- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Top-rated stars

Forbes.com today published Forbes’ inaugural ranking of Hollywood stars who deliver the highest returns at the box office, based on their pay.

The “Forbes Ultimate Star Payback” ranks 22 actors with starring roles in their past three major motion pictures, although the biggest stars in Hollywood are not necessarily the actors who deliver the biggest returns.

Net revenue figures were calculated for each of the actor’s films by adding up their worldwide box office and U.S. DVD and video rentals, and then subtracting the budget. The net revenue figure was then divided by the actor’s total compensation to derive gross income. The average gross income for the actor’s last three major motion pictures is the “payback.”

Matt Damon tops the list — for every dollar he got paid, his movies averaged $29 of gross income. Others in the top five and their gross payback were Brad Pitt ($24), Vince Vaughn ($21), Johnny Depp ($21) and Jennifer Aniston ($17).

At the bottom of the list is Russell Crowe, whose films earned an average of just $5 for every dollar he was paid. Top-earning funnymen Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey also rank near the bottom of the list.

Gallic ire

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, rarely shy in front of cameras, found enough was enough Sunday when chased down by two news photographers while boating in his bathing suit on his American holiday in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Mr. Sarkozy angrily confronted two photographers and even jumped aboard their boat when they snapped pictures of him and his family, one of the photographers told Agence France-Presse.

“Zut alors! French president loses his temper on Lake Winnipesaukee,” was the banner headline yesterday on the front-page of the local newspaper, the Union Leader. It ran with a photograph of an upset Mr. Sarkozy pointing his index finger directly at the photographer.

The incident occurred at about 2 p.m. Sunday, when the French leader and his family were taking a boat trip on Lake Winnipesaukee, according to Vincent DeWitt, who works for Sipa photo agency.

Mr. DeWitt and an Associated Press photographer took off around 1 p.m. on a boat to get close to the swank vacation home Mr. Sarkozy was visiting.

“I could see that he was angry. He had the boat captain steer towards us,” Mr. DeWitt said. “President Sarkozy [then] stepped onto our boat. He started talking very agitatedly in French. Everybody was quiet except for him. He was pointing at me,” Mr. DeWitt said, adding that Mr. Sarkozy even grabbed his long-lens camera.

A woman with dark hair then said in English in a very calm voice: “The president asked that no pictures were taken.” Mr. Sarkozy calmed down, and again asked that no pictures be taken.

Fabrice Chanudet, in charge of Mr. Sarkozy’s security, told AFP that he had nothing to say about the incident.

Mr. Sarkozy arrived at the resort on Friday and is staying with his family in a lakeside mansion. It is his first summer break since becoming president in May.

Knot tied (finally)

Usher and Tameka Foster, who are expecting their first child together, have wed.

“I exchanged vows with Tameka Foster in Atlanta on Friday and we are happily married,” Usher told Usmagazine.com in a story posted yesterday.

According to the magazine, a small, private ceremony was held in the office of Usher’s lawyer and his mother and former manager, Jonetta Patton, was in attendance.

The couple called off their July 28 wedding amid reports that Miss Foster had checked into a hospital because of problems with her pregnancy.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.