Maleficent: Highest Grossing Movie of All Time Sold on a Single Movie Star’s Name

disclaimer: All this will be true + valid when Maleficent hits 700 million worldwide, which it is predicted to do….it is basically a LOCK to hit 700 million as of 7/10/2014

Remember those reports back in the beginning of  April 2014 that claimed Maleficent would bomb?

In addition, a once well respected box office analyst, Doug Creutz, has easily destroyed his reputation this Summer 2014. He was known for being remarkably accurate in predicting box office bombs/hits and the general ballpark domestic figure. However, last year, he incorrectly predicted World War Z starring Brad Pitt would bomb and this year he also incorrectly predicted Maleficent would bomb, as well as made some awful predictions on other movies.



*unadjusted for inflation though

What do I mean by that? I mean it is the movie that will have the highest worldwide gross that was marketed and sold on a single movie star/actor. For that, you look at the movie posters and see whose name is on the poster. This is known as the “billing”.

Of course, this does not mean that everyone who goes to see a movie went to see it because of a movie star,  but it means the studio marketed it with the actor in front and believes the actor is a huge draw.

As Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, said on Angelina Jolie, “It’s a unique  thing. Her star power transcends borders and genre.”

For example, Daniel Craig is the main actor of the James Bond movies and features prominently on all the marketing, but on the movie posters, you’ll notice his name is absent. Same thing with the Hunger Games. On the movie posters, we see shots of Jennifer Lawrence’s face, but her name is absent.

Likewise, for Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s name is large and across the top of the movie poster, but below his name in smaller font are the names of about 8 other actors. Or on other posters the marketing team tacked on “From the Director of the Dark Knight”.

Think Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts + Richard Gere. Everyone went to see Julia Roberts, but they went to see her character and not Julia Roberts – after all, this movie was Julia Robert’s break-out role.  And also the movie was marketed equally featuring Richard Gere + Roberts.

Similarly for Black Swan,  Natalie Portman won an Oscar and was front and center, but on the movie poster, you’ll see she shares billing with some other stars.

Or Gravity. Sandra Bullock was nominated for an Oscar and all media outlets kept referring to it as “Sandra Bullock’s Gravity” but really it was Bullock + George Clooney’s Gravity. Exit polling confirmed this as the Hollywood Reporter writes that (through CinemaScore) 42% of the audience showed up for Bullock and 40%  for Clooney. About equal.

Here’s the list of highest grossing movies sold on a single movie star’s name currently as of 7/11/2014:

Extracted from Box Office Mojo‘s List of the Highest Grossing Movies Worldwide of All Time.

1. Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol – 694.7

2. Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump – 677.4

3. Bruce Willis – The Sixth Sense – 672.8

4. Angelina Jolie – Maleficent – 634.1

5. Will Smith – Hancock – 624.4

6. Mel Gibson – The Passion of the Christ – 611.9

7. Tom Cruise – War of the Worlds – 591.7

8. Will Smith – I am Legend – 585.3

9. Ben Stiller – Night at the Museum – 574.5

10. Bruce Willis – Armageddon – 553.7

11. Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible 2 – 546.4

12. Brad Pitt – World War Z – 540.0

13. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Terminator 2: Judgment Day – 519.8

