The 10 Highest Grossing Box Office Stars Who Have Never Made a Sequel

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The 10 Highest Grossing Box Office Stars Who Have Never Made a Sequel

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 4, 2013 | Comments ()


Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, both of whom make the list of the highest grossing Hollywood stars never to have made a sequel, debuted at the top of the box office this weekend with 2 Guns, which delivered a decent $27 million for the $61 million film (that is apparently slightly below expectations, but it's also in line with Denzel's recent history of opening weekends). I love Denzel, as I made clear here, and part of the reason I like him so much is that he doesn't sell out to franchises. He makes Denzel movies (as opposed to Wahlberg, who I also like, but who has tried, to no avail, to make franchises in Max Payne, the Planet of the Apes reboot).

Wahlberg, in fact, won't be on this list much longer, now that Ted 2 has been greenlit, and now that he's agreed to be in Transformers 4, double disqualifying him. But for now, he still hasn't made a sequel, believe it or not. It's difficult, in fact, to find big box office stars without sequels on their resume; number ten on this list is actually number 138th on the overall box-office list, as ensemble films like the Oceans movies, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Night at the Museum, or one of the many superhero movies have disqualified the first 101 people on the highest box-office grossing actors. I also didn't include voice roles or cameos in the calculation, while I did disqualify two who would've otherwise made the list -- Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci -- because they not only have sequels coming out very soon (Catching Fire) but because the original installment in those franchises are the only reason they are on the list. I didn't really want to because it's not the kind of cash-in sequel that made him a box-office star, but I also disqualified Jack Nicholson, too, for the Two Jakes.

Here are the 10 highest grossing box office stars who do not include a sequel in their filmography (although, in most cases, reboots, remakes, and adaptations figure heavily in their box-office tallies).

(Update: As a couple people who kind of miss the point of the list -- which is to say, it's about actors who have amassed box-office tallies because of sequels -- have pointed out, Leo was actually in Critters 3. However, that never had a theatrical release, and thus does not count in his box-office tally, and for the purposes/point of this list, it is not included. But yes! You are right. He was in Critters 3. You win the Internet, you incredibly smart person, you.)

1. Leonardo DiCaprio -- $2.2 billion

2. Denzel Washington -- $2.08 billion

3. Mark Wahlberg-- $1.86 (soon to be disqualified by Ted 2 and Transformers 4)

3. Alec Baldwin -- $1.78 billion

5. Meryl Streep -- $1.76 billion

6. Kevin Costner -- $1.73 billion

7. Ben Affleck -- $1.65 billion

8. Russell Crowe -- $1.55 billion

9. Jamie Foxx -- $1.54 billion (will soon be disqualified by The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

10. Richard Gere -- $1.37 billion

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Alex

    Fortunately Affleck being in the upcoming Superman movie can get people to stop posting about his minor roles in all the Kevin Smith movies

  • Sheepdog

    Ben Affleck is in a ton of Kevin Smith "sequels." Kind of a grey area.

    Meryl Streep will soon be disqualified by "Sophie's Other Choice."

  • Trapper

    Ben affleck was in clerks 2 so he is off the list too

  • NubbaOne

    I can't work out why Tom Hanks isn't on this list if voice roles are excluded. Help?

  • Cheecho

    Tom Hanks was in Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code

  • NubbaOne

    Ahhhh... Thanks

  • Kurt

    Affleck was in Clerks II, played Holden McNeil twice (Chasing Amy, Jay & Silent Bob) and played Jack Ryan in the Sum of All Fears.

  • Patrick Newman

    Ben Affleck being in Kevin Smith's movies as two different characters should disqualify him.

  • sohobapes

    I don't get the financial figures of this list, can someone explain? Why is Leonardo DiCaprio at $2.2 billion when Titanic alone made $2.2 billion?

