Summer is known for its blockbuster movie releases. Hollywood studios sink millions of dollars into producing, marketing, and distributing some of the year’s biggest movies, hoping to strike gold at the box office.
Of course certain films will perform better than others, and one of the most important keys to success is casting. Many of the biggest summer blockbusters each year feature top movie stars, who help draw moviegoers to the theaters. The most captivating actors manage to deliver box-office smash hits again and again.
24/7 Tempo has identified the biggest summer movie stars since 1980 based on total domestic box-office gross of the movies they starred in. To determine the rank, only the top-10 grossing films released during each summer since 1980, according to Box Office Mojo, were considered.
Actors with major roles in popular franchises often see the greatest returns at the box office. Landing a leading part in a movie series such as the Dark Knight Trilogy or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can result in recurring casting in movies that are all but guaranteed to be box-office successes.
Franchise films are not the only movies to do well during the summer, however. Mel Gibson’s biggest summer blockbuster was M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs.” Tom Hanks’ was “Forrest Gump.” While both of these actors have starred in franchises — Lethal Weapon and Toy Story, respectively — their top-grossing summer movies were one-off roles.
To determine the biggest summer movie stars since 1980, 24/7 Tempo looked at the top-10 grossing movies based on domestic box office gross each year since 1980, derived from data from Box Office Mojo. Domestic box office gross, adjusted to reflect 2019 movie ticket prices, was then combined for each actor listed as a top actor in more than one film.