 8,” which grossed nearly doubled it’s reported production budget of $70 million in the U.S.

Comedy has also been a lucrative genre for actors this past year. Melissa McCarthy had a more modest success with “Life of the Party,” which followed her previous box office successes “The Boss” and “Spy!” Jack Black also did well with his “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” which grossed over $68 million domestically.

Perhaps surprisingly, the comedic roles in movies that make the most money are often in animated films. Despite starring in movies for over 20 years, Adam Sandler’s biggest hit to date is the computer-animated “Hotel Transylvania 2.” The follow up – “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” – grossed nearly as much upon its release this past summer. Similarly, Owen Wilson, who has found major success starring in movies such as “Wedding Crashers” and “The Darjeeling Limited,” has not starred in a more financially successful movie than the animated “Cars.”


To determine the most bankable actors as of 2018, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the average box office per film of 2,383 actors with data from the Internet Movie Database. Only films in which the actor has a lead acting credit were considered for his or her average box office gross, and only films with at least 10,000 user ratings on IMDb were included. Actors with fewer than five unique lead credits — excluding sequels — were not considered. Actors were also excluded from consideration if 25% or more of their lead acting credits were in sequels to their own movies. As a result, actors who star in major franchises but may not claim primary responsibility for each film’s success – such as Daisy Ridley who has starred in the last two Star Wars films – were excluded. If an actor met the qualifications, however, their films that are sequels or included in a franchise were included in the average gross. Finally, actors who had not starred in at least two movies that had grossed at least $100 million since 2010 or one movie grossing at least $100 million since 2013 were excluded.

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