The highest paid actors in Hollywood, and their biggest flops

Daniel Sarath
Published: January 22, 2015

Some of the biggest movies of 2014 made close to half a billion worldwide. The Hunger Games, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America all came incredibly close. But how much do the stars of these (and other) box office smashes take home for their work? Forbes recently released a list of the highest paid actors from last year, providing an answer to that question. However, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for some of the industry's most lucrative stars, so we have also taken a look at these highest paid actors' biggest financial flops at the box office.

Robert Downey Jr.

The Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. turned in around $75 million last year having signed on for the movie's sequel and cashed in on the remainder of Iron Man 3's earnings. However, in the same year, his film Te Judge hhad an extremely poor return. Opening the Toronto Film Festival, it was pegged as an Oscar favourite, but it managed to only make $13 million of its $50 million budget back when it opened in wide release in October.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

Making the transition from wrestling to the big screen, The Rock has gone from strength to strength. His star turns in The Fast And The Furious franchise have made him one of the most bankable leading men - demonstrated by his $52 million earnings in 2014. But this wasn't always the case. His movie Faster, a $24 million action vehicle, opened at only 15th place in the UK - way behind its competitors Limitless and The Eagle. It also made only $8m on its opening weekend stateside.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper hasn't had a bad few years, has he? Scoring a hat-trick of Oscar nominations with American Sniper as well as voicing Rocket Raccoon in Marvel's big 2014 release Guardians Of The Galaxy, he understandably took home a whopping $46 million in earnings. But it was only a few years ago that Case 39 bombed. Appearing alongside Renee Zellweger, the horror film made a disappointing $5 million from 2200 cinemas in the US. In the UK, it opened at 13th place, eclipsed by the release of Alice In Wonderland and Avatar's continued hype.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Proving that heavy-weight dramas can also be financial successful, DiCaprio has spent the last decade making great movies that have also, predominantly, been box office smashes - Django Unchained, Inception, Shutter Island and The Wolf Of Wall Street to name but a few. He was one of the highest paid actors last year with $39 million. But there was one film of his that didn't do so well: Body Of Lies. Ridley Scott's $70 million political thriller only made $12 million back in its entire worldwide earnings.


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Chris Hemsworth

Another Marvel star was among 2014's highest paid actors: Thor's Chris Hemsworth, who made $37 million last year. His success doesn't appear to have carried on into 2015 though. The cyber thriller Blackhat, a long-gestating project from visionary director Micheal Mann which had a $70 million budget, only managed to make $4 million on its opening weekend last week. Could it do better here in the UK?

Liam Neeson

Becoming an action hero was one of the better career choices Liam Neeson has made having accumulated $36 million last year (his pay for Taken 3 alone was almost $20m). One of the worse career choices, however, was Third Person, a film written and directed by Crash's Paul Haggis that made a measly £3500 here in the UK. It came in at 10th in the box office behind Planes: Fire And Rescure, which had already been out for four months.

Ben Affleck

Today, Ben Affleck is among the finest working talents in Hollywood with an illustrious body of directorial work and turns in acclaimed dramas like Gone Girl. His work earned him $35 million last year. But times weren't always steady for the new Batman; his performance in Gigli almost killed off his career. It made just $7 million worldwide, a pitiable £24,000 of which came from the United Kingdom.

Christian Bale

Former Batman star Christian Bale made a staggering $35 million in his first year out of the suit thanks to his work on the Bible epic Exodus from director Ridley Scott. Therefore, he doesn't seem to have been too affected by the disappointment of Out Of The Furnace which placed at only 13th in the UK box office - killed off by Oscar favourites The Wolf Of Wall Street and 12 Years A Slave - with £314,000.

Will Smith

The charming and charismatic Will Smith is one of Hollywood's most beloved leading man. So much so that you can put him in almost any movie and he's guaranteed to make money. It's for this reason that Smith earned $32 million last year. It's also for this reason that one of Smith's few flops, Ali, is such an anomaly. His Oscar contending biopic of Muhammad Ali only made $14 million in its US release and only placed 3rd in the UK film charts. (behind Monsters Inc. and Oceans Eleven).

Mark Wahlberg

Star of the upcoming The Gambler, which is out in cinemas here tomorrow, Mark Wahlberg made a tidy sum of $32 million last year having collected on the successes of Lone Survivor and the most recent Transformers movie. They are a considerable improvement over his crime drama Broken City with Russell Crowe, which made only a quarter of its $35 million budget back.

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