14. Tom Hanks – Angels & Demons – 485.9

15. Jim Carey – Bruce Almighty – 484.6

16. Johnny Depp – Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – 475.0

17. Tom Cruise – Mission: Impossible – 457.7

18. Russell Crowe – Gladiator – 457.6

19. Nicholas Cage – National Treasure: Book of Secrets – 457.4

20. Tom Cruise – The Last Samurai – 456.8

21. Ben Affleck – Pearl Harbor – 449.2

22. Matt Damon – The Bourne Ultimatum – 442.8

23. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – 433.4

24. Tom Hanks – Cast Away – 429.6

25. Kevin Costner – Dances with Wolves – 424.2

26. Hugh Jackman – The Wolverine – 414.8

27. Mel Gibson – Signs – 408.2

28. Tom Cruise – Mission: Impossible 3 – 397.9

29. Kevin Costner – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – 390.5

30. Bruce Willis – Live Free or Die Hard – 383.5

31. Arnold Schwarzenegger – True Lies – 378.9

32. Liam Neeson – Taken 2- 376.1

33. Harrison Ford – The Fugitive – 368.9

34. Will Smith – Hitch – 368.1

35. Mark Wahlberg – Planet of the Apes (2001) – 362.2

36. Tom Cruise – Minority Report – 358.4

37. Jim Carey – The Mask – 351.6

38. Nicholas Cage – National Treasure – 347.5

39. Will Smith – I,Robot – 347.2

40. Jim Carey – How the Grinch Stole Christmas – 345.1

41. Paul Hogan – Crocodile Dundee – 328.2

42. Jim Carrey – 325.3

43. *Glenn Close (Second Woman after Jolie) – 101 Dalmatians – 320.7

44. Eddie Murphy  – Beverly Hills Cop – 316.4

45. Harrison Ford – Air Force One – 315.2

46. Russell Crowe – A Beautiful Mind – 313.5

47. Mel Gibson – Ransom – 309.5

48. Sandra Bullock (Third Woman) – The Blind Side – 309.2


For women the two highest grossing (way below Maleficent) are Glenn Close’s 101 Dalmatians and Sandra Bullock’s the Blind Side.

In an industry dominated by men, it is absolutely EXTRAORDINARY that a woman could hold this title……unfortunately I doubt this is the kind of thing the Hollywood reporter, deadline, variety, or thewrap would be interested in reporting and pointing out.

By the way, the movie posters I included are only for those live-action movies that grossed higher than 700 million…..for movies in a series (like POTC or Harry Potter or James Bond, I generally included only the last poster in the series since at that point the stars have become their most famous and would carry the most weight….this happened to Tom Hanks who was not featured on the Da Vinci Code movie poster but was tacked onto the Angels & Demons movie poster. However, to note, Ben Stiller’s name got dropped in the sequel to Night at the Museum, but regardless, the above metric/reasoning did indeed hold true for POTC, HP, and James Bond).

Please double check for me though and point out if I’m woefully wrong because I missed a movie somewhere….but even if I did, Angelina will definitely be in the top 3 highest grossing movies sold on a single star’s name and the only woman out of how many men?!

I’d also like to point out that movies generally have 3-4 different posters (For the big movies at least ) and for Maleficent’s 4 posters, they all feature Angelina’s name and ONLY Angelina’s name. For Hancock, like 1 poster out of 4 featured Charlize Theron’s name, however I’m still giving it to Will Smith. But for Maleficent, no confusion. Only Angelina Jolie.

See, for Inception, Leonardo Dicaprio’s name was huge and in the center of the movie poster, but there were 8 names in smaller font below his and this was the main movie poster. The other 2 variations, one featured only Leo’s name but also tacked on “From the director of the Dark Knight” and the other one had everyone’s name again.

Similarly, I tossed out Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Wolf of Wall Street since Martin Scorsese’s name was in the same sized font as DiCaprio’s name. For Jake Gyllenhaal’s Prince of Persia, I removed it because his name was super small and Disney wrote on the poster “From the Producer of Pirates of the Caribbean”.

But for Maleficent, only Angelina, nobody else’s name is ever mentioned.



Congratulations to being one of the most bankable Hollywood movie stars, actress actor, of ALL TIME. Her star power is shining brighter than ever and she has proven herself to be a solid gold box office draw. She can headline a movie like no other star and is the only woman, female actor/actress, able to not only hang with the men, but stand on top of them as well.

The continuous Queen of the A-List indeed.


Click on the image to go to the IMGUR site and click again when your mouse becomes a magnifying glass to zoom in.



By hollywoodahole

2 comments on “Maleficent: Highest Grossing Movie of All Time Sold on a Single Movie Star’s Name

  1. Pingback: Maleficent Is Fourth Highest-Grossing Film Sold On A Single Movie Star’s Name |

  2. Hello,

    Kindly update the article. Angelina’s Maleficent has now topped the list with around $700 million.


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