The Most Overpaid Star in Hollywood Is…

'Forbes' has released their 2013 tally of which actors don't deserve to make quite so much money

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Adam Sandler on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' on May 16, 2013

Money-meets-Hollywood list-maker extraordinaire Forbes has released their 2013 list of the most overpaid actors — and this year the booby prize goes to Adam Sandler.

As Forbes points out, Sandler is part of a shrinking roster of stars who command huge paychecks for every project, but the movies that helped set those pay quotes don’t always justify the money. For Sandler, the most prominent examples of that wasted money are Jack & Jill and That’s My Boy. “We estimate that for every dollar Sandler was paid on his last three movies, the films returned an average of $3.40,” Forbes‘ Dorothy Pomerantz writes.

Here’s who rounded out the rest of the top 10:

  • Katherine Heigl
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Nicholas Cage
  • Kevin James
  • Denzel Washington
  • Steve Carell
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Matt Damon
  • Ryan Reynolds

Of all the lists that Forbes releases, this is perhaps the one that is hardest to draw on for a big-picture meditation about Hollywood. The list only accounts for pay, expenses and profits, so actors who may boost prestige (Matt Damon, for example) may be worth something intangible that’s not factored into the equation. The list contains a mix of genders and a mix of comedy- and action-stars; and it’s also a ratio of pay-to-return, which means not-quite-as-expensive stars can make the list. So, unlike the publication’s lists of top-earning stars or a list of top-earning movies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that, say, women are underpaid or that studios depend too much on action. The only big take-away, then, is a basic of most economic markets: past performance does not guarantee future results.

And in the end Adam Sandler himself provides a great example of that truth. The Forbes list looks at three years worth of work, but their master ranking of earnings is put together over the summer, which means that the three-year period ended June 1, 2013. That was just a few weeks before Sandler (and Kevin James) appeared in Grown Ups 2, a movie that has grossed nearly $247 million worldwide — which just might keep Sandler off of next year’s list.

(MORE: The 10 Worst Movies of 2013)


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Factory and Grill)…Just Watching The Lovely Couple Baking Together All
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…It’s Always Worth The Trip To Visit Them In They’re Historic Key Lime
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Smiles Are Always Warm And Inviting.
....“Kutcharitaville” You’re The Best And We Love You!….
…Now You Know Who Is The Hottest!…And Baby Let Me Tell You, Mrs. Anita Is No Act…She’s The Real Thing Baby!…
….Located Near The Biltmore House And Estate…..
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….Just Think, Kutchie’s Goody Goody Cheese Burgers, First Billed As “The
Original Cheese Burgers In Paradise!” Way Back In 1974 By "Kutchie's
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“Buffett”…Kutchie’s Version Of “Cheese Burgers In Paradise” Came A Few
Years Before Yours Did, “Dog Ate Your Home-Work?"!!...Yeah, Jimmy, It's
The Same Kutchie Pelaez,-The Famous Deep Sea Underwater And Treasure
Explorer/Megalodon Shark Tooth Hunter.
Who Worked Along With "Mel Fisher", "Captain Tony Tarracino", "Yankee
Jack", "Michael McCloud", "Alabama Jack" , "Vito Bertucci" and Many Others Of Key West Fame.
….That Alone Is Quite A Pretty Big Deal If You Ask Me. ….”Hell”,..It’s A Pretty Big Deal Even If You Don’t Ask Me.
….Research, Continually Confirms The Fact That The Pelaez’s World
Famous Key Lime Pies Truly Increases Married Couple’s Sex Rates By No Less
Than 300% Respectively. It Also Shows That Said Sexual Encounters Are
Much, Much More Enjoyable Than They Ever Were Before The Consumption Of
The Pelaez’s Key Lime Pies.
On A Sad Note. It Has Been Reported That The Consumption Of The Famous
Key Lime Pies Are Quite Detrimental To The Practices Of Divorce
Attorneys. But, That’s Not Bad. Hell That’s Good News.
…Not A Sad Note, A Happy Note! The Pelaez’s Pies Are A Win-Win-Win For Everyone Involved!
….I Guess You Could Say What Has Been Said Many Times Before,…”AHHH” The
Magic Of The Lovely Anita Pelaez And Her Key Lime Pies….
….I Do Know First Hand That The Pelaez’s Famous Key Lime Pies Have
The Ability To Turn Small Stream Squirters Into Major League Gushers Or
Some Might Call Them “Niagara Falls”. Holly Molly, Let Those Good Times
Flow, Baby!
....It's No Wonder Everyone Believes That Kutchie Pelaez Is The Most Interesting
Man In The World....."Damn He Really Is" For Sure!
.....That "Kutchie", He Looks Marvelous Dahling!...

