Brad Pitt: Top Money-Making Movie Star of 2011 Brad Pitt has been voted the Top Money-Making Star of 2011 in Quigley Publishing Company’s 80th Annual Poll of Motion Picture Exhibitors. This is Pitt’s sixth appearance in the Poll, but his first win. Exhibitors felt Pitt was responsible for more traffic to theatres than any other Hollywood star based on his performances this year in “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life” and “Happy Feet Two.” (voice)

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. It has been long regarded as one of the most reliable indicators of a Star’s real box-office draw because the selections are made by professionals whose livelihood depends on choosing the films and actors that will bring audiences to their theatres. The Quigley Poll appears annually in Quigley Publishing Company’s International Motion Picture Almanac and on our web site: Both list the results of all the Polls since Marie Dressler, Janet Gaynor and Joan Crawford took the top three places in 1932.

George Clooney placed second this year based on “The Ides of March,” where he was also the Director, Producer and Co-writer and “The Descendants.” Johnny Depp, last year’s winner, made it to #3 this year with 2011 roles in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “The Rum Diary.” Depp has placed in the poll seven times as has this year’s #4, Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in “J. Edgar.” Matt Damon, #5, had a very busy year with “Contagion,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Margaret” and “We Bought a Zoo.”

2009’s winner, Sandra Bullock, placed #6, which marks her fifth appearance in the Poll. She first placed in the survey in 1995. There were two first-timers this year, Bradley Cooper #7 and Ben Stiller #10. Bradley Cooper was in “The Hangover Part II” and Ben Stiller was in “Tower Heist.” Robert Downey, Jr. was #8 on the strength of “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and Meryl Streep was #9 as ‘The Iron Lady” and is in the Top Ten for the fourth time.

Tom Cruise has not placed in the Poll since 2006 but he has been in the Top Ten 20 times since 1983, and been voted number one the most of any actor – seven times. Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Bing Crosby have all won five times. Clint Eastwood has been in the poll 21 times starting in 1968. Currently, Exhibitors appreciate him more as a Director that brings audiences to their theatres. John Wayne, Doris Day and Shirley Temple each finished first four times, but John Wayne was voted one of the Top Ten Money-Making Stars an astounding 25 times from 1949 to 1974.

Exhibitors were also asked to name the Stars of Tomorrow for 2011: one actor and one actress who they feel will be Top Money-Makers in the years to come. The 2011 winners are Rooney Mara who played Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and Jonah Hill who had a breakthrough performance in “Moneyball” and starred in “The Sitter.”

Top Ten Money-Making Stars of 2011

1. Brad Pitt
2. George Clooney
3. Johnny Depp
4. Leonardo DiCaprio
5. Matt Damon
6. Sandra Bullock
7. Bradley Cooper
8. Robert Downey, Jr.
9. Meryl Streep
10. Ben Stiller

Stars of Tomorrow:

Rooney Mara
Jonah Hill

Quigley Publishing Company was founded in 1915 and has published the International Motion Picture Almanac annually since 1930 and the International Television & Video Almanac since 1955. Historical data, analysis and all of the Top Ten Money-Making Star Polls dating back to 1932 are available in the 2011 edition of the International Motion Picture Almanac and on our web site:


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One Comment

  • February 25, 2012 | Permalink |

    Brad Pitt
    Moneyball: 50M budget, 108M worldwide
    Tree of Life: 32M budget, 54M worldwide

    George Clooney
    The Ideas of March: Budget 12.5M, 69M worldwide
    (guess Clooney didn’t include his salary in budget since he produced and acted)
    The Descendants: Budget 20M, 144M Worldwide

    Johnny Depp
    Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Budget 250M, 1,043b Worldwide.
    Rum Diary: Budget 45M, 23M Worldwide

    Leonardo DiCaprio
    J. Edgar: Budget 35M, 76M Worldwide

    Matt Damon
    Total budget of 2011 movies: 220M
    Worlwide gross 2011: 330M

    Sandra Bullock
    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: Budget ?, 33M Worldwide

    Bradley Cooper
    Limitless: Budget 27M, 161M Worldwide
    The Hangover Part II: Budget 80M, 581M Worldwide

    Robert Downey Jr.
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Budget 125M, 510 Worldwide

    Meryl Streep
    The Iron Lady: Budget 13M, 60M The Iron Lady

    Ben Stiller
    Tower Heist: Budget 75M, 148M Worldwide

    Tom Cruise
    Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Budget 145M, 670M Worldwide

    Shia Lebouf
    Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Budget 195M, 1123M Worldwide

    Robert Pattinson
    Water for Elephants: Budget 38M, 117M Worldwide
    The Twilight Saga: Budget 110M, 702M Worldwide

    As you can clearly see from the numbers, the poll is not accurate nor reliable and does not successfully reflect the “Top Money-Making Movie Star 2011” of the movies released in 2011.


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