Movie List

20 Highest Grossing Actors Ever

September 22, 2019
11 min read

It is always fascinating to analyze the box office collections of movies and actors. Why? Because you find out so many things that you might have no idea about. For instance, isn’t it surprising to see Samuel L. Jackson on top of this list. Yes, he is a great actor, but would you count him as a huge movie star? In my book, a movie star is someone whose name alone is enough to guarantee a good opening for the film that he or she is starring in. I am not sure if Mr. Jackson can single-handedly give good box-office numbers to a film. Having said that, he certainly has been smart with his movie selections and never minded playing supporting characters.

What is also very revealing about the list is that most of the actors who have made it are associated with one or more franchises. The top 10 is crowded by MCU stars due to the massive popularity of the franchise. The biggest name missing from this list: Leonardo DiCaprio. Reason: He hasn’t done a single franchise film yet. With all that said, here is the list of the top highest-grossing actors of all time:

20. Jeremy Renner – $9.76B

Yes, I know you’re thinking that Jeremy Renner is one of the main Avengers. Him making it to the list is no surprise. But what you should know is that Renner’s involvement with the MCU is not the only reason the actor finds himself on this list. He is also a part of the Jason Bourne franchise, has starred in two ‘Mission: Impossible‘ movies, featured in the David O’Russell film ‘American Hustle’, and many other successful films. Renner’s movies have grossed a total of $9.76 billion at the box office till date.

19. Dwayne Johnson – $9.79B

One of the biggest Hollywood superstars at the moment and 2019’s highest-earning male movie star, Dwayne Johnson has truly forged a career for himself. His association with any franchise lifts the product’s potential to perform well in the market by quite a few degrees. From the ‘Mummy‘ franchise, with which he started his career, to the ‘Fast And The Furious‘ and ‘Jumanji‘ franchises, Johnson’s inclusion in a film is sheer box office gold. His films have grossed a total of $9.79 billion at the box office.

18. Idris Elba – $986B

Idris Elba is a veteran English actor who has been a part of some wonderful films and TV shows over the years. However, his placement in this list is mainly because of his association with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he plays the Asgardian god Heimdall. Moreover, Elba has also provided his voice for the highly successful 2016 film ‘Jungle Book‘ along with ‘Zootopia‘ and other such popular films. Elba’s cinematic projects have earned a total of $9.86 billion at the box office.

17. Cate Blanchett – $9.87B

One of the greatest actresses of her generation, Cate Blanchett is someone who can fit into almost any role perfectly. Blanchett even managed to play Bob Dylan in the 2007 film ‘I’m Not There’. She finds herself on this list because of her work in the LOTR and the ‘Hobbit’ films, along with the highly successful Indiana Jones movie ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’. The actress has also been a part of the MCU, playing the role of Thor’s sister Hela in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.

16. Tom Cruise – $10.12B

One of the biggest superstars in Hollywood history, it is no surprise that Tom Cruise finds himself among the 20 highest-grossing movie stars of all time. Cruise’s big earners have of course been the ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, all of which have been phenomenal box office successes. The Steven Spielberg film ‘War Of The Worlds’ is also a major contributing factor to Cruise’s box office draws.

15. Vin Diesel – $10.33B

From ‘XXX’ to ‘The Fast And The Furious’, Vin Diesel has been a mega action franchise player for quite some time now. Of course, the high-octane film ‘The Fast And The Furious’ is the main reason why he is on this list. But we should also not forget that Diesel starred in ‘Saving Private Ryan‘, a film that was a thunderous performer at the box office all over the world.

14. Ian McKellen – $10.41B

This English thespian has beaten a lot of Hollywood A-listers to feature so high up this list. Besides rocking his Shakespeare performances on the stage, this veteran actor has also been a part of some of the highest-grossing films in recent years. Of course, his association with the X-Men franchise is a major contributing factor in this regard. Moreover, McKellen also played an important role in the LOTR and ‘The Hobbit’ films. His most recent mega-success has been the 2017 Disney filmBeauty and the Beast‘. McKellen’s films have earned a total of $10.41 billion at the box office.

13. Benedict Cumberbatch – $10.53B

Cumberbatch first came to worldwide attention with his portrayal of the eponymous character in the BBC series ‘Sherlock‘. Later, he took on the role of Dr. Strange in the MCU, which is definitely the major reason for his place on this list. Cumberbatch can also be seen in the ‘Hobbit’ films and ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’. The movies he has appeared in have managed to collect an astounding $10.53 billion at the box office.

12. Mark Ruffalo – $10.60B

Mark Ruffalo would have ranked much higher on this list had MCU released any standalone Hulk film in these years. However, the star has still been a part of the ‘Avengers’ films, most of which have crossed the $1 billion mark in box office grosses. Another reason why he might have fallen behind his other MCU comrades is that Ruffalo did not have a role to play in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Apart from MCU, the actor has performed in other commercially successful films like ‘Shutter Island‘, ‘Now You See Me‘, ‘Collateral‘ and others. Ruffalo’s films boast of a solid $10.6 billion earnings from the box office.

