The 20 Highest Grossing Actors Of All Time

By on March 19, 2015 in ArticlesEntertainment

Everyone knows that Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time (for now).  We know that the Harry Potter franchise raked in the big bucks (and continues to do so). We know which actors and actresses have scored the biggest paychecks. But which actors and actresses have managed to help the films they've appeared in make more money just with the power of their name and their performance?  Which Hollywood names have grossed the most money in domestic box office grosses over the life of their careers? We bet some of the names on the following list will surprise you. Tom Cruise has been in a number of highly successful films, but he doesn't even crack the top 10. Johnny Depp has been in the incredibly successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but he doesn't even crack the top 20.

Actors and actresses who've made this list have managed to accrue a high cumulative gross for the scores and scores of films they've made. Being a part of a successful franchise is one way to do it. Taking what seems like every role presented to the first actor on this list is another way to do it.  Still, it takes something pretty special to pull in the high grossing numbers the actors (and one actress) on this list do. Whether they make us hang on to the edge of our seats, cower in fear, or laugh until we nearly pee ourselves, these 20 actors all share one thing in common – they've made the most money for the films they've starred in. All numbers are based on domestic box office and have not been adjusted for inflation.

#20) Alan Rickman

Films: 36

Total Box Office: $3,453,301,228

Average Box Office:  $95,925,034

Factor in making this list: Playing Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

#19) Elizabeth Banks

Films: 42

Total Box Office: $3,464,819,134

Average Box Office:  $82,495,694

Factor in making this list: Playing Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games franchise.

#18) Bruce Willis

Films: 75

Total Box Office: $3,523,501,796

Average Box Office:  $46,980,024

Factor in making this list: Playing John McClane in the Die Hard franchise.

#17) Robin Williams

Films: 70

Total Box Office: $3,570,290,291

Average Box Office:  $51,004,147

Factor in making this List: Being one of the most beloved actors of our time. Also starring in films like Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, and 68 more films.

#16) Warwick Davis

Films: 21

Total Box Office: $3,625,108,164

Average Box Office:  $172,624,198

Factor in making this list: Playing Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter franchise.

#15) Mickie McGowan

Films: 26

Total Box Office: $3,790,590,257

Average Box Office: $145,791,933

Factor in making this list: McGowan is a prolific voice over artists who has voiced characters in the Despicable Me, Monsters Inc./Monsters University, and Toy Story franchises, as well as A Bug's Life, Wall-E, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Up, Cars, Lilo and Stich, and many more.

#14) Eddie Murphy

Films: 39

Total Box Office: $3,807,036,356

Average Box Office: $97,616,317

Factor in making this list: Voicing the donkey in the Shrek series.

#13) Tom Cruise

Films: 40

Total Box Office: $3,837,189,970

Average Box Office: $95,929,749

Factor in making this list: Being Tom Cruise. Seriously, he has been one of the most bankable stars for several decades. Though his draw has faded a bit, filmmakers can still count on him to bring a certain amount of box office grosses to their films.

#12) Jack Angel

Films: 27

Total Box Office: $3,841,838,296

Average Box Office: $142,290,307

Factor in Making this list: Jack Angel is a voice over artist who has voiced Chunk in the Toy Story franchise as well as provided his vocal stylings for the Monsters Inc. franchise and appeared in Cars, Lilo and Stitch, The Smurfs, Despicable Me, and a host of other films.

#11) Liam Neeson

Films: 73

Total Box Office: $3,953,988,080

Average Box Office: $54,164,220

Factor in making this list: He has a very specific set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you.

#10) Harrison Ford

Films: 48

Total Box Office: $3,980,782,015

Average Box Office: $82,932,959

Factor in making this list: He's Indiana Jones AND Han Solo. It doesn't get much cooler (or bankable) than that.

#9) Hugo Weaving

Films: 33

Total Box Office: $4,007,931,801

Average Box Office: $121,452,479

Factor in making this list: The Matrix trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Happy Feet, and Captain America. Weaving knows how to choose roles.

#8) Gary Oldman

Films: 45

Total Box Office: $4,020,848,321

Average Box Office: $89,352,185

Factor in Making this list: Gary Oldman has had a long and distinguished career, but he can thank his roles as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter franchise and as Commissioner Gordon on the Batman franchise for his spot on this list.

#7) Tom Hanks

Films: 52

Total Box Office: $4,458,076,534

Average Box Office: $85,732,241

Factor in making this list: Every actor makes missteps in his or her career, but when it comes to Hanks, those are incredibly rare.  For every Joe Vs. the Volcano, he's got several Oscar winning films. And, of course, voicing Woody in the Toy Story franchise doesn't hurt.

#6) John Ratzenberger

Films: 52

Total Box Office: $4,458,076,534

Average Box Office: $85,732,241

Factor in making this list: Ratzenberger became known for playing postman Cliff Clavin on Cheers. He's made this list for his voice work as Hamm the Piggy Bank in the Toy Story franchise as well as work in the Monsters Inc. franchise, Up, Wall-E, and a bunch of other beloved animated films. Ratzenberger has been called Pixar's lucky charm and is offered a voice role in every movie they produce.

#5) Morgan Freeman

Films: 73

Total Box Office: $4,680,730,309

Average Box Office: $64,119,593

Factor in making this list: A stellar track record of choosing roles. From The Dark Knight to Bruce Almighty to The Shawshank Redemption and Unforgiven, Freeman has put out high grossing films one after another.

#4) Stan Lee

Films: 23

Total Box Office: $4,833,826,255

Average Box Office: $210,166,359

Factor in making this list: Stan Lee is credited with creating the Marvel Comics universe.

#3) Bob Bergen

Films: 53

Total Box Office: $4,915,377,798

Average Box Office: $92,742,977

Factor in making this list: If there is one thing this list proves, it is that it pays to be a voice over artist.  Bergen's claim to fame includes Wall-E, Monsters University, Up, and Tangled.

#2) Frank Welker

Films: 107

Total Box Office: $6,749,717,201

Average Box Office: $63,081,469

Factor in Making this list: Frank Welker is yet another voice over artist. He makes this list due to the Transformers. He was the voice of Shockwave, Barricade, and Soundwave in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Galvatron in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

#1) Samuel L. Jackson

Films: 114

Total Box Office: $6,767,518,427

Average Box Office: $59,364,197

Factor in Making this list: Samuel L. Jackson has been in some amazing movies, but let's be honest, he makes this list due to the sheer volume of films he has appeared in.

(CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

(CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
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