Will Smith is the best paid actor in Hollywood, according to a new study by US business magazine Forbes.

The Hancock star earned $US80 million ($82.4 million) between June 1st 2007 and June 1st this year to head the poll, with Johnny Depp in second with a $72 million (£36 million) haul.

Smith's recent science-fiction film I Am Legend took $76.5 million (£37.9 million) in its opening weekend, recording the biggest December opening of all time, surpassing the $72.6 million (£36 million) start recorded by The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King.

And after the chart-topping success of Smith's current hit Hancock, he has become the first actor ever to have eight consecutive films earn more than $100 million (£50 million) at the box office.

Shrek co-stars Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers were ranked in third, with $55 million (£27.5 million) each, despite the relative commercial failures of their recent films Meet Dave and The Love Guru.

Their fellow voice actor in the Shrek movies, Cameron Diaz, was judged to be the best paid actress, having earned $50 million (£25 million) in the 12-month period.

The What Happens in Vegas star… was followed by Leonardo Dicaprio with $US45 million (£22.6 million), Bruce Willis with $US41 million (£20.6 million), Ben Stiller with $US40 million (£20.1 million) and Nicolas Cage with $US38 million (£19.1 million).

Keira Knightley was the highest-ranking Briton, with $32 million (£16 million) in earnings.

25/07/2008 15:53:06