Each year, the Quigley Publishing Company conducts a poll to answer the question: Who are the top ten box office draws? Via Quigley’s website:
“The Quigley Poll, conducted each year since 1932, is an annual survey of motion picture theatre owners and film buyers, which asks them to vote for the ten stars that they believe generated the most box-office revenue for their theatres during the year. Long regarded as one of the most reliable indicators of a Star’s real box-office draw because the selections are done by people whose livelihood depends on choosing the films that will bring audiences to their theatres.”
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of these generic “End of the Year Top Ten” lists, but the above explanation shows that this is not just a list founded on emotion and trendiness- it’s founded on economic viability, as concluded by the collective group of theater owners. Plus, the poll does hold a certain degree of authority, since it’s been published in the International Motion Picture Almanac for the past 77 years. So without further ado, here’s the list of stars, along with the 2008 films in which they starred:
2. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Tropic Thunder)
3. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
4. Shia LaBeouf (Indiana Jones; New York, I Love You; Eagle Eye)
5. Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones)
6. Adam Sandler (Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Bedtime Stories)
7. Reese Witherspoon (Four Christmases)
8. George Clooney (Leatherheads, Burn After Reading)
9. Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda – voice, Changeling, Wanted)
10. Daniel Craig (Quantum Of Solace, Defiance)
I think that the list is pretty accurate overall, though I would question how much drawing power Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig actually have. I’m more inclined to give the edge in drawing power to Indiana Jones and James Bond over the actors who play them. Yes, they each had a blockbuster that came out this year that made a ton of money, but their stars definitely didn’t make big hits out of 2006’s Firewall ($48 million), or 2007’s The Golden Compass ($70 million vs. its $205 million budget) and The Invasion ($15 million). Sometimes you can be in many successful films, but not be a huge draw in your own right- just ask Elizabeth Banks. In fact, if you look only at raw box office numbers, you know who the biggest star of this entire decade is? Stan Lee.
What about you? Who is your personal box office draw? Mine is definitely Ryan Gosling- I’ve been a total convert ever since I saw him in Lars And The Real Girl.