Cry for the scarves: Johnny Depp is ‘the most overpaid actor’ of the year


Johnny “Scarfy” Depp is struggling. His personal finances are probably fine – I mean, he still has a private island and like five pieces of major real estate – but he is no longer a top-tier movie star that people want to spend money on. The Lone Ranger, Mortdecai and Transcendence all bombed. Depp was the least interesting part of Into the Woods. And while Black Mass has maybe broke even financially (and it might earn Depp an Oscar nomination), it wasn’t really a “return to form” like many people hoped. So… Forbes has named Depp “the most overpaid actor” for 2015. I’m sure he’s heartbroken about it, if you can only get past the 10 scarves, 13 necklaces, 7 earrings, 9 rings and orange makeup. You can read the Forbes story here.

Forbes notes that Depp used to be The Man, and that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise netted Disney $3.7 billion. But at this point, for every $1 that Depp is paid, he earns $1.20 in box office receipts. Which basically means that hiring Johnny Depp is a guarantee that the studio will lose money. Forbes notes that Depp will probably have a better 2016 and 2017 – he’s got Alice Through The Looking Glass coming out in 2016 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017. Both sequels sound… meh. I’m sure people look forward to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s collaborations, but is it wrong to hope that the latest Pirates movie bombs big-time? No one needed it. No one asked for it.

After Depp, Forbes says Denzel Washington is in the #2 most overpaid, then Will Ferrell, then Liam Neeson. The best actor for the investment? Chris Evans, who gives $181.80 in return for every dollar he’s paid.



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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49 Responses to “Cry for the scarves: Johnny Depp is ‘the most overpaid actor’ of the year”

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  1. Farah says:

    Denzel’s movies didn’t lose money. They all made bank. His paycheck was just inflated. I can’t say you can compare him to Johnny whose had three MAJOR bombs.

    • roses says:

      Agree about Denzel. Plus the list is useless, it seems they are comparing franchise vs. non-franchise films. Of course Chris Evans return on the dollar is more if you’re looking at it from that perspective but take the franchise/superhero type film out of the equation and its a truly different story.

      • Red says:

        Absolutely!! Denzel doesnt have a franchise. Depp does. As does Chris Evans. Marvels Captain America doesnt sell on Chris Evans back. And the films that do, dont do well.

        But even in the absense of a franchise, Denzels worst performing movie for five years was 2 Guns. And that was mostly marketted under Mark Wahlberg. Regardless, it made 75 million on a 55 million budget. And thats Denzels worst perfomer of the last five years. Any idiot can see that he is still a better bet than Evans and Hemsworth combined – with a Hemsworth brother thrown in. Forbes needs to fix their metrics.

    • Tiffany says:

      That and Denzel is one of the few actors left that commands salary upfront, does not have bloated production costs and does not cost the studio anything on the back end. His most recent films budgets have not extended past 100 million so he is an wise investment considering his A list status.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        True, but he also has contracts that get him paid millions even if a film doesn’t end up getting made. That is a big investment for a product that might not even exist.

        I do think he is worth it, though, but it is expensive to have Denzel in your cast.

  2. Snazzy says:

    Agreed. I am shocked at how much he makes considering how bad his movies are

  3. vauvert says:

    The funny thing is that I would not watch any of the other movies, but I will go see Pirates. All he ever does is act like Captain Jack,so I have no problem seeing him be Jack. Plus Orlando is back, and those are fun popcorn flicks. Don’t judge me. I love me a pirate. Better than all the superheroes….

  4. lisa2 says:

    I know it has been open season on Johnny and a few other actors in his league. Thing is most of the “bankable” people on that list have never carried a film on their own. they are mainly in franchise films. Which make OTT money. Take them out of those films and see what their BO is. Most of them couldn’t open a film in the US or overseas. They are getting hype because of being in generic movies; popcorn films. Johnny has had a down streak; but look where he came from. Most of the other actors that are being praised for BO that anyone in the film would get. 10 years from now most of them will be forgotten because someone else will have become the lead in the “Reboot”. Look at the history of actors trying to pull in BO money outside their franchises. The Vast majority don’t do well. This success is a double edge sword.

    This list is flawed and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. Longevity in this business is rare. Johnny, Denzel, Brad, and others have been doing this longer than some of these people have been alive. These list are meant to poke fun at these Actors and give people a platform to go at them. But many of the “Overpaid” have created Iconic characters and films that are still referenced to this day. Super Hero and Franchise movies are only as good as the next Reboot. See if they are around 20 years from now; then we can talk about being bankable.

  5. CornyBlue says:

    Yes. This guy was good in his youth and the first two Pirates films are amazing but he can go away now. Also hopefully none of that PDA during Oscars. Or Oscar season. I cannot believe WB is still pushing Black Mass and not the other good properties that it has.

  6. Jegede says:

    How is Chris Evans the best for investment?
    Outside of Marvel his movies barely make a blip on the radar, and that’s when they get a theatrical release.

