Drew Barrymore knocks Will Ferrell off top of lowest earners chart

Forbes magazine's list of the lowest-grossing stars is headed by star of box-office flops Going the Distance and Whip It

If your name is Will Ferrell, today is a (relatively) good day. The star of The Land of the Lost and The Other Guys can no longer be tarnished with the mantle of Hollywood's least profitable star following the publication of the Forbes magazine list of the top 10 most overpaid actors.

Drew Barrymore is the new queen of excess after Forbes noted that her recent films pulled in a meagre 40 cents per $1 spent. By comparison Ferrell, who has famously topped the list for the last two years running, is now worth $3.50 per $1.

The Saturday Night Live alumnus still finds himself in third place on the list largely thanks to the box-office failure of The Land of the Lost ($70m return on a $100m budget) in 2009. Last year's The Other Guys helped to improve his profitability with a healthy $170m gross.

Barrymore's own fortunes have not been helped by dismal box-office returns for 2010 romantic comedy Going the Distance, which made just $17.8m. Her 2009 films Everybody's Fine and Whip It did even worse.

In second place is next year's Oscars host, Eddie Murphy. The comic appears to be attempting to return to the edgier style of humour that made his name with Brett Ratner's new film Tower Heist, and financial returns for his recent films may indicate why. For every $1 he was paid for family friendly comedies such as Meet Dave and Imagine That, Murphy returned just $2.70 per dollar.

Two Oscar-winners, Reese Witherspoon and Denzel Washington, land in fourth and fifth spots on the list respectively. Witherspoon returned $3.55 for every $1 and Washington managed $4.25. Further down are Nicolas Cage in sixth ($4.40 per $1), Adam Sandler and Vince Vaughn in joint seventh ($5.20 per $1), Tom Cruise in ninth ($6.35) per $1 and his former wife Nicole Kidman in tenth with $6.70 per $1.

Unlike its annual list of the highest earners in Hollywood, which concentrates on fees for films which screened in the previous 12 months, Forbes bases its list on actors' last three films, which can mean covering movies from several years back. This explains why Ferrell remains high on the list despite the fact that his recent films have performed more profitably. Furthermore, the magazine only focuses on the 40 top-earning actors in Hollywood, so the highest names all tend to be those who are relatively well-known figures. Forbes also discounts animated films, which means Murphy's voice performance as Donkey in the highly profitable fourth Shrek was not taken into account.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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