Shia LaBeouf is Hollywood’s Most Bankable Star

Remember when Jim Carrey was paid a reported $20 million for The Cable Guy back in 1996? That seemed like an insane paycheck for a guy who talked to people out of his ass. But upfront salaries aren’t all that. Actors like back-end profits as well. (How do you think Jack can afford front row seat for the Lakers – it’s all the Batman moola.)

Forbes released a list today of the actors who offer the most return for a studio’s investment. And for a second straight year, the honor goes to Shia LaBeouf. straight year, Shia LaBeouf is the actor offering the biggest bang for the buck, according to a Forbes list released Monday.

Forbes calculated that for every $1 LaBeouf was paid, the movie in which he appeared earned $81 in profit.

In the past two years he’s had four movies released. However, he was only the central star in one of those films, Eagle Eye. The majority of his top ranking is because of the summer blockbusters Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), which took in $787 million worldwide, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which brought in $836 million worldwide.

For the ladies, it was Anne Hathaway placing third. A $1 billion gross for Alice in Wonderland and (gulp) Bride Wars‘ $115 million will do that. Hathaway’s movies generate $64 in profit for each $1 she earns. Again, the marketing for Alice was all about Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.

As for Depp, he just cracked the top 10 despite the massive salary he is usually paid. He was paid $1 for every $18 in profit his movies earned.

In coming up with the list, Forbes looked at the top 36 earners in Hollywood who made at least three films in five years that opened wide. They calculated box office, DVD and TV sales and subtracted a movie’s budget, stripping out marketing costs, “which are susceptible to accounting chicanery.”

Rounding out the Top 5 were Daniel Radcliffe ($61 in profit for each $1 paid), Robert Downey Jr. ($33) and Cate Blanchett ($27).

You can read the complete list here.

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