Vanity Fair’s Top Hollywood Earners of 2009


I might have saved this one for the next edition of Frivolous List Friday except that it involves some heretofore unmentioned upcoming animated feature films and details on earnings from voiceovers — a “hot topic” here as one of this blog’s most-read articles.

Names of note on Vanity Fair’s list of “Top Hollywood Earners”:

#7. Ben Stiller: Madagascar film series
– VF: Estimated “$5 million: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (back-end bonus for voice work, and share of DVD)”

#8. Tom Hanks: Toy Story series
– VF: Est. “$15 million: Toy Story 3 (fee for voice work in upcoming “3-D-quel”)”

#12. Adam Sandler: voices in 8 Crazy Nights and upcoming Zookeeper
– VF: Est. “$2 million: Zookeeper (fee for voice work in and producing upcoming animated feature)”

#16. Owen Wilson: voices in Cars and upcoming Cars 2 sequel and Marmaduke
– VF: Est. “$1 million: Marmaduke (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film based on tired comic strip)”

#17. Nicolas Cage: G-Force
– VF: Est. “$2 million: G-Force (back-end bonus for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $285 million)”

#19. Cameron Diaz: Shrek series
– VF: Est. “$10 million: Shrek Forever After (fee for voice work in upcoming 3-D “fourquel”)”

#21. Johnny Depp: voice in upcoming Rango animated feature
– VF: Est. “$7.5 million: Rango (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film)”

#22. Steve Carell: voices in Over the Hedge and upcoming Despicable Me
– VF: Est. “$500,000: Despicable Me (fee for voice work in upcoming animated feature)”

#29. George Clooney: Fantastic Mr. Fox
– Earnings info from Fantastic Mr. Fox not available.

#31. Reese Witherspoon: Monsters vs Aliens
– VF: Est. “$10 million: Monsters vs. Aliens (back end for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $381 million, and share of DVD)”

#40. Brad Pitt: voice in upcoming Megamind feature film
– VF: Est. “$5 million: Megamind (fee for voice work)”

Related post: 4.27.2009 — How Much Do Voice Actors Earn?

Hollywood’s “Most Valuable” Comedians


Following Forbes’ list on Animation’s A-List Actors, they have now ranked Hollywood’s Most Valuable Comedians.

This is a continuation of Forbes’ series posting results from the 2008 polling of “hundreds of entertainment industry professionals to rate 1,400 actors on critical financial metrics, such as their abilities to attract financing for films and drive box office revenues.”

And Entertainment Weekly has spared us the hassle of clicking through Forbes’ photo countdown in order to view the complete list:

1. Adam Sandler
2. Will Ferrell
3. Ben Stiller
4. Jim Carrey
5. Vince Vaughn
6. Steve Carell
7. Eddie Murphy
8. Sacha Baron Cohen
9. Jack Black
10. Robin Williams

What does this have to do with voice acting? Well, did you happen to notice that every comedian on the list has lent their voice to an animated feature film, and some of them more than once?

I realize that the discussion over celebrity voices in animation has been done to death. Heck, I just did a whole feature op-ed on the subject last month. And not that any of the above comedians/actors have performed poorly as voice actors (although Adam Sandler often fails to impress me), but I was reminded recently that whenever I watch an animated feature with a poor celeb performance, I always catch myself trying to imagine what other actors might have sounded like in the same role, and how improved the character performance might have been if the studio had actually taken the time to audition other actors until they found the ideal voice for the part, rather than the mad rush to cast and launch the marketing campaign first and ask questions later after the film failed to meet their box office expectations.

I’ve never thought to ask if anyone else does this too. Feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment — especially any examples of specific roles that you think would have been improved by casting a different actor, and who you think that actor should have been.