For the second year in a row, Captain America saves the bottom line. Chris Evans is once again the best actor for the buck as his movies returned an average $135.80 at the box office for every $1 he was paid.
Thanks to his modest-paying titular roles in Marvel’s top-grossing Captain America flicks, Evans leads this year’s ranking of Hollywood’s best investments ahead of Chris Pratt ($125.40 return for every $1 paid). Pratt has benefited from the sizeable box office tallies of monster hits such as Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy to earn a formidable return ratio. His comparatively low pay for films negotiated before the Parks and Recreation actor was a silver screen star aid his ROI.
To compile our rundown of Hollywood’s Best Actors For The Buck, we used earnings estimates from our Celebrity 100 list. We looked at the last three films each actor starred in before June 2016 (the end of our Celebrity 100 scoring period). We did not include animated films, movies where the actor appeared in a very small role, or movies that were released on fewer than 2,000 screens.
We then deducted the estimated production budget from the global box office for each film (using numbers from Box Office Mojo and other sources) to come up with a limited definition of each movie’s operating income. We added together the estimated total compensation for each star on the three movies and the operating income from each movie and then divided the total operation income by total pay to come up with the final return on investment number.
Four of the 10 best actors for the buck are women, including third-ranked Scarlett Johansson, who returns $88.60 at the box office for every $1 paid. Between Marvel ensemble movies and her solo success in Lucy, which grossed $463 million, Johansson’s box office total for her last three films nears $2.4 billion. Her pay equates to a little over 1% of that, FORBES estimates.
She ranks just ahead of Mila Kunis. The Bad Moms star is a good investment; she renders an impressive $49.50 at the box office for every $1 paid despite 2015’s in-the-red Jupiter Ascending.
It can be rare for female leads to pocket the outsized paychecks their male counterparts earn, but they, too, can offer remarkable box office returns. When that happens, their comparatively low pay and great box office grosses means they appear a good investment.
Evans is one of three actors who star in Marvel movies, alongside Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. (No. 8, $18.40 at the box office for every $1 paid). Movies such as Captain America: Civil War continue to clear $1 billion at the global box office; a star such as Evans earned an estimated 1% of that for the film.
Vin Diesel rounds out the top five, returning $32 at the box office for every $1 paid. He maintained a healthy return ratio thanks to the profitable Furious 7, despite the disappointing performance of The Last Witch Hunter, which grossed just $147 million on a $90 million production budget. [Source]