"Twilight" stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have been ranked at #1 and #3, respectively, on Forbes' list of the top ten most-bankable actors in Hollywood, joining stars from other recent blockbuster franchises including Shia LaBeuof ("Transformers"), Johnny Depp ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter") and Robert Downey, Jr. ("Iron Man").
The top ten were culled from a list of the 40 highest-paid actors in Hollywood who have starred in at least three wide-release non-animated movies in the last five years. The total operating costs of each actor's last three films (released prior to May 1, 2011) were then divided by each actor's total compensation for said films (including back-end) to come up with a "return-on-investment" amount for each dollar they were paid. Based on that formula Stewart easily topped the list, with her last three films ("Eclipse", "New Moon" and "Adventureland") boasting a $55.83 average return for every dollar she received in compensation.
Stewart's co-star/real-life paramour Pattinson came in with a lower average of $39.43, good for #3, as only one of his last three films (released prior to May 1, 2011) was an entry in the "Twilight" series ("Eclipse"). The others were "Remember Me" and "Water For Elephants", both of which proved to be profitable enterprises but neither of which could come close to matching the grosses of the blockbuster "Twilight" films.
Coming in at #2, rather surprisingly, is "Dark Knight Rises" star Anne Hathaway, whose last three non-animated starring roles were "Love and Other Drugs", "Alice in Wonderland" and "Bride Wars" (Forbes presumably failed to include "Valentine's Day" in the average due to its ensemble nature). Guess which one of those movies jacked up her return-on-investment average to a whopping $45.67?
The rest of the actors to make the cut are as follows (listed in order of rank): Daniel Radcliffe ($34.24 average), Shia LaBeouf ($29.40), Robert Downey, Jr. ($18.74), Matt Damon ($15.83), Cate Blanchett ($15.17), Meryl Streep ($13.54) and Johnny Depp ($12.48).
Of course, the list is flawed for the simple fact that several of the actors who made the top ten are there because they recently toplined one or more major franchise entries with a huge amount of built-in appeal. For instance, would audiences really have stayed away from the "Transformers" movies if a young actor other than Shia LaBeouf had been playing the lead? There's obviously no way of knowing, but rationally speaking it's doubtful that LaBeouf's presence can in any major way account for the enormous grosses of those Michael Bay blockbusters.
To be fair, It bears pointing out that LaBeouf's two non-"Transformers" movies to make the cut - "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "Eagle Eye" - weren't exactly failures at the box-office, and both were undoubtedly sold, at least in part, on his marquee appeal.
So, which actors do you think truly merit a spot on the Forbes list, and which do you believe were incidental to the success of their last few films? Sound off with your opinions in the comments!