In some of my recent public appearances, I've more than once mentioned "Evan Almighty." The reason: It's a good example of the financial definitions of Hollywood success. According to Boxofficemojo.com, it has so far taken in more than $97 million at the U.S. box office (about $109 million when you throw in international revenues). But, since it cost an estimated $175 million to make, it is so far a financial flop -- and it will need to sell a lot of DVDs to show a profit.
I was thinking about this again today because Forbes has done a financial analysis of stars' box-office clout. Best value: Matt Damon among men, Jennifer Aniston among women. ...
We could argue about some of the specifics in their methodology. For example, it includes just the three most recent movies for an actor or actress, and even then eliminated one movie because Forbes considered it a limited release, and some big recent movies were not factored into calculations.
But it adds validity to its calculations by using worldwide movie grosses -- since the film business is genuinely international -- and factoring in DVD sales, which can be the path to profit for many films. (Again, "Evan Almighty" must have its fingers crossed until the video versions comes out.)
Still, I would have liked to see a longer list of evaluated performers. And maybe a look at how this works with performers who spend a lot of time in independent films. Wouldn't the math be a little different there -- smaller box-office revenue, but also smaller paychecks, so a name actor can help a movie more by lending his name by not breaking the budget?