The road to success in Hollywood is paved with blockbuster hits. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at which actors have the biggest box office numbers… starting with Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson, who's appeared in more than 100 films throughout his 46-year career, including many in the $7.7 billion-grossing "Avengers" franchise. Other notable films include "Captain Marvel" and "Incredibles 2," which individually pulled in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Samuel's on track to break a new record thanks to the July 2, 2019, release of his latest action-adventure movie, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," which grossed more than $310 million worldwide within its first three days in theaters. Keep reading to see who else is on this exclusive list of the biggest male box office earners…
As the star of box office hits like the "Iron Man" trilogy, "Sherlock Holmes" and the $7.7 billion-plus-grossing "Avengers" films, longtime leading man Robert Downey Jr. is a Hollywood legend. With his post-"Iron Man" track record, it seems anything RDJ attaches his name to turns into a bona fide blockbuster. Up next, we'll see him in the 2020 comedy-fantasy flick "The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle" followed by a return to his famed sleuthing role in 2021's "Sherlock Holmes 3."
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Not only did Harrison Ford headline one blockbuster film franchise — he starred in two! Beginning in 1977, Harrison played Han Solo in the space trilogy "Star Wars," a part he reprised in the 2015 sequel "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" — which earned over $2 billion at the worldwide box office. While the success story of these films is reason enough to brag, Harrison is also the star of four "Indiana Jones" movies including "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" — which have brought in a combined haul of more than $1 billion in global sales. At 76, Harrison is still going strong. In 2021, he's returning to the big screen with a currently untitled "Indiana Jones 5" project.
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Seven-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper has risen to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, all thanks to his breakthrough performance in the "Hangover" trilogy — which brought in a combined $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office. Today, this hunky and talented actor has starred in an unbelievable number of hits including "American Sniper," "American Hustle" and "A Star is Born" and has voiced Rocket in two "Guardians of the Galaxy" films and the $2 billion-plus-grossing (each!) final two "Avengers" films.
With his ever-growing roster of hit movies, it's easy to see why Oscar-winning actor, producer, director and writer Tom Hank is such a legend in Hollywood. His resume includes blockbuster films like "Big," "Forrest Gump," "Saving Private Ryan," "Cast Away" and, perhaps the highest grossing of all, the "Toy Story" animated film franchise, which brought in $1.93 billion at the worldwide box office with its first three films. On June 21, 2019, Tom returned to the big screen with "Toy Story 4" which as of early July has earned more than $535 million worldwide.
We're not surprised that Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman (the voice of God himself) landed on our list of major box office earners. With a career that spans back to 1964, Morgan's credit reel includes successful films like "Bruce Almighty," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Wanted" (to name just a few) as well as the $2.6 billion worldwide-grossing trilogy "The Dark Knight," which co-starred Christian Bale.
A master of on-screen transformations, British star Andy Serkis has contributed his undeniable talent and voice work to many blockbuster films. With 100 credits to his name, some of his most popular movies include the $2.9 billion-grossing "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, both "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (which earned a combined $3.4 billion worldwide) and Marvel's $1.3 billion-grossing "Black Panther."
If Dwayne Johnson's post-wrestling mission was to make money at the box office, then he's succeeded. With a Hollywood career that spans just 20 years, The Rock has headlined some of Hollywood's top-grossing films, including the $962 million-grossing "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," and four films in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, which, combined, have brought in more than $6.2 billion at the worldwide box office. On Aug. 2, 2019, Dwayne returns to the big screen with "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," which is expected to make upwards of $115 million during its opening weekend.
Chris Pratt has had the good fortune of starring in several blockbuster Hollywood hits that made bank. Some of Chris's top-grossing films over the last decade include "Guardians of the Galaxy" Vol. 1 and 2, which earned a combined $1.59 billion worldwide, as well as the more than $7.7 billion-grossing "Avengers" franchise and "Jurassic World" 1 and 2, which, combined, earned more than $2.9 billion globally. Of course, those numbers are expected to climb even higher in 2021 as Chris returns to the big screen with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" and "Jurassic World 3."
Making money at the box office is mission: possible for legendary action star Tom Cruise. This industry behemoth helped drive more than $3.5 billion in ticket sales for his wildly popular "Mission: Impossible" franchise. Other films like "Minority Report," "War of the Worlds" and "The Last Samurai" also fared well at the box office, bringing in a combined total of $1.4 billion in global sales. Of course, because he's Tom-freaking-Cruise, he's not done slaying on the big screen. In 2020, Tom will star in the sequel "Top Gun: Maverick" followed by "Mission: Impossible 7" in 2021 and "Mission: Impossible 8" in 2022.
Surprised to see Eddie Murphy on our list? Don't be. This acclaimed actor and comedian might have taken a (temporary) step back from Hollywood, but he made a lot of money at the box office years ago with several blockbuster hits including the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise, "Coming to America," "Dreamgirls" and both the "Nutty Professor" and "Dr. Dolittle" franchises. Of course, none of these films hold a candle to Eddie's biggest franchise to date: "Shrek." The animated fairy tale adventure series grossed more than $2.95 billion at the box office. Eddie's even hinted that there might be a "Shrek 5" in the works!
Landing the lead role in "Captain America" proved to be a game changer for Chris Evans. The popular superhero film franchise, which consisted of three movies, brought in a combined $2.2 billion at the worldwide box office and led to his starring role in the even more successful "Avengers" film franchise, which earned a jaw-dropping $7.7 billion in worldwide sales.
The third Chris in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Australian-born actor Chris Hemsworth, is also a blockbuster film star thanks to both the "Avengers" and "Thor" franchises, which have brought in a combined $9.6 billion at the worldwide box office. Prior to holding the hammer of Asgard, Chris's highest grossing film was "Snow White and the Huntsman," which earned $396 million in global sales. Not too shabby considering that before "Thor," Chris was a relative unknown in Hollywood.