11. Johnny Depp – $10.68B

Johnny Depp might now be going through some rather serious financial troubles, but it cannot be denied that he is among the most popular actors on the planet. Since his appearance in the TV series ’21 Jump Street’, Depp has been a heartthrob because of his charisma and insanely stunning looks. However, we also cannot deny his supreme acting talent which gives him the ability to completely immerse himself into the characters he portrays. Most of Depp’s box office earnings come from the ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean‘ franchise. Other like ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald‘ have also been massive contributors.

10. Chris Pratt – $10.95B

Chris Pratt first came into prominence in the critically acclaimed sitcom ‘Parks And Recreations’ created by Amy Poehler. Pratt made a brilliantly successful switch from television to films with his roles in the MCU vehicle ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy‘ and ‘The Lego Movie‘. Moreover, the actor also managed to bag the lead role in the relaunched ‘Jurassic Park‘ franchise with the movies ‘Jurassic World‘ and ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘. The total box office collection of all of Pratt’s films is around $10.95 billion.

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9. Chris Hemsworth – $10.98B

Before this Australian actor got cast in the Marvel movies, we only knew him from the film ‘Rush’ where he plays the character of the famous race car driver James Hunt. However, as soon as Chris Hemsworth appeared as the God of Thunder in the MCU, he became one of the most recognized actors in the world. Most of his worldwide grosses of $10.98 billion have come through his performance in the MCU movies.

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8. Andy Serkis – $11.04B

If there is one person who has managed to find a place on this list owing to his voice acting skills, it has to be Andy Serkis. The actor has lent his voice in the LOTR and ‘The Hobbit’ films as Gollum. In the film ‘King Kong‘ directed by Peter Jackson in 2005, it is Serkis who voices the titular beast. His other major box office draws have been from the films ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, and the MCU film ‘Black Panther‘. Serkis’ films have taken home a whopping $11.04 billion from box office collections.

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7. Chris Evans – $11.11B

Our very own Captain America finds himself at the seventh spot on this list. The three Captain America films and the four Avengers films are the reasons why Chris Evans finds himself ahead of so many other Hollywood superstars. Evans is so closely associated with Captain America that we forget he has played another Marvel character in the past – Johnny Storm in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films. Putting all of his films’ box office collections together, the sum comes to an astounding $11.11 billion.

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6. Bradley Cooper – $11.14B

Bradley Cooper is a performer who is always up for any challenge. His direction, writing, acting and musical talents in the film ‘A Star Is Born‘ has captured hearts all over the world. Moreover, the multi-talented actor also voices Rocket Raccoon in the MCU, a gig which has placed him so high up on this list. His involvement in ‘The Hangover‘ franchise is also another important contributing factor in this regard. The overall collections of Cooper’s films at the box office have been $11.14 billion.

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5. Zoe Saldana – $11.17B

Zoe Saldana is definitely a surprise entry on this list. However, the actress has been a part of some of the most successful films in history, which is the reason she finds herself so high up on the list. Her role as Gamora in the MCU has surely played a major part in her career’s total box office collection. Moreover, she also played the role of Neytiri in ‘Avatar‘, which was the highest-grossing movie of all time till ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ (another highly successful film where we can see Saldana) took the crown.

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4. Don Cheadle – $11.71B

Don Cheadle is, of course, on this list because of his performance in the MCU as War Machine. Other than that, his role in the ‘Ocean’s’ trilogy is another reason why the ‘House Of Lies’ actor finds himself as the fourth highest-grossing actor of all time. The total box office collections from his films have been $11.71 billion.

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3. Scarlett Johansson – $14.24B

Well, it is a given that Scarlett Johansson’s role as Black Widow places her so high up on this list. However, unlike most of her other co-stars who came to prominence with the MCU, Johansson was already one of the biggest actresses in the world even before she entered Marvel’s universe. Besides the MCU films, ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Sing’, ‘Lucy’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘The Horse Whisperer’ are some of the other commercially successful films Johansson has been a part of.

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2. Robert Downey Jr. – $14.39B

RDJ climbed to the top of the Hollywood food chain with his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the MCU. He was a wonderful actor in the 80s and 90s who lost his footing in the industry due to some bad choices in his personal life. But MCU has given him such an image and stature that RDJ has now become the second-highest-grossing actor in film history. His films have collected a total of $14.39 billion.

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1. Samuel L. Jackson – $15.6B

Samuel L. Jackson is one of the most prolific and versatile actors the world has ever seen. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the Tarantinoverse, Jackson traverses every film territory with equal panache. His movies have managed to gross a total of $15.16 billion at the box office.

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