But when Sandler strays his films tend to flop. In Funny People, from director Judd Apatow, Sandler played an aging, lonely comedian dealing with a life-threatening illness. The film was a bust, earning only $71 million.
Our No. 4 earner, Will Smith, took a similar path of establishing a persona and sticking with it. The actor has yet to play a bad guy–he's almost always the hero who swoops in to save the day. Thanks in part to his hefty upfront paycheck for the upcoming sci-fi comedy Men in Black III, Smith earned $36 million.
In fifth place: Tom Hanks with $35 million. The actor's most recent film, Larry Crowne, was a bona fide flop, earning only $51 million at the global box office, but that's unlikely to hurt Hanks' earning power. His next film is an adaptation of the best-seller Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, co-starring Sandra Bullock.
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