    Chris Hemsworth is another one considered good for investment on that list yet outside of Marvel = skidmark box office receipts.
    E.g : Rush (which was actually good), Blackhat??
    Emma Stone is no 4 yet her Woody Allen films underperformed and Aloha was a trainwreck.

    Forbes are either smoking good weed or are shilling for some.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      I get the issue though.

      If you’re going to talk about return on investment then you have to mention every movie the individual does good or bad. It just so happens Hemsworth and Evans have superhero movies to help lift up their average. It works for them the same reason it works for studios (that no matter the quality of the films you’ll still make some money).

      If you take out half the movies they’ve done strictly because they’re franchise you skew your intended result. I’d like to see a list like, “Most Overpaid Superheroes” because that would tell some hard truths, right now I can’t think of anyone who’s actually carrying movies on their own.

      • Red says:

        You are probably right in that the old super star model is dead. Having said that there are actors whose movies sell almost exclusively to their established fanbases. For those guys, a profit is all but assured. Denzel comes to mind immediately because he is unfairly mentioned in this article. Just basically, think old school action stars, Cruise, Willis, Stallone etc. If Chris Hemsworth and Denzel were to make the exact same movie, Denzels would do better. Hell, even when Hemsworth makes a better movie, Denzel still does better. Brands still matter.

    • Anne tommy says:

      I don’t understand either. Jurassic World was a massive hit, making something like 1.6 billion. Chris Pratt was not paid that much for it – How the Hell is he not the best Value?

  7. Mira says:

    He doesnt do interesting movies for years now. Its always big budget over promoted blockbusters that i have no intention of forking out money on. When he was younger he did interesting movies.

  8. FingerBinger says:

    Aren’t all of them overpaid?

  9. Hawkeye says:

    Everything about his appearance these days says unhygienic. Those safety pins in his ears are beyond gross! I want to take Lysol and alcohol wipes to Johnny Depp before the biohazard people arrive.

  10. babs says:

    He is one of the best actors out there, that’s for sure. He needs to pick better scripts.

  11. lucy2 says:

    The way Forbes comes to their numbers is so convoluted, and based on a lot of guesses. It’s pretty pointless, but I guess it gets them some attention and clicks.

    Chris Hemsworth must take a low paycheck, because he has had a number of box office bombs and doesn’t seem to have any success besides Thor/Avengers, yet is still promoted as a huge star.

  12. Dania says:

    I love how people are taking this as an exuse to hate on Johnny as an actor (even though he was amazing in Black Mass, but I guess you lot did not even watch it) when Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and Tom Cruise are on the list. Are they all no longer good, too? This list is pretty silly and meaningless.

    • Kitten says:

      I think he’s a fantastic actor but I wish he would diversify his portfolio a bit.

      I have to say that I miss the old Johnny but I’m still rooting for him. I do think he’s a genuinely good dude as well. You hear so many stories about how generous and kind he is to fans–that’s not a small thing IMO.

  13. Paulie says:

    He can’t be struggling when his latest movie did well enough & earned him awards nominations, and his upcoming movies are sequels that are sure to be big hits. There are many actors who are struggling (e.g. Nicolas Cage), Depp is not one of them. Black Mass opened with $22 million, people went to see it for him.

    And Forbes didn’t count Into the Woods because he had a small role in it, but it was a big hit and he actually got mostly good notices for it.

  14. Barb says:

    Johnny Depp will always be a legend to me.

  15. Don't kill me I'm French says:

    Forbes wrote Mila Kunis is the most profitable actress .how is it possible ? She didn’t work since 2 years

  16. Renae says: says:

    Johnny Depp is a legend. I think it would be very disturbing to have a career where you are considered over the hill relatively early in life and then have to weather the public and the media’s cold hard statements about you when they no longer see you as the young stud making blockbuster movies. One would have to have very tough skin.

  17. Terry says:

    Johnny depp was considered box office poison before pirates. So I don’t think people really understand what they say when they state that they want him doing what he did pre-pirates.

    I do believe though that he has a current health issue that isn’t something to joke about. Hopefully he can get better because I don’t believe his current looks is just him letting himself go. There is something else there.

  18. Elsa says:

    That list is a joke. It says Depp is the most overpaid in 2015 but it’s until June and they don’t consider black mass that has made almost 100 m on a 50m budget.It’s unfair. I’m sure he doesn’t lose any sleep though .He won’t be on this list again with 2 sequels coming. Oh and I find it very shallow to hit a person when he is down, just saying.

    PS :Let’s see how bankable Evans is without Marvel.

  19. Atheist says:

    Its funny how the industry try’s to blame the actors alone when a movie bombs. Its nobody elses fault right?

  20. KCAT says:

    “if you can only get past the 10 scarves, 13 necklaces, 7 earrings, 9 rings and orange makeup.” lmao

  21. Laura says:

    If Black Mass, the best performance of his career, is not a “return to form” then what would be?