The 20 highest-grossing actors by film genre


Marvel has shown time and time again that it can reap huge box office profits. It’s no surprise, then, that its heroes are some of the highest-grossing performers in the action genre.

In fact, according to a new study from Uswitch, the five highest-grossing actors in the genre are from the MCU. Top of the list is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in a number of MCU blockbusters. Worldwide box office statistics for action films featuring him total nearly $19 billion. Below him are Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff), and Chris Evans (Captain America).

In the corner of horror, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reign supreme. The pair play paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren on The Conjuring series, and each have a number of other horror credits to their names. The Farmiga include the years 2009 Orphan and 2007 Joshua; while Wilson has taken care of the Insidious series and standalone films like 2019’s In the tall grass. (Musical theater fans wondering if Wilson will ever return to Broadway can rest assured that he hopes to do so at some point.)

It’s also no shock that Julia Roberts took the top spot for romance with $1.24 billion in box office earnings. A pretty woman (1990), bride on the run (1999), and Notting Hill (1999) are among the highest-grossing romantic comedies of all time.

Ben Stiller, who came in fifth for romance and comedy, was the only actor to make two lists. His $3.22 billion in comedy movie revenue wasn’t quite enough to top the $3.94 billion that landed Bill Hader the top spot. Although the SNL alum has appeared in numerous live-action comedies, from super bad (2007) at Rail accident (2015), it’s probably his voice work in animated offerings like Cloudy with a chance of meatballs (2009) and Upside down (2015) which helped it rise to number one.

If you’re wondering why you don’t see any Old Hollywood stars in the breakdown below, it’s because Uswitch only included live actors in the analysis. (Anyone who didn’t have at least 10 star roles on their IMDb page was also excluded.) Check out other takeaways from the study here.

  1. Samuel L. Jackson // $18.93 billion
  2. Robert Downey Jr // $10.45 billion
  3. Zoe Saldana // $8.37 billion
  4. Elizabeth Olsen // $5.73 billion
  5. Chris Evans // $5.23 billion
  1. Bill Hader // $3.94 billion
  2. Eddie Murphy // $3.65 billion
  3. Steve Carell // $3.28 billion
  4. Bonnie Hunt // $3.23 billion
  5. Ben Stiller // $3.22 billion
  1. Patrick Wilson // $636.8 million
  2. Vera Farmiga // $479.5 million
  3. James McAvoy // $466.7 million
  4. Emily Blunt // $410.1 million
  5. Michelle Pfeiffer // $381.8 million
  1. Julia Roberts // $1.24 billion
  2. Meryl Streep // $1.04 billion
  3. Bradley Cooper // $1.02 billion
  4. Owen Wilson // $1.01 billion
  5. Ben Stiller // $995.4 million

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