The top-grossing actors of Aotearoa


Yes, acting is an art, not a competition. And yet we have the Oscars. It’s about the work, but yet we obsess about the box office.

In the spirit of arbitrary rankings, we decided to rank the total lifetime worldwide box office earnings of actors from Aotearoa. Using info from www.the-numbers.com (supplemented with the odd correction), you’ll find the ranked top 20 below, converted into New Zealand dollars for your convenience.

No role was too big or too small to include – with the results proving that supporting roles in a number of big movies can trump a steady career of leads (and that appearing in LOTR and Hobbit movies helps greatly)…

Please bear in mind this means little in personal earnings, but given how it’s interesting to look at lists like the highest grossing stars of 2018, we thought it only fair to put locals under the money microscope…

1. Marton Csokas – $8,185,302,526
(LOTRAlice in Wonderland, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Noah, The Bourne Supremacy, xXx, Kingdom of Heaven)
2. Karl Urban – $7,906,032,292
(LOTR, Thor: Ragnarok, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek, Star Trek Beyond, The Bourne Supremacy, Red)
3. Russell Crowe – $6,521,310,143
(Man of Steel, Gladiator, Les Misérables, The Mummy, Noah, Robin Hood, A Beautiful Mind)
4. Sam Neill – $5,828,720,371
(Jurassic Park, Thor: Ragnarok, Jurassic Park III, Peter Rabbit, The Hunt for Red October, The Vow)
5. Temuera Morrison – $4,575,118,042
(Star Wars: Ep. III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Ep. II – Attack of the Clones, Moana, Green Lantern)
6. Dean O’Gorman – $4,344,121,463
7. Manu Bennett – $4,326,757,590
8. Mark Hadlow – $4,326,742,682
9. Jemaine Clement – $4,209,896,629
10. Anna Paquin – $4,074,289,858
11. Cliff Curtis – $3,160,947,404
12. Rena Owen – $2,777,281,562
13. Craig Parker – $2,688,138,039
14. Daniel Gillies – $2,544,742,752
15. Rhys Darby – $2,376,679,505
16. Rachel House – $2,237,577,408
17. Nathaniel Lees – $1,946,566,880
18. John Tui – $1,859,565,726
19. Lucy Lawless – $1,668,861,417
20. Taika Waititi – $1,614,129,757

Since you’ll have noticed that women are painfully underrepresented in the list above, here are the top ten-grossing female actors:

1. Anna Paquin – $4,074,289,858
(X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2, The Good Dinosaur, X-Men, Scream 4)
2. Rena Owen – $2,777,281,562
(Star Wars: Ep. III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Ep. II – Attack of the Clones, A.I.The Last Witch Hunter)
3. Rachel House – $2,237,577,408
(Thor: Ragnarok, Moana, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Boy)
4. Lucy Lawless – $1,668,861,417
(Spider-Man, Bedtime Stories, Boogeyman, EuroTrip)
5. Robyn Malcolm – $1,460,258,621
(LOTR, Hostiles, Boogeyman)
6. Keisha Castle-Hughes – $1,393,439,582
7. Zoë Bell – $1,360,276,845
8. Melanie Lynskey – $1,081,468,825
9. Simone Kessell – $731,255,463
10. Emily Barclay – $235,319,149

Let the arguments begin!


This story is part of our month-long celebration of 40 years of NZ film. Follow all our daily coverage here