If someone were to ask you whom the best investment a studio could make for their leading lady in a film, your best guess probably wouldn’t be Naomi Watts. But according to Forbes, the actress best known for her role in “The Ring” offers the best bang for her buck, even more so than Angelina Jolie.
Forbes compiled their top 10 list based on the 100 biggest female stars in Hollywood who have starred in at least three films in the past five years that opened in more than 500 theaters. That rules out most art films, to translate the business lingo. They then calculated each star’s earnings per movie based on their upfront pay, earnings from box office receipts, and DVD and TV sales. This was weighted against a calculated operating income for each film. Still following?
The conclusion was that, for every dollar Naomi Watts earned for her films in the past five years ( “The International,” “King Kong,” "The Ring Two," among others), the movies earned a whopping $44. Add that to the fact Naomi has yet to be involved in any high-profile scandal, and you’ve got top picking for a leading actress on your hands.
With the help of this year’s “He’s Just Not That Into You,” Jennifer Connelly got second billing with her films earning an average $41 per dollar spent on her. In third place was Rachel McAdams, who with films like “State of Play,” “Red Eye” and romance classic “The Notebook,” every dollar spent on her, the films earned an average $30.
It shouldn’t seem too surprising that any of these critically acclaimed actresses should be pulling their weight. Both Jennifer Aniston and Meryl Streep were also two of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, so at least they are worth the price.
But maybe studios should start reevaluating who they should cast as their leading ladies. We would go see Anne Hathaway or Rachel McAdams in just about anything. Nicole Kidman? Not so much.
What do you think of this Forbes list?