10 of the Top-Grossing Movie Stars of All Time
Not every movie can be a hit, as Hollywood stars know all too well. When it comes to choosing projects, every actor is likely to make a mistake or two. But there are a select few names who have managed to make up for their duds by racking up a resume of hugely profitable titles over their years on the big screen. According to Box Office Mojo, these 10 actors have earned the most total money at the box office, by starring in everything from high-profile blockbusters to indie dramas throughout their careers. Below, check out the top-grossing movie stars of all time.
Note: These figures account for the total gross of all of the movies in an actor’s entire career, not how much they’re paid per movie. The numbers reflect U.S. box office takes only and are not adjusted for inflation.
10. Scarlett Johansson
Total gross: $3.33 billion
Johansson is the newest name on the list of the 10 top-grossing actors of all time, following her roles in high-earning blockbusters like Captain America: Civil War and The Jungle Book. Per Box Office Mojo, the actress’s movies have earned a total gross of $3.3 billion at the box office.
Johansson’s inclusion in the exclusive group is notable for two reasons. She’s the only woman in the top 10, making her the highest-grossing actress of all time by a significant lead. The next female name on the list doesn’t show up until No. 19, with Cameron Diaz. At 31 years old, she’s also the youngest name on the list by a whopping 20 years — the second youngest is her 51-year-old Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr.
9. Michael Caine
Total gross: $3.34 billion
Caine takes the ninth spot in the highest-grossing actors ranking, bringing in a total of $3.34 billion over the span of his career. His inclusion shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as the actor has held notable roles in hugely profitable franchises, like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. He’s also appeared in a variety of commercially successful blockbusters, like 2010’s Inception and 2014’s Interstellar.
8. Johnny Depp
Total gross: $3.36 billion
Though he has struggled to release a hit in recent years, plenty of Depp’s previous movies have been far more successful. Of course, the actor owes a sizable chunk of his box office earnings to his leading role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. As Box Office Mojo reports, Dead Man’s Chest — the second installment of the film series, released in 2006 — remains Depp’s highest-grossing movie ever, with a total domestic gross of $423.3 million.
7. Tom Cruise
Total gross: $3.58 billion
Cruise takes the spot of the seventh highest-ranking actor of all time. The actor has brought in a total of $3.58 billion throughout his career, thanks partly to his iconic role in the famous Mission Impossible franchise. But surprisingly, his top-grossing title isn’t a franchise flick, but a standalone one: 2005’s War of the Worlds, which earned $234.3 million domestically.
6. Eddie Murphy
Total gross: $3.81 billion
Murphy has starred in several franchises throughout his career, including the Beverly Hills Cop series and the Nutty Professor films. But his most profitable franchise is one in which you don’t even see his face. You guessed it — Shrek. Murphy lends his role to the character of Donkey in the beloved kids franchise, and the gig has proven to be a major moneymaker. Case in point? Per Box Office Mojo, Shrek 2 alone earned $441.2 million domestically.
5. Robert Downey, Jr.
Total gross: $3.94 billion
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Downey nabs a spot within the top five highest-grossing actors of all time. The actor’s films have earned a total of $3.94 billion at the box office, obviously largely due to his key role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to his gig as Tony Stark in both the Iron Man franchise and the coinciding Avengers series, Downey is not only one of the top-grossing movie stars of all time, he’s also the highest-paid actor of last year.
4. Tom Hanks
Total gross: $4.34 billion
Hanks isn’t just one of the most lovable actors in Hollywood, he’s also one of the most profitable. In addition to his roles in two major franchises, The Da Vinci Code and Toy Story, the actor has starred in a myriad of commercially successful, critically acclaimed standalone films like Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, and The Polar Express. With an average gross of $98.7 million per movie, Hanks has earned a total of $4.34 billion at the box office throughout his lengthy career.
3. Morgan Freeman
Total gross: $4.43 billion
Freeman has appeared in so many movies over the year, it’s no surprise that he has nabbed the spot of the third top-grossing actor of all time. Among his box office hits are a mix of franchises and standalone flicks, including The Dark Knight trilogy, 2003’s Bruce Almighty, and 2014’s The Lego Movie and Lucy. His highest-grossing film so far is The Dark Knight, which earned $534.9 million at the domestic box office.
2. Samuel L. Jackson
Total gross: $4.64 billion
With total box office earnings of over $4.6 billion dollars, Jackson is the second highest-grossing actor of all time. The star can likely attribute a good chunk of his earnings to his role as Nick Fury in the MCU, which he has reprised in Iron Man 2, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and the first two Avengers movies. Prior to his Marvel days, he also appeared in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the xXx franchise.
1. Harrison Ford
Total gross: $4.87 billion
Ford takes the title of the highest-grossing actor of all time, and it’s not too difficult to see why. The actor has starred in several profitable franchises, including the iconic Indiana Jones and Star Wars film series. Given his many high-profile roles, it’s no wonder that Ford has earned a sizable average of $118.8 million per movie throughout his career. But his most profitable movie to date only premiered last year: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned a total of $936.7 million at the domestic box office.