Will Smith is top money-making star of 2008

MUMBAI: Will Smith tops the chart as Top Money-Making Star of 2008 in Quigley Publishing Company’s 77th Annual Poll and is the second black American to win, since Sidney Poitier who won in 1968. Smith, who starred in Hancock and Seven Pounds in 2008, placed second to Johnny Depp last year. This is Will Smith’s eighth appearance in the Quigley Poll since 1997, when he came in fourth.

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. Long regarded as one of the most reliable indicators of a Star’s real box-office draw because the selections are done by people whose livelihood depends on choosing the films that will bring audiences to their theatres.

There were four newcomers to the poll this year: Robert Downey, Jr., Christian Bale, Shia LaBeouf and Daniel Craig. Robert Downey, Jr., who starred in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, finished second in the voting followed by Christian Bale in third (The Dark Knight) and Shia LaBeouf, who was one of the Stars of Tomorrow last year, was fourth. (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, New York, I Love You and Eagle Eye).

Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) was fifth and Adam Sandler (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Bedtime Stories) was sixth. The rest of the Top Ten in order were: Reese Witherspoon #7 (Four Christmases), George Clooney #8 (Leatherheads and Burn After Reading), Angelina Jolie #9 (Kung Fu Panda – voice, Changeling and Wanted) and Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace and Defiance) was tenth. Ford has placed in the poll 13 times with one win and Clooney has been in the poll six times to date.

Perennial winner Tom Cruise did not make the Top Ten this year. He has been in the Top Ten 20 times since 1983, and been voted number one seven times. Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Bing Crosby have all won five times. 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 2008: one actor and one actress who they feel will be Top Money-Makers in the years to come. The 2008 winners are Anne Hathaway who starred in Get Smart, Rachel Getting Married and Passengers and Chris Pine who had a breakthrough performance in Bottle Shock in 2008 and will be Captain Kirk in next year’s Star Trek.

Top Ten Money-Making Stars of 2008.

1. Will Smith

2. Robert Downey, Jr.

3. Christian Bale

4. Shia LaBeouf

5. Harrison Ford

6. Adam Sandler

7. Reese Witherspoon

8. George Clooney

9. Angelina Jolie

10. Daniel Craig