In a list that weighs the amount of money a star is paid for a film against the film’s profits, Forbes found that Murphy is the most overpaid actor, and Barrymore the most overpaid actress (and overpaid star overall) in the business.
Barrymore saw her 2010 romantic comedy “Going the Distance” earn just $17.8 million in ticket sales. Her 2009 movies “Everybody’s Fine” and “Whip It” fared worse.Forbes.com said the actress returns just 40 cents for every dollar movie studios spend for her participation. By contrast Murphy’s films returned $2.70 for each dollar he was paid.
Compared to Barrymore, “Murphy is a financial superstar,” wrote Forbes.com’s Dorothy Pomerantz who compiled the list. But “Beverly Hills Cop” (1984) star Murphy has struggled in recent years, too, with bombs like “Imagine That” and “Meet Dave.” He might take solace in his promising new film “Tower Heist” and upcoming gig hosting the Oscars, Forbes said.
The magazine compiled the list from Hollywood’s 40 top-earning actors, and based it on each star’s compensation on his or her last three films and the operating income on those films. From that, Forbes.com derived a return-on-investment.
Oscar winners were not immune from the dubious distinction of most-overpaid, either.
Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington and Reese Witherspoon all made the top 10, Witherspoon large owed her spot to her starring role in the James L. Brooks disaster “How Do You Know,” which Forbes said cost an estimated $120 million to produce but brought in only $50 million worldwide.