The 20 Movie Stars With The Biggest Box Office Appeal

The fact that Top Gun: Maverick (2022) grossed over $1 billion at the box office, but proves that Tom Cruise has the power to fill movie seats even in the age of streaming. And according to a new poll, he’s better than any other actor in Hollywood.

As Matthew Belloni reported in the April 24 edition of his Puck newsletter, the National Research Group (NRG) recently conducted a national survey asking people “to name up to five actors they would be most interested in seeing. a film in a cinema”. Cruise came in first place, followed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Tom Hanks.

The first three are a telling snapshot of the kind of actor who can draw people to movie theaters these days, namely older (and mostly white) men with storied Hollywood careers. The average age of the entire top 20 is 57.5, per Belloni; and only four actors are in their 40s, including Leonardo DiCaprio (8th place), Kevin Hart (10th), Ryan Reynolds (13th) and Chris Hemsworth (20th). The only three women to appear in the top 20 have also been in the business for decades: Julia Roberts (6th), Sandra Bullock (12th) and Angelina Jolie (18th). The recent high-profile scandals don’t seem to have had an effect on people’s fandom either, given that Will Smith and Johnny Depp both landed in the top 10.

The survey itself could be partly responsible for the age bias. In an interview on Belloni’s podcast The city, Ray Subers, senior vice president of theater strategy for NRG, revealed that although they interviewed a “nationally representative sample” of people aged 12 to 74, they were “pretty heavily older in this study”. Younger stars performed much better among younger respondents. Tom Holland and Zendaya, for example, were 39th and 47th respectively in the overall study, but 10th and 14th among Gen Zers alone.

That said, the data seems to support the theory that current box office appeal is less about actors and more about established intellectual property, from superheroes to Super Mario. Names like Cruise, Hanks and Roberts can still draw people into theaters because their personal marks as movie megastars were cemented when they weren’t.

Check out the top 20 below and learn more takeaways from the study as you listen The city or by subscribing to Puck.

  1. Tom Cruise
  2. Dwayne The Rock Johnson
  3. tom hank
  4. brad pitt
  5. Denzel Washington
  6. julia robert
  7. Will Smith
  8. Leonardo DiCaprio
  9. Johnny Depp
  10. Kevin Hart
  11. Keanu Reeves
  12. Sandra Bullock
  13. Ryan Reynolds
  14. Adam Sandler
  15. Harrison Ford
  16. George Clooney
  17. Robert Downey Jr.
  18. Angelina Jolie
  19. Morgan FREEMAN
  20. Chris Hemsworth

[h/t Puck]

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