Film awards season is upon us, but this year, Johnny Depp has received a less-than-thrilling distinction. The actor has earned the top spot on Forbes magazine’s list of Hollywood’s most overpaid actors of 2015.
While the list isn’t a coveted honor, it’s not all bad news for the actor. He’s joined on the list by other big names, including Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, and Brad Pitt. If you have to find yourself with this dubious honor, you might as well be in good company.
Forbes puts together the list annually, looking each actors’ last three films prior to June 2015. Anything animated, however, is excluded, and the actor must actually have a starring role. On top of that, only films that were released on least 2,000 screens are considered. To rank the actors, the difference between their films’ global box offices and estimated production costs are compared to their compensation for the projects.
For Depp, the picture was bleak. Forbes found that he returned just $1.20 for ever $1 that he is paid. His return was much lower than any of the others on the list; in second place, for example, Washington, reportedly returned $6.50 for every $1 paid. Following behind in the top ten (in order) were Will Ferrell, Neeson, Will Smith, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Pitt, Ben Affleck, and Tom Cruise.
While the Forbes list is interesting, it’s not a perfect measure of how big of a box office draw these actors truly are. Not only is the sample size small, there are a variety of variables that influence what makes audiences choose to see a particular film. On top of that, the production budget isn’t determined simply by the actors’ salary.
Knowing this, Depp likely won’t be crushed by the news, but if he is, he can console himself by looking at his collection of awards — or by checking the balance of his presumably hefty bank account.