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Which Hollywood stars are the best value for money?

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By Mark Armstrong
Actors Jeremy Renner and Matthew McConaughey
Actors Jeremy Renner and Matthew McConaughey

The entertainment industry is a business and just like any other speculative venture investors look for the highest possible return on their investment (ROI).

So which actors represent the value for money in Hollywood?

By taking a look at major actors' last three movies and comparing the star's income to box office takings, Forbes magazine reckons it's got the answers.

Topping their list is Jeremy Renner (above left), one of the stars of Marvel's Avengers series, while the worst ROI under the mag's criteria is Matthew McConaughey.

Renner generated $82.70 (72.28 euros) in box office dollars for every $1 (0.87 euros) paid in salary for his last three films.

McConaughey, on the other hand, produced just $1.10 (0.96 euros) in returns having starred in highly paid roles in films including The Dark Tower.

So why the big difference?

Forbes freely admits all earnings are estimates. Clearly, there are variables involved. The Dark Tower was a box office disappointment and that is likely to involve many factors beyond McConaughey. Or maybe some actors are just paid too much; now there's a thought.

There are also huge variations in the production budgets of movies.

Forbes' findings do seem to indicate the profitability of films based on comic books heroes.

Following closely on Renner's ROI heels is another Avengers star, Mark Ruffalo, who comes in at a return of $80.20 (70.09 euros). Amy Adams, Lois Lane in the D.C. Comics movies, scores $69.90 (61.09 euros), and Gal Gadot, the star of Wonder Woman, returns $60 (52.44 euros).

Amy Adams, who plays Lois Lane in the D.C. Comics moviesReuters

The magazine points out that the more the franchise succeeds with each film, the more they have to pay the actors.

Joining McConaughey at the foot of the ROI hill are Christian Bale, $1.50 (1.31 euros), and Reese Witherspoon, $5.20 (4.54 euros).

But the good news for those found lacking is that it doesn't seem to be their acting ability that is failing to generate the big returns for investors. It's much more likely to be the parts they take and the type of movies they are in; the answer - get a job as a superhero.

Additional sources • Forbes magazine