Avatar and Marvel Star Zoe Saldaña Is the Top Box-Office Earning Celebrity From New Jersey

Who's the only actor to be in the three highest-grossing movies at the box office? It's Zoe Saldaña, best known for the roles of Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Neytiri te Tskaha Mo'at'ite in the Avatar franchise.

According to a report by NetVoucherCodes, her lifetime box-office earnings of over $14 billion make her the most successful star from New Jersey. On the overall list, she places third, behind her Marvel co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L Jackson.

“It's not a surprise Samuel L. Jackson has reached the top of the list as most American households will know his name and would've seen at least one of the 139 movies in which he's starred in,” said John Stirzaker, a spokesperson for NetVoucherCodes on behalf of the study. “But this may be short-lived by the end of 2024 when the third Avatar film is set to be released. We predict that Zoe Salanda will rise in the ranking and could take the top spot once the third Avatar film is made considering how Avatar: Way of Water smashed it at the Box Office.”

Examining Zoe Saldaña's Life and Career

Saldaña, born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1978, is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. After her father's death, she returned to the Dominican Republic at the age of nine, with her sisters. Saldaña would return to New York City during high school.

Her first acting credit was in 1999 for two episodes of Law & Order. She would later appear in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2004.

She is better known for her 20-plus-year career in movies. Her first film credits include the 2002 comedy Drumline starring Nick Cannon and 2003's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, where she played the pirate Anamaria. In addition, she stars as Nyota Uhura in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek franchise, appearing in 2009's Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and 2016's Star Trek Beyond. She also reprised the character for the Star Trek video game.

Her big break is the breakout role of Neytiri te Tskaha Mo'at'ite in James Cameron's 2009 smash hit Avatar. She reprises the role in 2022's Avatar: The Way of Water and is also set to appear in the third and fourth installments of the Avatar franchise.

Next, she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Gamora in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. She would reprise the role several times: in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, opening in theaters May 5th, 2023She also plays Gamora for two Walt Disney theme park attractions: Disney California Adventure's Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout! and Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Her future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in doubt, given that the newest installment in the Guardians franchise is expected to be the last. “I can never say no to anything,” Saldaña told Variety about her future as Gamora. “But that green makeup? I wouldn't be upset if it didn't happen again. I miss Gamora, but I don't miss 3:30 a.m. calls and five-hour makeup sessions and trips to the dermatologist afterwards.”

The future of the Guardians is in doubt. If another movie is released, it will feature someone new at the helm. “I love this amazing cast & crew & their beautiful talent & kind souls,” said Guardians writer and director James Gunn after filming wrapped on Guardians 3 last year. “I'm a lucky human to have them on the journey with me for nearly a decade.” Gunn is moving on to become co-chair and co-CEO of DC Studios.

Comparing Saldaña To Other Top Box-Office Earners

Saldaña's appearances in the top-grossing films of all time are Avatar, with $2.9 billion at the box office, Avengers: Endgame grossing nearly $2.8 billion, and Avatar: The Way of Water taking home $2.3 billion.

Overall, Saldaña's films have generated a worldwide box office of $14.6 billion. She beats Massachusett's Chris Evans and his $13.7 billion worldwide box office earnings. Minnesota's Chris Pratt, who stars as Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is in fifth with $13.4 billion. Don Cheadle, Bradley Cooper, Tom Hanks, Mark Ruffalo, and J.K. Simmons round out the top ten.

Including Samuel L. Jackson ($27.7 billion) and Robert Downey Jr. ($15.7 billion), who are first and second on the overall list, only Hanks has not appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“One of the biggest shocks was how many of the stars that made the list were part of the Marvel franchise, totaling 28% for everyone included in each state,” said John Stirzaker on Marvel's dominance in the industry. “Marvel has always been a titan in the film industry, but their success has completely triumphed at the Box Office in the last decade. Not only does the data show how much celebrities can make, but it confirms just how big the industry is.”

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.