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Top grossing actor of all time: Still Samuel L. Jackson!

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

Apparently, there was some controversy surrounding my comments in the K_Line survey about your top ten films. I said that Samuel L. Jackson was the top grossing actor of all time, and I stand by that remark. And frankly, aside from the near constant stream of profanity in many of his movies, I have to agree he is a pretty talented actor.

The top ten grossing actors of all time are:

10. Robin Williams
9. Will Smith
8. Morgan Freeman
7. Eddie Murphy
6. Bruce Willis
5. Tom Cruise
4. Orlando Bloom
3. Harrison Ford
2. Tom Hanks
1. Samuel L Jackson1

Details on top 10 actors of all time

10. Robin Williams
U.S. Gross – $3,177,675,199
Worldwide Gross – $5,749,935,745

Most Successful Films:

1. Night at the Museum – $574,480,841
2. Aladdin – $504,050,219
3. Mrs. Doubtfire – $441,286,195
4. Happy Feet – $385,000,317


9. Will Smith
U.S. Gross – $2,542,908,988
Worldwide Gross – $5,771,022,176

Most Successful Films:

1. Independence Day – $817,400,878
2. Hancock – $624,346,274
3. Men in Black – $587,790,539
4. I Am Legend – $585,055,701


8. Morgan Freeman
U.S. Gross – $3,138,301,600
Worldwide Gross – $5,851,042,996

Most Successful Films:

1. The Dark Knight – $1,000,245,358
2. The War of the Worlds (Narrator) – $591,745,532
3. Bruce Almighty – $485,004,995
4. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – $390,500,000


7. Eddie Murphy
U.S. Gross – $3,470,799,901
Worldwide Gross – $6,211,397,821

Most Successful Films:

1. Shrek 2 – $919,838,758
2. Shrek the Third – $798,958,162
3. Beverly Hills Cop – $316,300,000
4. Coming to America – $288,800,000


6. Bruce Willis
U.S. Gross – $3,045,317,743
Worldwide Gross – $ 6,432,992,990

Most Successful Films:

1. The Sixth Sense – $672,806,292
2. Armageddon – $554,600,000
3. Live Free or Die Hard – $383,531,464
4. Over the Hedge- $336,002,981


5. Tom Cruise
U.S. Gross – $3,274,294,878
Worldwide Gross – $6,642,337,497

Most Successful Films:

1. The War of the Worlds – $591,745,532
2. Mission Impossible 2 – $546,209,889
3. The Last Samurai – $456,810,575
4. Rain Man – $412,800,000


4. Orlando Bloom
U.S. Gross – $2,390,308,637
Worldwide Gross – $6,554,217,251

Most Successful Films:

1. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – $1,133,027,325
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $1,065,659,812
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – $926,284,377
4. Troy – $497,398,577


3. Harrison Ford
U.S. Gross – $3,630,449,689
Worldwide Gross – $6,657,454,464

Most Successful Films:

1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – $797,900,000
2. Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – $786,558,765
3. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – $534,171,960
4. The Fugitive – $368,900,000


2. Tom Hanks
U.S. Gross – $3,985,186,565
World Gross – $8,007,367,700

Most Successful Films:

1. The Da Vinci Code – $757,236,138
2. Forrest Gump – $679,400,525
3. Saving Private Ryan – $481,635,085
4. Cast Away – $427,230,516


1. Samuel L Jackson
U.S. Gross – $4,458,983,764
Worldwide Gross – $8,640,150,950

Most Successful Films:

1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – $924,288,297
2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – $848,998,877
3. The Incredibles – $635,564,642
4. Iron Man – $582,313,199

FOOTNOTES:

  1. SOURCE: TopTenz, http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-successful-actors-at-the-box-office.php

6 Comments

  1. Ellen T. says:

    wow this list is exhaustive. i’m skeptical about how these results were calculated though…it doesn’t seem fair that a lot of these actors have a film in their top four where they were onscreen for about two seconds or didn’t even appear. i mean, what if you just so happened to be an extra in both titanic and avatar? would you be catapulted into the top 10?

    also, if this list was adjusted for inflation, who would the top 10 be?

  2. Tom Truex says:

    Yes. Thank you for raising your points. In fact, all of these factors were carefully considered and weighed. It turns out that Samuel L. Jackson in still the top grossing actor of all time. Personally I questioned the list at first, too, when I saw that Mel Gibson was not named in the top 10. But numbers don’t lie!

  3. This list is wrong says:

    This list is dead wrong. First of all, most of Samual L. Jackson roles are NOT LEADING ROLES!!! HE IS NOT THE LEAD ACTOR IN MOST OF HIS FILMS!!!!!! Neither is Orlando Bloom!!!!

    This list is WRONG!

  4. Tom Truex says:

    I stand by my previous statement: “Samuel L. Jackson was the top grossing actor of all time, and… aside from the near constant stream of profanity in many of his movies, I have to agree he is a pretty talented actor.”

    The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed his status, as reported in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Daily News, and MSN.com.

  5. While this list is technically correct, I do agree that it can be somewhat skewed, especially when evaluating a singular actors box-office mojo. Sam Jackson is a fine actor, but counted among his credits are everything he’s done including cameos, bit-parts, supporting actor and even voice-overs. With over 100 films on his resume, his gross will undoubtedly surpass someone like a Harrison Ford, who has only around 40-plus total films on his resume.

    A more telling tabulation of an actors true appeal (box-office draw), would be the gross from those actors starring in a leading role. In this case both Ford and Hanks far surpass the pack, including Jackson who comes in at distant 57th on that list. Just as revealing is the average gross per film, where again, Ford and Hanks lead the pack, with Eddie Murphy coming in around 3rd using this statistic. This measurement also includes the contributions of other great actors like Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman, who I’d personally rate higher than Jackson when it comes to individual ability.

    What the original statistic does show is that Sam Jackson does love to work; he may not always play the lead, but at an average of 5 or more films a year, that is something to be proud of.

  6. PS…as of this recent post, Sam Jackson has been surpassed as the top-grossing actor of all time by Frank Welker. Most people won’t even know who Frank is since the majority of his acting has been as a voice-over. Even in the 3rd spot following Sam, is John Ratzenberger, who’s majority of roles of late has been the voice in many of Disney/Pixar films. Not wanting to denigrate these actors, but this is the reason why this statistical category is not the best measurement to judge an actors ability, popularity (celebrity), talent, box-office draw, etc.

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