Men top list of Hollywood's worst hires

OVERPAID: Tom Cruise part of a pack of leading men who take more than they give. (Jim Spellman/ Getty Images) OVERPAID: Tom Cruise part of a pack of leading men who take more than they give. (Jim Spellman/ Getty Images)
In Hollywood, men still make more than women, but that might be due for a change. According to Forbes, some of the highest paid actors in show business are some of the industry's worst investments. The reporters crunched film costs, salaries and box office grosses to determine the ten most over-paid film superstars. Nine out of ten were men.

Will Farrell offered the lowest return. For every $1 he makes, his films earn an average of $3.35. That's a bad investment by any standards. Eddie Murphy, Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler and Vince Vaughn also aren't worth the mega millions they earn, based on the number-crunching. Drew Barrymore was the only woman on Forbes' list, but she still promised a better profit for backers than Cruise or Farrell.

The big problem may be that some male movie stars command mind blowing salaries, but they're not able to back it up at the box office.

"Ferrell's The Other Guys earned $119 million in the U.S. and only $41 million abroad," explains Forbes' entertainment reporter Dorothy Pomerantz. "Compare that to a movie like Angelina Jolie's recent thriller Salt: That film also earned $118 million in the U.S. but brought in an additional $173 million overseas."

The reason their salaries may be so high is that men are traditionally considered stable promotional figures. Their romantic lives are traditionally kept more under wraps, they're less likely to be labeled divas, and they're not going to get pregnant during their world promotional tour.

But we now many male superstars come with bigger baggage that can taint box office numbers far more than maternity leave. Just look at Mel Gibson's meltdown that turned the media titan into an untouchable; and Tom Cruise's bizarre promotion of Scientology that certainly put a crimp in his box office figures.

Meanwhile top paid actresses like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston may have their personal lives under the microscope but it rarely bleeds into their box office credibility. Maybe it's because their better at working a red carpet, or because their public scandals err on the side of heartbreak.

Ann Hathaway had her own share of public scandal, when her ex-boyfriend was outed as a con artist just as her star came into bloom. But that hasn't stopped her from being one of the best investments Hollywood can bet on. She earns an average of $1 to every $64 the movie makes. Other leading ladies like Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker and Meryl Streep all promise a higher rate of return than Cruise and his cronies.

So how is that Cruise and Adam Sandler, two of Hollywoods most over-paid actors according to Forbes, are also two of Hollywood's highest earners? Cruise raked in an average $20 million this year, while Sandler earned $44 million. Compare that to Meryl Streep who commanded $12 million. Her most recent film, "It's Complicated" surpassed $200 million in ticket sales. That's over $100 million more than Sandler's "Funny People" made worldwide.

If you're in the business of buying stars, wouldn't you spend more for the one with the lowest risk and the highest return? Do the math, Hollywood.