By EW Staff
Updated October 14, 2010 at 09:00 PM EDT

Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/; Vera Anderson/WireImage.comIn going through our 40 under 40 box-office star list, one trend became really clear: The best way to get on the list is be in an action or drama franchise. Stars from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Spider-Man, Fast and the Furious, even the Star Trek reboot were all thoroughly represented. But the comedy side of the story was relatively franchise-light. (Here’s the full list: #40–21 and #20-1.)

The highest-ranking comedy stars on the list are Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, duh), Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, 27 Dresses), Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada), and Seth Rogen (come on, you know what Seth Rogen is in). Macaulay Culkin is the only real comedy franchise star, and go-to comic actress Cameron Diaz’s big live-action franchise is, well, an action franchise with Charlie’s Angels.

What does this mean? That the world is a cold, unforgiving place, mostly. Just kidding, it means some high-grossing comedies are animated — we were only counting live-action movies — and also that generally, comedies don’t rake in the dough the same way action or fantasy movies do.

Draw your own conclusions, PopWatchers: Why aren’t there more comedy franchises for stars under 40?