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)