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You Will Never, Ever Guess Who Hollywood’s Most Profitable Star Is

Grab a hat and get ready to hold onto it as we explain who was deemed the movie biz’s best ROI—and how one of today’s biggest stars was ranked the worst.

You Will Never, Ever Guess Who Hollywood’s Most Profitable Star Is
[Photo: Glow Images, Inc / Getty Images]

Harrison Ford has one space-boot in the Star Wars franchise and a sandy shoe planted in the Indiana Jones series. As of 2016, his massive catalog of movies has generated $4.71 billion, making him the indisputable box office king. However, Harrison Ford is not the most profitable star in the galaxy. No, if producers want true bang for their buck, they need to look elsewhere.

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Specifically, they need to look for esteemed Breakfast Club member and Repo Man apprentice Emilio Estevez.

Analysts from online gaming platform PartyCasino recently studied box office data from 1980 to 2017, looking for the best return-on-investment of any male actor who has starred in at least 10 films. (According to the New York Post, the reason they didn’t have the extended data for actresses was that “women, unfortunately, are less likely to be the top-billed actor for a movie.” Ugh.) It seems the guy with the smallest paycheck and highest return for studios in that 37-year span was none other than Gordon Bombay himself, Emilio Estevez, who has triple-deked his way to the top.

[Animation: Universal Pictures / Imgur]
You may be asking yourself questions like, How is this even possible when I don’t remember any Emilio Estevez vehicles beyond the year 1996? That is a very reasonable question. It makes sense, though, considering that until the ’90s and even into the early 2000s, budgets and star salaries were relatively tame compared to today’s $300 million turds that shell out unconscionable $25 million paydays for their stars. Something like St. Elmo’s Fire would make a respectable $38 million on a $6 million budget, and with an ensemble cast of seven, it’s unlikely Estevez’s paycheck broke the bank. (Exact salary data is unavailable.) Between Estevez’s Brat Pack streak–where he was churning out hits like St. Elmo’s, Breakfast Club, Stakeout, and Young Guns–and the Mighty Ducks trilogy, his ROI was downright Blair Witch-ian.

And here’s something that might shock you even more: The study found that the least profitable movie star is Brad Pitt, who has apparently returned only 10 cents for every $1 spent on his movies between 1980 and 2017. Hmm, perhaps there’s still time to recast Estevez in World War Z 2 and put this data set to the test…