...."Hemingway", Had Nothing On The "KutchMan"...


not "especially J Aniston" - a lot of them are but why did you have to mention "Brad Pitt kicking her to the curb" - you're mean and hitting below the belt.  You sound envious of people's success - even though they might have started as fast food workers at least they're able to move up and be successful. There is nothing wrong with buying big house - you would too IF you win the lotto.


all of them are overpaid.  especially Jennifer Anniston.  who is financing her to be in all these movies that bomb, brad pitt as a gift for kicking her to the curb.  when I read about them with 10 to 20 million dollar houses, designer clothes and cars that cost more than a simple track home, poor people begging for food, fights breaking out at walmart over a t.v. yep they are over paid, the whole of them,  when they were probably fast food workers before making it big.


If my boss got back $3.40 for every dollar he paid me ... He'd ask where he could hire a few more.

3 to 1 beats 1 to 3 everyday.


Don't blame Sandler, blame the nepotism of Jewish Hollywood who finance and allow him to make such crappy movies. And continue to pay him an excessive amount of money to do so. There are Blacks in Hollywood who would run circles around Sandler in the acting field, but audiences will never know that because the Jewish community in Hollywood don't, and won't, pay them anything close to Sandler. Nor finance movies by people of color to be made in Hollywood. That's the reason why I don't go see so-called "Oscar winning movies" in theaters because their only there to line someone else's pockets like Sandler's


Nothing funny about this guy. Stupid, inane roles, like the golfer who uses a hockey stick, etc.

He deserves no accolades, for anything comedic !


Sandler wasn't funny on SNL, his movies suck (along with all the others on the list). I have never seen an Adam Sandler movie and I never intend to.  All his humor is "potty humor". It's infantile, just like his fans.


All the celebrities, particularly the "heavy hitters" are grossly overpaid.  As are sports celebs.  As long as they bring in the numbers, the few, including Sandler and Stallone, et all...will continue to get these outrageous paychecks.  Hopefully at least a few will do the right thing, and donate some of their excess to charities that sorely need it.


Frankly, I can't bear to watch Adam Sandler movies. HOWEVER, he funds his own movies with his own production company. So how can Forbes, a revered business publication, suggest that a business owner who puts his own money into his own business  be overpaid. That makes no sense. For the rest of the list, not a bad assessment. With exception to Matt Damon and Denzel Washington. They have both buoyed the movie industry with films that have crushed it at the box office. So overpaid is hardly a fair assessment. I think someone at Forbes is just jealous.


Sandler is the unworthiest of them all! 



"I have never seen an Adam Sandler movie and I never intend to."

then how can you even begin to pretend like you're an authority on whether or not his movies suck? you're a fuc*king moron and a hypocrite. get your head out of your sphincter and get a clue. jesus. smfh


You're an idiot, and you proved it all in one short paragraph. You claim "his movies suck", then you go on to say "I have never seen an Adam Sandler movie and I never intend to.



As an example, look up the history of Michael Armstrong, former CEO of the old AT&T (which was later taken over by SBC, who then renamed the new company AT&T). He went on a merger spree, turning the long-distance company into the largest cable company in America at one point (for a very brief time). He spent so much of the company's money and borrowed funds so relentlessly and recklessly that his plan backfired. He was forced to spin off the cable assets to Comcast (which has since taken over NBC Universal).

I can't find the exact numbers now, but I remember reading at the time that Armstrong had ended up losing something like $100 billion in value through his deals, buying up assets at overly generous prices, then getting forced to give them up when the company began to flounder. Was Armstrong punished for such incompetence? No. He made tens or maybe even hundreds of millions in overall compensation.

The old AT&T was so weakened that it was taken over by SBC (which had been spun off from AT&T years earlier). SBC saw the value of the AT&T name, so they changed the name of the new company to what is today known as AT&T. But it's not really the same company. It sure isn't Armstrong's company, and yet he was paid very handsomely for his dealmaking. Many CEOs do this. They engage in mergers and acquisitions, in part because it results in massive bonuses and windfalls for upper management, often in the tens of millions of dollars. This happens whether or not the deal is a success, which is often not the case. This recklessness weakens many U.S. companies and though it might be a bit of a stretch, that same type of attitude (of making obscene money by shifting virtual assets around without actually creating anything of value) contributed to the banking collapse of 2007-2008, which nearly destroyed the U.S. and world economy. I'm much more concerned about those overpayments than whether some actor or athlete earns his or her keep.

Are those actors and athletes overpaid? The superstars probably are. But at least they aren't threatening to destroy the economy with their reckless acts.



A lot of CEOs are grossly overpaid too, even when they run their companies into the ground, losing millions of dollars for investors and forcing thousands of people out of work.


Based on the pay per dollar earned metric being used, Sandler had been paid more for more bombs than Travolta.  And although Travolta has bombed in a few movies, more of his movies have been bona fide hits than Sandler ever had.  So overall, Sandler hasn't been a good value for studios.

This story doesn't really surprise me.  Sandler's movies suck far more often than they don't.