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How to Make it as an Actor: Forbes Top 10


Every year, Forbes Magazine releases series of lists ranking moguls on income, popularity, and achievements. Here at MovieNomics, the Forbes List Highest Paid Actors caught our eye.

The Average-Joe probably thinks it’s unfair that celebrities get paid as much as they do get paid. A celebrity’s clout can drive a deal to the most insane of contracts: income of tens-of-millions for a single movie role, long term negotiations for sequels to come, and rights of power to call the shots if that celebrity wants things his or her way. So in the spirit of analysis, we wanted to take that list and see how money is deserved. This post will deal with our male celebrities who made the Forbes list, with our female celebrity analysis, How to Make it as an Actress: Forbes Top 10, to come at a future date.

First, we’ll break down the details. Data was collected based on the Top 10 Paid Actors to identify income collected and movie roles between June 2012 and June 2013. Next, IMDB StarMeter was taken into account because this number is based on “demand:” the more an actor is in demand, the higher the ranking (well, more like the lower since highest ranking is 1). Furthermore, Forbes continues to provide lists of data by listing celebrity clout. The rankings of Press, Marketability, and Social are based on appearances in tabloids, desirability to marketers, and social network strength, respectively.
Forbes Methodology

The following is the data, ranked by the celebrities’ income:

Actor

2012 Income ($Millions)

Average Income per Movie

IMDB StarMeter

Number of 2012 Films (Jun’12 – Jun’13)

Press Rank

Marketability Rank

Social Rank

Robert Downey Jr.

75

37.5

70

2

54

4

68

Channing Tatum

60

10.0

29

6

41

36

40

Hugh Jackman

55

13.8

11

4

27

14

32

Mark Wahlberg

52

13.0

106

4

48

4

53

Dwayne Johnosn

46

11.5

93

4

49

4

27

Leonardo DiCaprio

39

19.5

41

2

24

4

35

Adam Sandler

37

18.5

102

2

57

4

13

Tom Cruise

35

35.0

49

1

3

56

9

Denzel Washington

33

33.0

202

1

N/A N/A N/A
Liam Neeson

32

10.7

382

3

N/A N/A N/A

Sources: IMDB Pro, Forbes

So, as previously mentioned, I asked myself, “How this money is deserved… is money based on their IMDB StarMeter? Number of films that celebrity acted in throughout the year? Or maybe their Marketability, Press, or Social rank?” My findings are based on regression analysis, a form a statistics that seeks to find the strength of a relationship between variables. Formals on charts with “R2=” represent the strength of the relationship; the closer to 1, the stronger the relationship. Trend-lines formed in-between scatter points represent the goodness-of-fit. This line tracks a relationship in terms of the variables.The following was found:

Income to IMDB Ranking

income to imdbThe trend-line shows that a positive relation exists among Star ranking and Income. Note that rankings place “1” at the highest value. However, the R2 of .25 of the trend-line shows that there is great variability among the points, and therefore,  a strong relationship does not exists between the stars’ IMDB ratings and their yearly income.

Income to Number of Films

income to # films

Again, the trend-line shows that a positive relationship exists in income to the number of films. However, outliers skew the strength of the relationship to R2 = .21 ; an even weaker relationship than that of income to star meter.

Income to Press Appearances

income to press

This, interestingly enough, shows a negative relationship in the relationship of press presence and income. Press, shown at ranking with “1” as the highest, represents how many times that celebrity has appeared in tabloids during the year. However, the strength of this relationship is moderately high at R2= .41.

Income to Marketability

income to marketability

Again, the lower the marketability number, the higher that celebrity is ranked for his appeal to marketers. This regression shows that there is absolutely no relationship in the two variables: the trend-line shows almost no slope and R2 is the weakest of all regression analyses. What does this mean? A relationship cannot be validated, although one would think that the higher the appeal to marketers, the higher that celebrity would get paid. The presence of outliers may again skew the data.

Income to Social Power

income to social

 

Another interesting find shows that higher income is not determined by social clout. Here, higher social network ranked celebrities earned the lower levels of income. The is further strengthen by the R2 rate of .81, the highest strength between all variable sets. Whereas social media engagement is a two-way road that involved exchange, this concludes that highest paid celebrities lack the power of social engagement.

Conclusion

Although the relationship between income and IMDB StarMeter ran fairly week at .25, I think this trend-line speaks the loudest to my question of “What drives income?” Here, we see that the higher the IMDB score, the more that celebrity is paid. Although some outliers may result in a low R2 relationship, we need to remember that these are the top 10 highest paid actors and data does not represent the total data set that could include 500 celebrities. IMDB scores are also accurate to measure the demand for an actor, meaning that the highest of rankings can pull an audience just with their name. This, in itself, is worthy to pay an actor an average of $37.5 million per film (see Robert Downey Jr. above).

 

Add to the list of variables! What other factors do you think have a strong relationship to how much an actor is paid?

 

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