  • dunnowhut

    Probably only including domestic

  • Brett

    In my opinion, I don't think you can disqualify someone from this list if they are staring in a sequel, but didn't star any other movie from the franchise. Example, Jamie Foxx is in the Spider Man 2 but not Spider Man 1. Or Mark Wahlberg for being in Transformers 4 but not 1,2, or 3. Mark should be disqualified for doing Ted 2, because he was in Ted 1.

  • Nib Oswald

    Um, I did a similar list for Australian actors and have Russell Crowe at $2.5 billion, along with films and combined international box office tallies listed. Are you going solely off US earnings?

  • Nib Oswald

    Eric Bana - $2.4 billion. Hulk counts as an original, yes?
    Isla Fisher - $1.8 billion.

  • Mckernanx32

    First off, it shouldn't count as a sequel if it isn't a sequel to a movie they were in (specifically, Jamie Fox was not in the amazing spider man. Therefor he is not reprising a role.) Second, you would have to remove Affleck from that list, as he has been in Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which all exist in the same universe, and so would count as sequels!

  • TeamBlight

    In all honesty does it make them bad actors of they have appeared in a sequel? I know there is some significant meaning to never be in a sequel aka never reprising a role. Some roles however are going to stand the test of time due to their greatness. I am glad that viggo mortensen was in the LOTR, he cherished being able to play such a beloved character to the point when asked to appear in the Hobbit he declined due to his obligation of being authentic to the books.

  • Andrew reid

    How does transformers 4 disqualify wahlberg if critters 3 doesn't disqualify dicaprio?

  • Rogain

    Hilarious that the way you respond to people who helpfully point out that DiCaprio has, in fact, appeared in a sequel, is to ridicule them.

  • Bon3r

    what about Tom Clancy movies? Do they count as franchises?

  • Guest

    Mark will be off the list for the Ted sequel

  • tmservo

    Ben Affleck was in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

  • rob towner

    every actor in Avatar?

  • Andrew

    Well Sam Worthington was in Clash and Wrath of the Titans. And Sigourney Weaver goes without saying. Zoe Saldana was in Star Trek and Into Darkness. The list goes on.

  • Fred

    Except Sigourney Weaver.

  • Sam

    Ben Affleck was in four straight Jay and Silent Bob movies, and played the same character in two of them. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a sequel in the same sense that The Avengers is a sequel.

  • e-rockafeller

    Ben Affleck shows up in Clerks 2.

  • MAu

    Wait... The Bourne Identity 1-- do not count?

  • Shyvin

    This article was written to make Johnny Depp cry, right?

  • Luke

    Ben Affleck was also in Daredevil, which got that terrible Elektra spinoff/sequel so...kinda DQ'd?

  • andrewjmeade

    Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck have both played Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy flicks.

  • jedberg

    You could avoid a lot of hassle from "smart internet people" if you rephrased it as "actors who have never played the same character in two separate films"

  • The Internet

    Ben Affleck was in Clerks II.

  • Johnny Nonsense

    The idea of an actor signing up for a sequel is only interesting if they originally didn't know there would be a sequel. Lord of the Rings was filmed in is entirety - all 3 parts at ones, so I wouldn't count that. Likewise, we know that James Bond has been an ongoing series - any actor who signs up for that is most likely not opposed to doing sequels, and as far as I know the stories were all written by Ian Fleming. Sequels are only interesting (in the spirit of what this article is trying to get at - the kind of sequel that disturbs us) if they were written and produced only as a result the popularity if their originals.

  • Tim Rowe

    Does it count if they're in a sequel but weren't in any of the previous movies? Or are we discounting any actor who's ever been in a sequel, even if they weren't in the earlier movies?

  • He was

    Leo was in Critters 3?

  • johfamer

    only one month ago, adam sandler would have led this list!

  • whocares

    What about Ben Affleck in "Sum of All fears" - sequel to other Tom Clancy Novels re Jack Ryan

  • OzTheGator

    There's a Devil Wears Prada sequel in the works for Meryl. I think the Jack Ryan roles should disqualify Ben and Alec but I guess I'll buy the reboot reasoning.

