The Fife-born actor has been judged one of the movie world’s most overpaid stars by Forbes, the leading US magazine of wealth and glamour.

Second only to comedian Will Ferrell, McGregor -- star of Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and the Star Wars prequels -- is joined by actors such as Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Cruise in the top 10 list of actors who cost more to hire than they appear to be worth at the box office.

The judgment on McGregor,who, Forbes says, is a “terrible investment for producers”, compares unfavourably to another Scottish actor, James McAvoy, whom the magazine judged to be one of the best investments for producers in another list they published this summer.

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This year McGregor has starred in Angels And Demons and The Men Who Stare At Goats, while last year his movies included Deception and Incendiary.

Forbes said of McGregor: “The Scottish actor, best known for his work in films like Trainspotting and Star Wars, doesn’t earn as much as some of the higher-profile actors on our list. But his recent movies have performed poorly, making him a terrible investment for producers.”

Ferrell took first place largely due to the flop of his summer movie Land Of The Lost, which Forbes said cost an estimated $100 million (£60m) to make but earned just $65m at box offices worldwide for Universal Pictures.

Forbes said: “This summer’s Land Of The Lost was one of those epic Hollywood disasters that makes outsiders question why anyone is in the movie business. The concept seemed like a good idea: pair funnyman Will Ferrell with a cult kids show from the 1970s and hilarity is bound to ensue … Ferrell is no longer the sure bet he seemed after hits like Elf and Talledega Nights.”

The failure of Land Of The Lost also followed a disappointing box office for Ferrell’s 2008 films Semi-Pro and Step Brothers.

Using a formula that calculated the actor’s estimated salary on each film, including DVD and TV sales, compared to the film’s revenues from theatre box offices and elsewhere, Forbes.com said that for every dollar Ferrell was paid, his films earned an average $3.29.

Other names on the list include the hip hop artist turned actor Ice Cube, Drew Barrymore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson and, in tenth place, Jim Carrey.

To create the list, the financial news website looked at Hollywood’s 100 biggest stars who had lead performances in at least three widely distributed films in the last five years.

McGregor is not among Hollywood’s highest-paid actors but has recently proved a poor investment, averaging a return of $3.75 for every dollar spent.

Cruise, considered one of the biggest names in Hollywood as both an actor and a producer, came sixth on the list with a return on investment of $7.18.

Of McAvoy, Forbes said his standing, second behind American Shia LaBeouf, was due to the huge success of his action movie Wanted, which also starred Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

His modest salary for the movie meant he was able to provide a huge return for Universal, who made more than £200m from the film.