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Consider this a follow up of sorts to our recent piece on the death of the movie star: Forbes has compiled a list of the top ten overpaid stars in Hollywood. Topping the list is Will Ferrel—who has had a string of box office duds lately (Land of the Lost’s failure comes to mind), yet still commands a high salary. According to Forbes, Ferrell’s films earn an average of $3.29 for every dollar he was paid. Compare that to Forbes’ most bankable star, Shia Lebeouf, whose movies make an average of $160 for every dollar of his compensation.

Second on the list is Ewan McGregor, who doesn’t command a high salary, but his films post-Star Wars have generally performed poorly (Angels and Demons being the big exception). For every dollar he was paid, his recent films made an average of $3.75.

To devise their figures, Forbes looked at Hollywood’s 100 biggest stars, calculated their overall earnings on each of their films (but skipped animated films), and also calculated an operating income from each film’s budget vs. earnings. With that information, they proceeded with the following:

We added up each star’s compensation on his or her last three films and the operating income on those films and divided total operating income by the star’s total compensation to come up with each return-on-investment number.

Some names on the list are somewhat surprising, like Billy Bob Thornton and Ice Cube, but it’s usually because their recent films have been performing exceptionally poorly, and not due to high salaries. Others are certainly expected, including Eddie Murphy, Tom Cruise, and Jim Carrey.

Of course, these calculations rely on how successful films are financially, and not necessarily how good they are. For example, Norbit was actually a hit, and kept Eddie Murphy from topping the list. But if Eddie Murphy made dozens of movies like Norbit that were each massively successful, I’d still personally consider him vastly overpaid for making lazy and dumb movies.

Check out the entire list in pictures at Forbes.

Discuss: Do you agree with this list? Who else would you consider overpaid? Do you think quality also needs to be calculated to be truly accurate?

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