As with the list of the Top 10 Actors at the Box Office 2017, this has been returned to its usual slot in September, thanks to a number of changes within the list itself, including a goodbye to Anne Hathaway, and some interesting jockeying for position. With only a few months left to go before 2018 potentially changes things even more, the list continues to reflect the popularity of older movies made by these actresses, and the likelihood that the top six all are here to stay indefinitely. Last year‘s list was interesting because of how many changes there were and this year is no different, making it look as if the Top 10 Actress list can provide more surprises than its male counterpart. And with many of the stars on the list appearing in some big movies in 2018, where they land up this time next year is just as open to debate as previous years.
NOTE: HGM stands for Highest Grossing Movie, and the figures represent the worldwide gross. And all figures are courtesy of boxofficemojo.com.
10 – Sandra Bullock / HGM: Minions (2015) – $1,159,398,397
Down two places from last year, Bullock has been quiet of late, and at the moment has only Ocean’s Eight next year ready to hit our screens. It’s too early to tell if this female-centric reboot will attract audiences in the same way that Steven Soderbergh’s own reboot/remake did, but if it doesn’t, then there’s a good possibility that Bullock will be off the list next year and back to the fringes.
9 – Jennifer Lawrence / HGM: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) – $865,011,746
Up one place from last year, Lawrence has had a patchy couple of years recently, but though Passengers (2016) made over $300 million, her place on the list is just as liable to be taken over by someone else as it is to be retained. Watch this space then, because Lawrence’s upcoming slate of releases consists of just three movies, one of which is the not-exactly-wanted-right-now X-Men: Dark Phoenix, due next year. If she’s to stay on the list, that movie needs to be more like X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and less like X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).
8 – Zoe Saldana / HGM: Avatar (2009) – $2,787,965,087
The newbie on the list, Saldana arrives thanks to her involvement in not only Avatar (and just think where she could be in a few years’ time if that movie’s sequels are anywhere near as successful as James Cameron hopes they’ll be), but also through her work for Marvel, and to a lesser extent, her thankless role in the latest Star Trek franchise. It’s as much a certainty as you could get that she’ll be on this list now for quite some time to come. The only question is: how far will she go?
7 – Julia Roberts / HGM: Pretty Woman (1990) – $463,406,268
Dropping two places a la Bullock, Roberts keeps a firm grip on her place in the Top 10, but with her workload getting lighter and lighter – just one TV episode lined up for 2018 at the moment – and with everyone immediately around her appearing in movies that have the potential to bring in blockbuster-sized returns, her place on the list isn’t quite as assured as it has been since it started back in 2014. It would be a shame too, as she’s the only person on either list whose HGM earned less than $500 million.
6 – Cate Blanchett / HGM: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – $1,119,929,521
Also dropping two places (is this a theme?), Blanchett is unlikely to be any lower on next year’s list thanks to her upcoming appearances in the eagerly awaited Thor: Ragnarok later this year, and that Ocean’s Eight reboot. There’s also the (hopefully less than) small matter of Andy Serkis’s version of The Jungle Book in which she plays Kaa. She may even bound back up a place in the process. But a mid-place position seems to be where she’ll remain whatever happens.
5 – Elizabeth Banks / HGM: Spider-Man 3 (2007) – $890,871,626
Roberts and Blanchett’s misfortune is Banks’s gain as she moves up one place from last year, and does so thanks to her appearance in the moderately successful Power Rangers. However, with only her supporting role in Pitch Perfect 3 (this year’s most dubious Xmas present), and high concept The Happytime Murders along with her directorial turn on the Charlie’s Angels reboot keeping her occupied, Banks’ rise up the list may come to a halt, or even a decline, a lot sooner than expected.
4 – Helena Bonham Carter / HGM: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – $1,341,511,219
Bonham Carter slips one place to four (she’s never been lower), and retains her position in the top five despite making a number of low profile, barely-registered-at-the-box-office movies in the last few years. She too is in Ocean’s Eight, and so it’s likely she’ll remain in the top five, but with little else on the horizon, there’s equally a chance that she’ll be even further down the list come next September. If there’s one actress on the list who it’s hard to determine if they’ll suffer or not in the rankings, Bonham Carter is that actress.
3 – Cameron Diaz / HGM: Shrek 2 (2004) – $919,838,758
Diaz’s top three place on the list is all the more astonishing due to the fact that she hasn’t made a movie since the ill-advised remake of Annie in 2014. Since then, Diaz hasn’t been attached to a single project and appears to be in some kind of semi-retirement, seemingly content to write self-help books instead. Whatever the future may bring, it’s still unlikely that she’ll slip from the list altogether, but her tenure in the top three – unassailable until now – may not last too much longer.
2 – Emma Watson / HGM: Beauty and the Beast (2017) – $1,262,852,042
A leap of five places from last year’s number seven spot sees Watson challenging hard for the number one spot, but even though Beauty and the Beast will keep her near the top for some time to come – probably – she is currently on something of a sabbatical, with no projects currently lined up in the near future. This may see her drop a place or two next year, but again, like so many others on the list, suffering that kind of result in future years won’t necessarily mean au revoir but à bientôt instead.
1 – Scarlett Johansson / HGM: The Avengers (2012) – $1,518,812,988
Perhaps an inevitable outcome, Johansson retains the top spot she grabbed last year, and like her Marvel co-star Samuel L. Jackson on the Top 10 Actors list, looks set to stay where she is for quite some time to come. Beyond Avengers: Infinity War there’s nothing else lined up for her (not even a Black Widow solo movie – surprise, surprise), but it won’t matter a bit; Johansson is here to stay and no one else can touch her.