A-listers’ paychecks versus profit and other reminders that you’re poor

Think you’re underpaid? Think
the guy three cubicles down from you is overpaid? Well, take heart.
Your pay scale cannot be as wonky and egregious as that of the Hollywood
elite. Forbes magazine did some complex calculations based
on some superstars’ last three films (don’t ask me to explain the equation;
I’m a writer and therefore allergic to math). They found that some were paid
appropriately based on their rate of return, and others were vastly
overpaid. Now, I may not be good at math, but duh.

The high and low ends of the scale
belonged to male stars. Matt Damon had the best pay-to-profit
ratio; for every $1 he earned, his films grossed $29. The worst? Russell
Crowe — for each $1 he made, his films made $5. Talk about your fuzzy
math. Of course, I’m most interested to see how the female A-listers

The worst earners weren’t a
shock, per se: Cameron Diaz ($1/$9), Nicole Kidman ($1/$8)
and Jennifer Lopez ($1/$7). The artist formerly known as J-Lo
has been cranking out stinker after stinker. Nicole’s pale perfection
has inspired similarly pallid box office, and that’s not even counting
the Golden Compass disappointment. But Cameron? That’s a tad
surprising, especially after all those Shrek triumphs.

Those in the middling earnings
department included
Sandra Bullock
($1/$13), Reese Witherspoon ($1/$13) and
Renée Zellweger
($1/$14). I kind of thought they’d fare worse,
so good for them.

And the most profitable female
stars? Oooh, the tabloids are gonna love this. Angelina Jolie
(at $15 profit for every $1 she earns) and Jennifer Aniston (at
$17 profit for every $1 she earns). And just to ensure that Us Weekly editors
will be salivating for weeks to come, Brad Pitt was the second most
profitable on the list, just behind Matt at $1/$24. I can see the “Jen
comes between Brad and Angie!” headlines now.