Zoe Saldana’s Highest Grossing Films, What to Watch After ‘Avatar’

Zoe Saldana is an underrated force in the entertainment industry. She is one of the few actors to have starred in three of the highest-grossing films of all time, including “Avatar,” and roles in the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise. The 42-year-old has an estimated net worth of $35 million.

Still, she has yet to place on Forbes’s annual list of highest-paid actresses.

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Zoe Saldana attends Cadillac Celebrates The 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Chateau Marmont on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Saldana portrayed Neytiri in the original “Avatar” film, which brought over $2.7 million globally. It became the highest-grossing movie of all time after its release in 2009. Her acting credits roles also include roles in Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy,” “Star Trek,” her second highest-grossing film of all time, “Avengers: Infinity War,” and her third, “Avengers: Endgame.”

Multiple outlets have predicted that the sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” will need to surpass $2 billion to satisfy Disney, which spent over $350 million to produce and market the film.

The sequel is on track to become her fourth highest-grossing film after bringing in roughly $555 million worldwide since hitting theaters on Friday, Dec. 16. According to reports, the Hollywood vet only made $8 million for “The Way of Water,” which is double what she received for the first film.

After starring in several movie series, the Queens, New York, native shared that she “felt stuck doing these franchises” in an interview this past November. She clarified her statements in another interview, where she described herself as the “luckiest girl in town” for joining the MCU, which has reportedly brought in over $28 billion in box-office earnings. 

“I would love to set the record straight,” Saldana told Deadline. “I feel grateful and like the luckiest girl in this town knowing that I was invited to join films with special directors in a special cast. And they resonated with people so much so that we get a chance to come back again and come back another time. 

She said, “If anything, I’ve reaped all the benefits of that, I’ve gained friends. I still have mentors that I call and I lean into.”

For more Saldana, here’s a running list of her other high-grossing films.

“Avengers: Endgame” ($2.7 Billion)

Saldana played Gamora in Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which brought in $2.7 billion at the box office. She was reportedly paid $11 million, despite producers spending the hefty price tag of $356 million.

“Avengers: Infinity Wars” ($2.4 billion)

The entertainer also portrayed Gamore in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity Wars.” The film’s $321 million budget produced just over $2 billion in earnings. However, according to Parade.com, she made about $3 million, while her co-stars reportedly made three times that amount.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2” ($1.6 Billion)

According to The Things, it’s rumored that Saldana only made $100,000 for 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The film made over $772 million from its $170 million budget. The outlet believes she was underpaid, despite the role coming after appearances in successful films, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Star Trek” and “Avatar.”

The Business Insider noted that “lesser-known actors” like “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot or Henry Cavill from “Man of Steel” were paid significantly more — reportedly between $150,000 to $300,000. 

Saldana also appeared in 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which earned more than $863 million domestically and internationally from a $200 budget. The salary she received for the film is unknown. 

“Star Trek” ($1.1 Billion)

Saldana played a heavy role in three films from the “Star Trek” franchise. She portrayed Nichelle Nichols‘ groundbreaking role as Nyota Uhura in the popular television series.

Her highest-grossing film from the franchise is 2013’s “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” which pulled in a whopping $467 million. She also starred in 2009’s “Star Trek” ($385 million) and 2016’s “Star Trek: Beyond” ($343 million).

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Black Pearl” ($654 Million)

Johnny Deep’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Black Pearl” was a box-office hit in 2003. Saldana played a small role as the female pirate Anamaria in the film, which went on to gross over $654 million with a budget of $140 million.

“The Book of Life” ($99 Million)

The actress, who is OF Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, unlocked a new chapter after participating as a voiceover character in “The Book of Life” as Maria Posada. The 2014 children’s movie, also starring Channing Tatum, grossed $99 million on a $50 million budget.

Colombiana” ($71.5 Million)

In 2011’s “Colombiana,” Saldana was cast as trained killer Cataleya Restrepo, whose goal is to avenge the murder of her Colombian drug-dealing parents. The film grossed over $71.5 million on a $40 million budget.

“The Losers” ($29 Million)

Saldana played Aisha in the 2010 action thriller “The Losers,” alongside Idris Elba and Chris Evans.” It grossed $29 million on a $25 million budget.

Center Stage” ($17 Million)

Saldana began her acting career with appearances in NBC’s “Law & Order,” before appearing in music videos. Her dance background landed her her first feature role in 2000’s “Center Stage” as the passionate dancer Eva Rodriguez. The romance drama follows 12 teenage dancers on their journey to join the best of the best at the American Ballet Academy.

“Center Stage” would eventually gross over $17 million in the U.S. and over $9 million internationally.

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