Johansson had a dominant 2014
It’s a safe bet that The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be the highest grossing film of the year next year, but I was curious how the principal seven cast members fared when it came to being the biggest box office draw on a non-Avengers year. Of the main cast — Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner — only Hemsworth didn’t have a film released in 2014 (fitting as he has four coming in 2015).
And to make it fair, I eliminated Captain America: The Winter Soldier [Blu-ray] so Evans, Johansson and Jackson had to get by on their other projects. Still, by a wide margin, Johansson proved to be the most profitable Avenger in 2014 carrying films that otherwise would have limped to weak returns at the box office. But you may be surprised how far and away she outdid her co-stars.
Surprisingly even if you added Evans’ biggest hit and second highest grossing film of 2014 so far, he would still just be in third place among his peers thanks to audiences not caring about his latest science-fiction film. Evans can still have bragging rights though as he headlined the best reviewed film of all of his Avengers co-stars as Snowpiercer earned a fantastic 95% on RottenTomatoes.com.
2014 Gross: $4.5 million
One of only two-time Oscar nominated members of the cast, Renner would welcome more screen time for Hawkeye as his two efforts this year failed to stir up much interest from audiences.
2014 Gross: $5.4 million
4. Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Foxcatcher)
“Foxcatcher” has yet to open wide, but unless it gets a major Oscar boost, he’ll remain in the fourth spot thanks to his well-received romance drama with Keira Knightley.
2014 Gross: $18 million
3. Samuel L. Jackson (Robocop)
In an unusually slow year for the normally prolific Jackson, his fates were tied to the underwhelming remake of the 1987 cult classic, but the curiosity factor was enough for him to earn the third slot.
2014 Gross: $58 million
It’s a testament to Downey’s popularity that he was able to carry The Judge to $46 million based largely on his name value. And it’s almost not worth counting his cameo in Chef, were it not for his name likely helping the film get out to theaters.
2014 Gross: $77 million
- Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin, Lucy, Chef)
No other actor (not named Jennifer Lawrence) had as big a year as Johansson, who earned raves for her performance in Under the Skin, also made a cameo in Chef and proceeded to carry the confusing Lucy to $126 million. Add in the $259.7 million from Winter Soldier and Johansson brought in $419.3 million without the benefit of two franchises to pad her numbers like Lawrence with X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
Johansson is rumored to be starring in Ghost in the Shell and DreamWorks absolutely needs to break the bank to make sure she headlines its film as clearly she’s worth the investment. 2014 Gross: $159.6 million