Lurking behind hollywood’s red-carpet glitz is a cold, hard reality: The movie industry often reaps its greatest returns on the backs of A-list actresses, achieving lofty box-office grosses while paying its leading ladies considerably less than their male counterparts.
The gender disparity is immediately evident in Forbes’ annual calculation of which actors provide the greatest return on the studios’ investment. (We take the total operating income from a star’s three most recent significant films, then divide by the star’s estimated pay for those films.) The green circles spotlight those with the best ROI: Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. (The men from Marvel appear here, too, primarily because that studio is notoriously stingy unless you’re Robert Downey Jr.)
Yellow circles denote stars who produce middling returns. Red ought to serve as a warning sign for studio bosses, calling out stars who generate meagre box office while cashing big paycheques— Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington and Will Ferrell, we’re looking at you.
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(This story appears in the 05 February, 2016 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)