June 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Actors Whose Titular Characters Have Grossed $1B Worldwide?

With Barbie joining the Tres Commas club last weekend, the cast and crew join 50+ other films with the box office honor of earning over a billion dollars.

But Margot Robbie herself joins any even more elite company of actors whose character’s name (or code-name/nickname) appears in the TITLE of the billion dollar film. Let’s go through all the member, but first we have to have a few rules because there were some judgement calls required. The main criteria was that it has to be that character’s name/nickname listed somewhere in the title, however it shows up. This excludes indirect references (Despicable “Me”) groups (“The Avengers”) or even family names (The Incredibles or…in a heated debate with my buddy, “The Super Mario BrotherS“), but you will see that there IS a duo on the list that I counted because they are individually listed.

Overall this group is a little smaller than 50. In addition to Robbie, we have:

Multiple Entries:

Tom Holland (Spider-Man:FFH and NWH) [He inherited the role from others, but he definitely took it to new heights.  I could see Tom Holland adding another with Spidey 4. Holland + the character Spider-Man = BANK!]

Christian Bale (TDK* and TDK: Rises) [I am counting the Dark Knight as a direct reference because that is definitely a nickname for Batman. It is a unique identifier that is clearly referencing a character,]

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/ Deathly Hallows: Part 2   [Couldn’t Radcliffe have posted a lot more if the movies came out a decade later?  The first film only got there by re-release* but the film joined Tres Commas club in first run on the series’ finale. I’m guessing if we did half a billion, Radcliffe would be soaring to the top!]

*Note: I’ve seen differing takes of whether TDK and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ACTUALLY crossed $1B with their subsequent releases, so this article is based on Box Office Mojo. Take it up with them!

Direct Reference Entries:

Tom Cruise: Top Gun Maverick [A title of “Top Gun 2” would have eliminated Cruise, but his callsign in the subtitle certainly counts as much as any superhero code name! Cruise’s entry is impressive given it is the only film on the list that isn’t a genre film or an animated feature.]

Chadwick Boseman: Black Panther [But for the tragedy, I know he’d have put up more entries in the billion dollar club.  BP2 made big bank even without his charismatic king leading the way.   Note: I am excluding the excellent John Kani who played T’Chaka in the afterlife in BP because the title of the film was clearly referring to T’Challa singularly at this point.]

Robert Downey Junior: Iron Man 3 [The guy who launched the biggest franchise ever deserves more entire but he has just the one. Billion dollar box office was just getting to be the new gold standard when he was wrapping up his solo franchise.  Plus, Doolittle didn’t add to the list. That we know. Even as a single, I dub RDJ the Tres Commas GOAT.]

Chris Evans: Captain America: Civil War [Chris Evans rode a sneaky, de facto Avengers sequel onto the list but we like him anyway, so good for him. If RDJ is the genesis of the MCU, Evans was the heart. He deserves his entry for everything he did to make the MCU so special.]

⁃ Emma Watson: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

⁃ Dan Stevens: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

[A duo sharing credit. Both are nicknames but they are a direct reference to them as characters individually and each serves as a nickname we know them as as much as their character names. You could make an argument that only Beast should count for B&tB because that’s literally what he is called but Emma Watson is obviously known as Belle. But I ain’t snubbing one of the few women on the list, so here she is! Besides, Wikipedia refers to them as the “eponymous” characters and Wikipedia is NEVER wrong. /s]

Brie Larson: Captain Marvel [One of two other female SOLO entries besides Robbie on the list. In Captain Marvel, Larson proved the haters wrong and led her movie to elite box office status. Even if the sequel is a massive hit, Brie can’t move into the multiple entry category because she’s sharing group credit in the next installment.]

Joaquin Phoenix: Joker [I’m still amazed this movie made a billion. A super strong performance by Phoenix is the main reason, so he earned his spot the hard way. I know this is a genre performance, but it definitely doesn’t feel like one.]

Mena Massoud:Aladdin [Massoud was excellent but he snuck in on Will Smith’s coattails.  Still his name is the title, so he gets in the club.  He’s like that SNL Five Timer that got in just by having a long career.  Funny enough, Disney Live Action remakes used to guarantee bank. They might have gone to well one too many times, so who knows when another will get into the billion club?]

Ellen DeGeneres: Finding Dory [Finding Dory was a good flick, but we know it rode Nemo’s coattails to glory and box office success.  Buuuuuttt….I’ll give props to Ellen here though because she was a huge part of the success of the franchise in the first place… so well earned!]

Mia Wasikowska: Alice in Wonderland [The first female titular character to ever cross a billion from Tim Burton’s adaptation of the classic novel.  How did this movie make a billion, though?  If I had to guess at all the billion dollar movies that were ever released, this would have probably been the last one I would have remembered. But scoreboard is scoreboard.]

James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron) [It counts, right? Its a subtitle and he was like the 7th or 8th lead, but it directly references his character, so he makes the cut…]

Jason Momoa: Aquaman [The dude is just charming. This movie, which me and my Friends call This Fish and the Furious, shouldn’t be a billion dollar movie. It wasn’t all that great.  But Jason smiled his way to a Tres Commas.]

Do These Even Count?

I think we can debate if these count. They are a little iffy…

Viggo Mortenson: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [This is the one I debated not including. He IS the titular King that returns, and King is a proper way to address Aragorn in the end of the film. Does he count?!?]

Daisy Ridley: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker [Is the title because she took the name? I think it does. But by the end ift]

Mark Hamill: Star Wars The Last Jedi [Isn’t it him that’s the last one in that movie title? Is his title as Jedi enough? Not sure but we love Mark so I’m all for keeping him!]

Donald Glover: The Lion King [His title here is pretty similar to The Dark Knight, right? Does he count?  I THINK so.  And if he counts…]

DJ McCrary: The Lion King [If Glover counts, he gets in as Young Simba.  The least famous entry buthe is also The Lion King if that’s the nickname.]

Martin Freeman: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [The other sequels of the trilogy wouldn’t make a billion, but Freeman struck gold on the nostalgia of the LotR trilogy. He was also excellent in the series even if the other installments disappointed. But does he count? There are several Hobbits. Is the use of the word “The” enough? I think so but my fellow Geek Ryan muddied the water a bit. What do you think?]

Did I miss anyone?  How should we treat the last group of actors?  Who will be the next entries in the Tres Commas club?