As the star of the $4.5 billion-grossing "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise, it's easy to see why controversial Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp landed on our list. Other blockbuster hits on his resume include "Alice in Wonderland," which raked in a cool $1 billion at the worldwide box office, and the $653 million-grossing 2018 fantasy sequel "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald."
Along with co-starring in two "Iron Man" films, three "Avengers" movies and "Captain America: Civil War" — which, all combined, grossed more than $9.2 billion at the worldwide box office — Don Cheadle has another blockbuster franchise on his resume. This Oscar-nominated actor also starred in the "Ocean's 11" trilogy, which earned more than $1.12 billion globally.
Stanley Tucci starred in the $2.9 billion-grossing "The Hunger Games" franchise and had a role in both "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Transformers: The Last Knight," which earned more than $1.7 billion at the worldwide box office. He's also appeared in top-earning films like "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Captain America: The First Avenger," which each earned more than $325 million at the box office.
Whether he's lending his voice to the live-action/CGI adventure "The Jungle Book" — which grossed $966 million at the box office — or co-starring in Marvel's "Thor" and "Avengers" franchises, which brought in a combined $9.6 billion in worldwide sales — it's clear that Idris Elba is a man with major star power. Even "Zootopia," in which Idris voiced Chief Bogo, managed to gross more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. He'll add to his totals after "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" comes out in August 2019.
Just counting his work in Marvel films like the "Avengers" franchise, Mark Ruffalo's box office haul puts him in the $8-billion-plus club. Other top-performing films on his resume include "Now You See Me" and its sequel, which grossed a combined $668 million at the worldwide box office, as well as the 2010 psychological thriller "Shutter Island," which brought in more than $294 million in sales.
Two-time Oscar-nominated actor Sir Ian McKellen has three major film franchises and a hit live-action/animated movie to thank for his box office success over the years. Along with starring as Magneto in several of the $5.7 billion-grossing "X-Men" movies, Ian also played wizard Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" franchises, which each earned more than $2.9 at the global box office. We also can't forget his turn as Cogsworth in 2017's "Beauty and the Beast," which brought in a cool $1.2 billion in worldwide sales.
While some of Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch's box office success can be attributed to the four Marvel Cinematic Universe films he's starred in as Dr. Strange, including the final two "Avengers" films — which earned a combined $4.8 billion worldwide — it's a little-known secret that he also played a role in two films from the "Hobbit" franchise, which, in total, earned $2.9 billion in global sales. Benedict's other success stories include 2018's "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch," which earned $511 million at the box office, and 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness," which grossed a cool $467 million worldwide. Up next for the British actor? "Doctor Strange 2."
First of all, did you know that in 1995, Jeremy Renner co-starred in "National Lampoon's Senior Trip?" Neither did we. More importantly, did you know that this Oscar-nominated action star has appeared in several of Hollywood's biggest film franchises to date? That's right. Along with his role as Hawkeye in the $7.7 billion-grossing "Avengers" franchise and the $1.1 billion-earning "Captain America: Civil War," Jeremy has also been in two "Mission: Impossible" films, which each earned more than $680 million at the worldwide box office. Other films of note include blockbuster hits "The Bourne Legacy" and "American Hustle," each of which earned more than $250 million in global sales.
One of the few Marvel stars who's appeared as two different Marvel characters is actor Josh Brolin, who famously played Thanos in the "Avengers" franchise — which earned an insane $7.7 billion worldwide — as well as Cable (another bad guy) in "Deadpool 2," a film that grossed $785 million at the box office. Prior to Josh's blockbuster success with the MCU, his most successful film had been the 2012 action comedy "MIB 3," which brought in more than $624 million worldwide.
Will Smith proved himself a blockbuster star early on with his headlining role in the 1996 action-adventure flick "Independence Day," which earned an impressive $817 million at the worldwide box office. Will followed his success with a starring role in the "Men in Black" franchise, which brought in a combined $1.6 billion in global sales. Other hits include "Suicide Squad" — which earned $746 million worldwide — and "Hancock," which managed to bring in more than $624 million at the box office. Will recently broke his own box office record with 2019's "Aladdin," which, as of July 2019, has earned more than $897 million, making it the highest grossing individual film of his nearly 30-year career in Hollywood.
With more blockbuster hits than letters in his name, bald and brawny actor Vin Diesel is a Hollywood success story. Beginning with his breakthrough role in the 1998 war drama "Saving Private Ryan" — which earned an impressive $482 million at the worldwide box office — Vin has gone on to star in a plethora of hit films. His resume includes the $5.1 billion-grossing "Fast and Furious" franchise, two films in the $7.7 billion "Avengers" franchise (he's the voice of Groot!) and the $1.6 billion-grossing "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise. Although they haven't surpassed the billion-dollar mark, his other franchise hit, "xXx," is also worth a mention after its films earned a combined $623 million at the worldwide box office. Vin's numbers are likely to climb much higher as he's set to star in "Fast & Furious 9" in 2020, followed by "xXx 4" and "Fast & Furious 10" in 2021.
No list of top box office stars is complete without Northern Irish acting legend Liam Neeson. One of Hollywood's most recognizable action stars, Liam has a portfolio of blockbuster hits that includes the $1 billion-grossing space saga "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight Rises" — which earned a combined $1.4 billion at the box office — and the $1.5 billion-grossing "The Chronicles of Narnia" trilogy. Other worthy mentions include the "Taken" trilogy, which earned more than $929 million worldwide, and the mythological adventures "Clash of the Titans" and "Wrath of the Titans," which made $798 million at the global box office.