Last year it was Pirate of the Caribbean Johnny Depp who drew more movie-goers to the box office, but this year Will Smith has reclaimed the title of Hollywood’s most bankable movie star.
And who would have ever thought that Robert Downey Jr. would be a close second? That is, I suppose, until his winning action hero debut as Iron Man last year.
No name on the marquee was more pleasing to theater owners in 2008 than Will Smith, according to a survey of movie exhibitors. Smith, star of “Hancock” and “Seven Pounds,” was voted the star who generated the most box office revenue for theaters in an annual survey by Quigley Publishing Co.
Smith is only the second black actor to be chosen in the Quigley poll, which since 1932 has asked movie exhibitors to vote on the 10 stars who brought in the most business. Sidney Poitier topped the poll in 1968.
Smith’s superhero summer blockbuster, “Hancock,” grossed $228 million. “Seven Pounds,” currently in theaters, has pulled in a somewhat lackluster $39 million in two weeks.
Following Smith, in order, were Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Tropic Thunder”), Christian Bale (“The Dark Knight”), Shia LaBeouf (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) and LaBeouf’s “Indiana Jones” co-star Harrison Ford.
The top 10 were rounded out by Adam Sandler, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig.
Last year’s winner, Johnny Depp, who didn’t have a film released this year, didn’t make this year’s poll, nor did seven-time winner Tom Cruise.