Forget Oscar—Who Were 2008's Rainmakers?

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 1:51 PM CST
Forget Oscar—Who Were 2008's Rainmakers?
Meryl Streep.   (AP Photo)

The Oscars are coming up, but that orgy of self-congratulation doesn’t celebrate what really matters in Hollywood: money. Forbes crunched the numbers for 2008 and selected the winners of a different award: the Rainmaker.

  • Best Actor: Robert Downey Jr. returned $52.60 to Paramount for every dollar it spent to put him in Iron Man. The sky-high profit was enabled by Downey's then-low asking price, an aftereffect of his years of trouble with drugs and the law.

  • Best Actress: Meryl Streep wasn't as good a deal as Downey, but the 59-year-old can still rake it in: For every buck spent on her considerable fee, Mamma Mia! recouped $12. The film earned $575 million worldwide.
  • Best Film: Indie fave Juno, which just squeaked past Forbes' Dec. 1, 2007, deadline, made $15.40 on the dollar.
  • Best Director: No surprise here—Juno's Jason Reitman, with no stars to pay and no budget to speak of, tops the list.
  • Best Studio: Iron Man? Indiana Jones? Both brought to you by Paramount, which boasted a 173% return on investment in 2008.
(More Robert Downey Jr. stories.)

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