When it set out to rank Hollywood’s 100 most valuable stars, Vulture tried to determine one thing: “Who helps a movie actually make more money in 2012?” It’s not as easy to answer as it might seem, considering some big names struggle to bring in big numbers … and vice versa. For more on how Vulture figured it out, click here—or read on for the top five:
- Robert Downey Jr.: His success is particularly striking, seeing as he was “nearly unhireable” just 10 years ago.
- Will Smith: If he’s attached to a project, “it’ll get made and be a hit.” He’d probably be No. 1 on the list if he’d made more movies recently.
- Johnny Depp: This once-outsider is now decidedly mainstream, and the Pirates franchise has done particularly well for him.
- Denzel Washington: Sure, he’s not as “flashy” as the top three on this list, but he’s consistent—all of his last 10 films, save one, grossed in excess of $50 million.
- Brad Pitt: He’s done 18 magazine covers in the past five years, although he has yet to win an Oscar.
Click for the complete list
. (Wondering when a woman finally appears? Angelina Jolie, No. 8.)