Every Movie Genre’s Top-Grossing Actor

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Actors are often associated with a certain genre. Bruce Willis is known as an action star; Tom Hanks is known for gripping dramas and offbeat comedies. However, it may surprise people to learn that many noted performers’ most profitable movies are in genres other than those for which they are best-known.

To determine the top-grossing actor by genre, 24/7 Tempo reviewed genre classifications from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and box office returns from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. Actors were ranked based on the total worldwide box office receipts for their movies in a specific genre, adjusted for inflation. Films in which an actor received first, second, third, or fourth billing according to IMDb were included in an actor’s box office total. Only actors with at least one lead credit in the genre were considered for inclusion. Worldwide box office data was adjusted for inflation using historical ticket prices from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Many actors in Hollywood have a reputation of being capable of playing a variety of roles, and winning prestigious awards for doing it. But there are also plenty of actors who have delivered such an outstanding performance playing a particular character that they are now typically only cast to play one type of role. (Here, on the other hand, are actors who turned down iconic roles.)

Ten actors on this list have played in more than 10 movies of the same genre – highly successful films that have made a total of over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. There are also a few examples of actors who have made the most money starring in movies of a genre not typically associated with them. (Here are 44 actors who are always typecast.)

For example, there is no doubt that John Wayne is the top-grossing actor in Westerns. But the top-grossing actor in the war movies category is…Brad Pitt.

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