The 10 most overpaid film roles of all-time

Each year, Forbes magazine brings out its list of the most overpaid Hollywood actors using a combination of data, weighing up the stars’ salaries against their movies’ financial return.

Here, we’ve done the same thing, only focused it on specific roles rather than performers, using information from a variety of sources including Box Office Mojo and Filmsite.org.

And so, at number 10…

10. Halle Berry in ‘Catwoman’

Paid: £9.6m
The film lost: £50.9m

The 2004 superhero movie was supposed to be a blockbuster franchise off the back of Berry’s Best Actress Oscar. Instead, the naff suit and dull plot won her a Razzie Award (which she was cool enough to collect in person).

9. Matthew McConaughey in ‘Sahara’

Paid: £6.2m
The film lost: £92.6m

Based on Clive Cussler’s best-selling Dirk Pitt novels, not even the gorgeous pairing of Matthew and Penelope Cruz could make audiences come to this 2005 action-adventure which is said to spent a good portion of its budget on local bribes to shoot in Morocco.

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8. Kurt Russell in ‘Soldier’

Paid: £11.6m
The film lost: £67.1m

Famous for being the first direct-to-DVD film, Russell’s brief late-Nineties flourish as an action star came to an end thanks to this bomb, before he segued nicely into classy character parts.

7. Reese Witherspoon in ‘How Do You Know’

Paid: £11.6m
The film lost: £69.4m

Directed by multi-Oscar-winner James L Brooks, starring Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson – this romantic drama had all the elements of a hit. Unfortunately, thanks to a ridiculously high budget for a film of its kind and endless behind-the-scenes tinkering, it was dead on arrival.

6. Will Ferrell in ‘Land of the Lost’

Paid: £15.4m
The film lost: £56.3m

Bad CGI plagued this TV adaptation, which may not have lost as much as other films, but whose budget was pushed up considerably by for Ferrell’s hefty fee. Unfortunately, his fans weren’t interested in helping to pay it back.

5. Nicolas Cage in ‘Windtalkers’

Paid: £15.4m
The film lost: £77.1m

You’re not the only one who missed this 2002 John Woo war drama about Navajo codebreakers. Cage was hired at the peak of his earning powers and the mega-budget meant this ended up losing pots of cash.

4. Bruce Willis in ‘Hart’s War’

Paid: £17.4m
The film lost: £73.3m

Willis is really just a supporting role in this decent war-set courtroom drama 2002, but still managed to command a massive wad despite it losing more money than his notorious flop ‘Hudson Hawk’.

3. Harrison Ford in ‘K-19: The Widowmaker’

Paid: £19.3m
The film lost: £67.9m

Despite a quality director in Kathryn Bigelow, this 2002 submarine flick was a bust at the box office, with a huge budget thanks partly to Ford’s massive salary.

A member of the cast has since recounted that during production, the cinematographer couldn’t sort the star’s eyeline, so asked him where he was looking. Ford replied he was looking into his soul. When the DP asked him where his soul was, the actor said, “Under a pile of money.”

2. Eddie Murphy in ‘The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Paid: £15.4m
The film lost: £97.2m

One of the most legendary flops in movie history, Murphy’s confused 2002 comedy cost £77m and made just £5.4m at the box office. The star doesn’t seem to care all that much.

1. Johnny Depp in ‘The Lone Ranger’

Paid: £15.4million
The film lost: £148.9m

Oh, Johnny. We’ve loved you when you worked with Tim Burton, or as Jack Sparrow (the first couple of times) and then there’s ‘Cry-Baby’ and ‘Donnie Brasco’. But while the knives were already out for this overlong blockbuster before it hit screens, the numbers are hard to ignore. Unfortunately, Depp’s reaction seems to involve playing a pirate. Again.

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Image credits: Rex_Shutterstock