Here are the 15 top-grossing actors in the business according to Hollywood money counter Box Office Mojo. Unfortunately, this list is almost entirely made of male actors in Hollywood, but there is one exception. The list is compiled based on the amount an actor has earned over the course of his or her entire career, so while in a given year actresses occasionally out-earn actors, when looking at a long time period like the length of an acting career, men still earn much more than women.
Curious who made the cut? These are the top grossing actors in Hollywood.
15. Bruce Willis
Action star Bruce Willis has earned $3.2 billion throughout his career. While he’s best known for action movies like Die Hard and Armageddon, the actor has also starred in critically acclaimed films like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and more recently Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. His highest-grossing movie is the iconic 1999 thriller The Sixth Sense, which made $293.5 million. Willis has made a total of 60 movies.
14. Robert De Niro
The actor is still a working legend with 80 movies under his belt. He has grossed $3.2 billion in his lifetime so far. The highest grossing movie is surprisingly Meet the Fockers at $279 million. That probably explains why the great actor doesn’t shy away from crazy comedies like Dirty Grandpa. However, he has been in more classic films including Goodfellas, The Godfather: Part II, and Raging Bull.
13. Robin Williams
The late comedian Robin Williams has earned $3.3 billion during his career. Williams’ highest-earning film was the first Night at the Museum, which shows him playing President Theodore Roosevelt. That movie made $250.9 million and there were two more movies, causing Williams’ posthumous ranking to rise. Williams made 49 movies over the course of his long career with an average gross of $66.9 million each.
12. Gary Oldman
The British actor has been nominated for one Academy Award for Tinker Toy Soldier Spy, and has made 38 movies. He also was most notably in The Dark Knight trilogy as Commissioner Gordon and Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series. His lifetime gross so far is $3.3 billion, and his highest grossing movie is The Dark Knight at $534 million according to Box Office Mojo.
11. Scarlett Johansson
The Hollywood actress is the only woman to make the list and still doesn’t break the top 10. That says a lot about the unequal pay in the industry. So far she has grossed $3.3 billion and has made 22 movies in her lifetime. Her highest grossing movie is Avengers: Age of Ultron at $459 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Perhaps one reason for her financial success is because she notably started making the same amount of money as majority of her male costars in The Avengers franchise.
10. Michael Caine
The actor has 58 movies under his belt dating back to 1980, and two Oscar wins. From that he has grossed $3.4 billion in his lifetime, and his highest grossing movie is The Dark Knight at $538.9 million. It looks like the Batman movies are very good at boosting the income of several actors.
9. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp ranks No. 9 at $3.4 billion in earnings over the course of his career. While the early part of the actor’s career was characterized by more offbeat, lower-earning projects, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise turned Depp from a critic’s darling into a top earner. Depp loves playing the rascally Captain Jack Sparrow so much that he continues to return for sequel after sequel. The first Pirates movie, subtitled The Curse of the Black Pearl, saw Depp nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of the wily rock star pirate. The second movie in the franchise, subtitled Dead Man’s Chest, is Depp’s highest-grossing film, having made $423.3 million at the box office. Depp has made 45 films with an average gross of $74.9 million each.
8. Anthony Daniels
The C-3PO actor was able to move up the ranks over the years thanks the revival of the Star Wars franchise. The actor is not only in the new movie theater releases as the character, but he also does voice over work for the television series including Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales. According to Box Office Mojo, he has grossed $936.7 million and his top movie is Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
7. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise has been trying for a career comeback in recent years after a string of not very well-received films, his unpopular decision to embrace Scientology, and his weird split from wife Katie Holmes. But for most of his career the actor was one of the top-earners in the business and had several critically acclaimed movies under his belt to boot.
Over the course of his career Cruise has earned $3.6 billion at the box office, with his top earner being Steven Spielberg’s remake of War of the Worlds co-starring Dakota Fanning. That movie made $234.3 million. The Mission Impossible films also performed excellently at the box office, all making close to or above $200 million each. Cruise has made a total of 37 movies with an average gross of $98.5 million each.
6. Eddie Murphy
Comedian Eddie Murphy may seem like a surprising addition to this list given that not much has been heard from the actor lately, but for years his comedies couldn’t fail at the box office. Murphy has made $3.8 billion at the box office during his career, with his highest-grossing film being the voice role of Donkey in Shrek 2, which made $441.2 million. The actor has made 39 movies with an average gross of $97.7 million each. Aside from the Shrek films, the 1984 comedy classic Beverly Hills Cop made $234.8 million, making it his second highest-grossing movie. Plans for a fourth Beverly Hills Cop have been announced so the comedian should be making a return to the big-screen soon.
5. Robert Downey Jr.
Coming in at No. 5 is Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. The actor has grossed $3.9 billion over the course of his career, owing the majority of his earnings to the Marvel Iron Man films. The Iron Man franchise is one of the top-earning film franchises of all time. Downey also stars as Iron Man in The Avengers movies. The actor has made a total of 53 films with an average gross of $74.5 million each. He has plans to continue playing Iron Man for Marvel, so his earnings will keep piling up in the coming years and he’ll probably rank higher on this list soon.
4. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman has one of the most iconic voices in Hollywood and often plays characters that are wise or the voice of reason. He played God in the Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, won an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, and his narration made the Antarctic documentary March of the Penguins popular. The actor has grossed $4.5 billion at the box office over the course of his long career. He’s made 61 movies, earning an average of $73.2 million each. Being cast as Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night trilogy really helped Freeman rake in the dough, as The Dark Knight is his highest-grossing picture at $534.9 million. The Dark Knight Rises comes in second at $448 million.
3. Tom Hanks
The actor has had a long, profitable, and critically acclaimed career. He’s won Oscars two years in a row, one in 1994 for Philadelphia and one in 1995 for Forrest Gump. Hanks has earned a whopping $4.5 billion over the course of his career. His 46 films have grossed an average of $97.8 million each. The actor’s highest-grossing film is a voice role, with Pixar’s Toy Story 3 making $415 million at the box office. For non-animated movies, Forrest Gump came in on top, making $330 million during its run in theaters.
2. Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is another actor who benefited from an association with Marvel. He plays the leader of the Avengers, Nick Fury and The Avengers is his highest-grossing movie. In total, the actor has grossed $4.9 billion at the box office over the course of his career. He also has cult appeal for his work in the Tarantino films Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, plus the B-movie Snakes on the Plane. He’s grossing an average of $69.4 million for his 70 films.
1. Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is one of the most endearing box office powerhouses in Hollywood, having been a staple of hits like Star Wars and Indiana Jones since the late ’70s. Over the course of his career the actor has earned $4.9 billion at the box office. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is his highest-grossing movie with $936 million in earnings, but all of the original Star Wars movies he appears in and the Indiana Jones franchise have performed admirably as well. Ford has been in 41 movies that have grossed an average of $118 million each.
Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.
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