  • 13Marc

    Alec Baldwin was in Madagascar 2

  • "I also didn’t include voice roles or cameos in the calculation..."

  • Portsmouth David

    Has Kate Winslet ever made a sequel, she must have some money!

  • wiwille

    In other news, they're making a Transformers 4 movie, because clearly enough wasn't said.

  • John W

    Costner's never made a direct sequel but how many movies has he made where he plays a cowboy or baseball player? I keep expecting him to make a movie where he plays a baseball playing cowboy. The team he plays for? The Texas Rangers of course.

  • Mrs. Julien

    My what a captious extravaganza we're having this morning!

  • John G.

    DiCaprio's made a sequel. What about J.Edgar II: the Hoovering?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Do p*rn parodies count?

  • The Postman was a spiritual sequel to Waterworld in that they were both long, terrible, grandiose movies starring Kevin Costner.

  • Renn

    Afleck was in The Sum of All Fears. Dennis Quaid was in Jaws 3.

  • pajiba

    Sum was a reboot; Quaid has been removed.

  • Some Guy

    Was it really a reboot though? It's the next book in a chain of books starring Jack Ryan.

    Was Patriot Games a sequel to Hunt For Red October, or was Patriot Games a reboot since Ford replaced Baldwin as the titular character?

    Sure, Affleck is younger than the other two actors, but where/when/how was it ever described as a reboot? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Arran

    Crowe did almost did a Gladiator 2. Nick Cave wrote it. Maximus would've travelled through time and turned up at famous battles and wars.

    I'm not making this up, I swear.

  • ZizoAH

    Nicole Kidman should be on the list, $1,56 billion.

  • Scottieboy

    She was in Batman Forever though.

  • ZizoAH

    Right. Oops...

  • kirbyjay

    I think the point Mr. Rowles was trying to make was that none of these actors has done a sequel to their own movie, like The Departed 2: Gone Again or American Gangster 2 : American Jailbird, or Bull Durham 2: Sears Employee. Dennis Quaid didn't star in the original Jaws so being in Jaws 3D wouldn't count as a sequel for him. It actually didn't count for anything for him other than a colossal waste of film.

  • ed newman

    Except he says that Jamie Foxx will soon be disqualified for Amazing Spiderman 2 and Wahlberg will be disqualified for Transformers 4, so Rowles's methods here remain cloudy.

  • Some Guy

    I'm with you all. I think there should be a clear distinction between those starring in a movie that's a sequel to something that they didn't appear in previously, like Wahlberg in T4, and someone actually appearing in a sequel when they appeared in the one before, too.

  • Martin Schneider

    I could see a case for not including The Two Jakes. It's not a sequel in the sense that Rocky II is a sequel.

  • centinel

    Nicholson was also in The Evening Star, which was the sequel to Terms of Endearment.

  • kinoumenthe

    I wish Russel Crowe was not on this list, for a sequel to Master and Commander.
    But he is, and there isn't. I suppose I'll have to read it then.

  • I've got I pop quiz for you hotshots. Can you think of two actors who have played the same character in their own movie, (like Flynn and Costner have both payed Robin Hood) and who also both played another same character in their own film.

    I'm not explaining this well.

    Two actors have played the same character. They also both played another same character.

  • Gord Reid

    I have two...
    King Arthur -- Played by Sean Connery (First Knight) & Pierce Brosnan (Quest for Camelot, animated)
    James Bond -- (pick 'em)

    And the obvious one...

    Hamlet & Henry V -- Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Olivier

  • Excellent work, all of you!

  • Both Kurt Russel and Kevin Costner have played both Wyatt Earp and Elvis impersonators, but that's probably not close enough

  • Helo

    Crowe and Costner have both been Robin Hood AND Superman's dad. Which, of course, doesn't answer your question at all.

  • Arran

    Similarly, Russell Crowe and Glenn Ford have played both Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma and Superman's dad, but again it's different "Superman's dad" roles. Close, though.

