Comedy star responsible for the likes of Jack and Jill and That's My Boy comes out worst in survey of returns compared to salary
It is the news cineastes everywhere might have been hoping to hear: Hollywood may soon be forced to shoot fewer Adam Sandler movies - or at least, to pay him lower fees for making them - after the much-maligned comic suffered the indignity of being named top of Forbes magazine's annual list of the most overpaid actors.
Sandler, who can command $15m a movie, beat off competition from two of 2012's worst value stars, Katherine Heigl and Reese Witherspoon, to deliver the dubious triumph. According to the financial magazine, his last three films returned just $3.40 for every dollar he was paid. Those movies include turkeys such as Jack and Jill and the execrable That's My Boy, though the rather better-performing Grown Ups 2 does not feature for statistical purposes because it falls outside the time period being factored in by Forbes.
Rom-com queen Heigl is in second place on the list for the second year in a row, thanks to the failure of films such as Killers and One For the Money. Her last three movies returned just $3.50 for each dollar she was paid. Witherspoon, likewise, comes in third for the second time in a row with $3.90 per $1 following the relative box office failure of films such as period romance Water for Elephants in 2011 ($117m on a $38m budget) and romantic comedy spy film This Means War last year (a rather better $156m on a $65m budget). Nicolas Cage made fourth place on the list, with a $6 average return, and comedian Kevin James was fifth, returning an average of $6.10.
This year's top 10 was rounded out with some surprisingly titanic Hollywood figures, including Denzel Washington, Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Matt Damon and Ryan Reynolds, returning between $8.30 and $10.70 per$1 paid. No-one on the list came close to the famously meagre of just 40 cents for every $1 paid returned by Drew Barrymore in 2011. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barrymore does not qualify for the list this year because she has not made enough movies.
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