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Who are the 10 biggest movie stars in the world right now?


This is interesting because it really does change every ten or fifteen years. It’s so, so different from the 90s and amazing how few people can now open a movie.

But who are they? Pratt, Pitt, Bullock and DiCaprio must be in there. But who else?



I’d add Robert Downey Jr, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johanson to that list.


Tom Cruise is the quintessential movie star.

Will Smith still has draw, but with the right role. People like Bruce Willis have lost their audiences.


I want to say Vin Diesel, but I think that only applies when the film has him in a flashy car and growling about home, family values and barbecue (or when he’s a talking tree).

Which is an interesting point…A lot of actors are huge stars when they’re hitched to a particular franchise, but don’t necessarily guarantee an opening in the way a Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford would have done 20 years ago. For example, Daniel Craig has been in 3 James Bond movies, but Cowboys and Aliens flopped, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was seen as a bit of a disappointment.

I think that the bleeding through of how people watch movies and tv now has meant that the concept of a star is a little more fluid. The studios are emphasising the Franchises (e.g. Marvel/Avengers) more than the stars.

On a separate note, Tom Hanks probably has to be on the list of stars, doesn’t he?


How has Fassbender not been mentioned yet? :smile:

I’d say probably:

Tom Cruise
Tom Hanks
Johnny Depp
George Clooney
Brad Pitt
Leo DiCaprio
Jennifer Lawrence
Will Smith
Scarlett Johansson


I can’t recall Hanks in any role for… at least ten years. Has he done anything “star-like” since … uh … Davinci Code? (I don’t think voice-only in Toy Story counts. Or if it does, then everybody’s list needs to include Andy Serkis too.)

How about Samuel L. Jackson? He’s kind of ubiquitous, but usually not as the star role.


If Daniel Craig is dismissed for non-Bond movies then George Clooney has to be dismissed for movies without Brad Pitt. He has a horrible track record without him.


He did Captain Phillips, which did fairly well as far as I recall.

Denzel Washington probably deserves to be on that list too.


I saw a video with Clooney a while back, one of those Oscar roundtable things. He talked about the whole tyranny of the opening weekend deciding whether a film is a success or not. His attitude was basically that he wanted to do films that had more of a life behind them and leave behind a body of work. He is happy enough to do ads for Nespresso to pay the bills as long as he can do the movies he wants to do.

Seems to be working for him.

I think that you’re right thought, the only genuine hits that he’s had in his career have been the Oceans 11 movies (not sure how Tomorrowland has done).


I’m fine with him doing the movies he wants to do, but most of them aren’t very good. There are a few exceptions, but the only one that comes to mind is the political one he did with Ryan Gosling.


Fassbender is the best actor in the world right now, but by movie star I mean people who like Cruise in the 90s especially can open a movie and open it BIG. He’s never done this.

Weirdly, neither has Ryan Gosling and Will Smith, whom I love, hasn’t for about 7 years. Likewise, and this is weird, but RDJ hasn’t either outside of big franchises like Sherlock and his Tony Stark pictures. His movie The Judge disappeared.

DiCap even in his smallest movies still has a big weekend. Same with Pitt I think.



PS Clooney fascinates me because the last profitable movie he did that didn’t have Pitt in there alongside him was in 1997. Seriously, it was A Perfect Storm. This stunned me when I noticed it, but as fun and likeable as he is his movies tend to lose cash. Check out his Box Office Mojo page and it’s a shock.


You guys are forgetting Gravity which made $716m.


I suppose defining what makes someone a big movie star is a difficult thing. Is it just box-office draw? Does acting ability play a role? How about general charisma and presence? Or the ability to get projects made that simply wouldn’t get made without them being attached (see Hanks and Cloud Atlas)?

It’s not an easy thing to pin down.


Gravity was a Sandra Bullock movie. I still haven’t seen it and only knew Clooney was in it when you mentioned and I googled it.



PS to Dave: It’s a very easy thing to pin down, at least in industry terms. A movie star is a person a studio can bank on to open a movie pretty much regardless of what it’s about. It’s the difference between a movie star and an actor or a movie star and a celebrity. A movie star has a big opening weekend. An actor wins an award. A celebrity appears in magazines.


Pursuit of Happyness is a perfect example. If that had been Ryan Gosling it would have made 30 million dollars. If that had been an actor you haven’t heard of it would have been a TV movie. Google the box office for that very small and simple picture. This was the peak of Will Smith as a movie star. He was pretty much the last guy you could REALLY count on to do something like this. Guy was golden!



I almost added myself that Bullock was the real lead and selling point but since you both said any film he was in I was compelled by dark and mysterious forces to be pedantic on the internet. :wink:


Fair enough, I can see the distinction if you’re talking purely in terms of who can open a movie. A “bankable star”, rather than a star in celebrity or ability terms.

In which case, surely putting together a list should be a fairly straightforward mathematical calculation?

Has anyone heard of the Ulmer Scale? It’s a ranking developed by James Ulmer based on exactly that kind of calculation. I can’t find a listing more recent than 2009 though.


Out of interest, in terms of 2014 box office, Forbes lists the following ranking:

Jennifer Lawrence $1.4bn
Chris Pratt $1.2bn
Scarlett Johansson $1.18bn
Mark Wahlberg $1bn
Chris Evans $801m
Emma Stone $764m
Angelina Jolie $758m
James McAvoy $747m
Michael Fassbender $746m
Hugh Jackman $746m

Of course, it’s debatable how much they as individuals contributed to the success of their movies, and single-year rankings like these are always dependent on what/how many films an actor has scheduled for a given year.