  • maureenc

    Oh, the Double-Double? Can we include TV and recorded theatrical performances, or would that be cheating?

  • August

    Dennis Quaid is in Jaws 3-D.

  • I think the View Askew movies count as sequels, so Affleck is out.

    Being in a movie that is a sequel is different from being in a movie that is a sequel to one of your own movies.

    I think this list needs a little re-jiggering.

  • PDamian

    I had forgotten about "Holden's" appearances in View Askew movies. Good catch. Not sure if Clerks II counts, as he's credited as "Gawking Guy," but I always thought the guy was Holden, even if he's not mentioned by name.

  • Gord Reid

    "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" has to count. Hell, the title references one of the best sequels ever.

  • wiwille

    It was a sequel, he was in it, it counts.

  • centinel

    He even speaks in the movie. He's out.

  • van1968

    Yeah, when I saw the note about Jamie Foxx I was confused, because while Amazing Spider-Man 2 is obviously a sequel, he's never played Electro or Max Dillon before. Isn't that the relevant consideration?

  • Jesse W. Suttles

    It's really hard not to consider the Kevin Smith movies sequels.

  • Especially Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back where he plays the exact same character from Chasing Amy and a cameo of himself.

  • Scottieboy

    There was a script for Inside Man 2, and I heard Denzel was signed up for it. Just didn't happen for some reason. Which is a shame, because that's a sequel I would have liked to have seen.

  • blacksred

    because inside man only made 2 pennies and a piece of lint caramel hard candy. And Sam Worthington is as dry as Milquetoast.

  • capcalhoon

    WTF movie are you talking about?!? Inside man made $88M and Sam Worthington was nowhere near it (or, hopefully, you just end all of your posts that way).

  • blacksred

    Sorry i was thinking about Man on a ledge.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Um, excuse me. But Leonardo DiCaprio was in the 1991 classic, Critters 3, ok? Seriously, does this site even watch movies?

  • Nikkawhat

    Well, you certainly got owned in the update.

  • Ignacio Agulló Sousa

    Still, the articles title should be renamed to "The 10 Highest Grossing Box Office Stars Who Have Never Made a Sequel MOVIE".

  • Nikkawhat

    No... not at all. That would actually be counter-intuitive.

  • chanohack

    Are they talking about making another Jack Aubrey movie sometime? (Or is that my wishful thinking?)

  • Samantha Klein

    They bring it up every now and then, but last I knew Peter Weir had said he would NOT be involved, and so what's the point?

    Someone is just fucking with us.

  • Hatman

    I'll take you are treating Man of Steel reboot, not a sequel, otherwise Russell Crowe would be disqualified.

  • Josh

    Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe were in American Gangster, which I consider to be the spiritual prequel to Virtuosity, seeing as how their roles (Cop/criminal) were reversed.

  • That reminds me, I've been meaning to re-watch 'Virtuosity'.

  • phase10


  • Lemmo


    Finished that up for ya.

  • yeahbro

    Ben Affleck was in The Sum of All Fears.

  • DuBois

    Wikipedia classifies it as a reboot, which by the standards of this article wouldn't disqualify Affleck for this list.

  • Chris

    Affleck was in Jay and Bob 2

  • Kevin A

    He was also in "Clerks 2", or is that another "cameo"? Also when does a "cameo" stop being a came and start being a bit part? If you have a speaking role and a scene, doesn't that go beyond a cameo?

  • JamesFord

    A cameo is a bit part for really famous people.

  • e-rockafeller

    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the first and only "Jay and Silent Bob."

  • ike

    i came here to say this but now that you already said it, IN jay and bob's only movie ben Affleckis in good will hunting 2.

  • Clo

    Yes! I was scrolling down to the comments to write the same thing.

  • APOCooter

    "I also didn’t include voice roles or cameos..."

  • Bain

    While he did have a cameo as himself, he also played: Holden McNeil

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