It’s Official: Robert Downey Jr. is Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actor

Iron Man? More like 'gold man'

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Marvel

How much green does it take to be the highest-paid actor in Hollywood? This year, that magic number is $75 million—and the man who brought home the big bucks (accrued between June 2012 and June 2013) was … Robert Downey Jr. The Iron Man actor topped this year’s Forbes list of the highest paid actors.

(MORERichard Corliss reviews Iron Man 3)

Though Forbes points out that Downey had a long history of failure in the years before he went superhero, his franchises (Iron Man and The Avengers) are proven box-office winners — and the actor’s bank accounts show it. The list looks only at estimated earnings, unlike the magazine’s other rankings; their power list, for example, takes into consideration factors like social-media visibility.

Here are the rest of this year’s top ten:

Channing Tatum ($60 million), Hugh Jackman ($55 million), Mark Wahlberg ($52 million), Dwayne Johnson ($46 million), Leonardo DiCaprio ($39 million), Adam Sandler ($37 million), Tom Cruise ($35 million), Denzel Washington ($33 million) and Liam Neeson ($32 million).

Worth noting: another result of this list looking at earnings alone is that fortunes can change rapidly. Though he still squeezed out a top-ten spot, thanks to Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise was last year’s leading earner with—you guessed it—$75 million coming in between May 2011 and May 2012.

(MORERobert Downey Jr. Gets Record-Breaking Birthday Card)

Also worth noting: Forbes separates out actors from actresses in this listing. That move makes sense for the list-keepers, though the lack of comparison obscures one of the more interesting facts that can be learned from these lists. While women—especially Oprah—fare well in rankings of power and in earnings lists for celebrities overall, their pay in Hollywood lags by millions. Forbes hasn’t yet released their 2013 list for women, but last year’s top earner was Kristen Stewart, who made $34.5 million on the heels of Twilight and Snow White. That would put her around the bottom of the top ten if the list were co-ed; only one other woman (Cameron Diaz, $34 million) could hope to place. The list’s No. 10 (Jennifer Aniston, $11 million) made only about a third as much Washington and Neeson, her male counterparts.

Sure, this isn’t a movie profits = take-home pay situation, but compare the last Twilight installment to Jack Reacher. Reacher has grossed $216.6 million worldwide against a $60 million budget; Breaking Dawn 2 has grossed $829.7 million against a $120 million budget. Her movie made (grosses minus budget) more than five times more and more than $500 million more than his did; he took home a half a million dollars more than she did. There’s no Iron Woman to compete with Downey—but we’ll just wait and see how Gwyneth Paltrow shakes out.

31 comments
ali.mehtaji
ali.mehtaji

Well guyzz... you might be seeing 75 million as a big amount but just remember taxes alone will take away a chuck of his earnings. Then there are plenty of other highly paid professionals who are employed by him. From his cook or maid to his agent or personal trainer, every1 gets to have a suitable income from this amount of 75 million... Also remember that he has to maintain a high profike celebrity persona.... so that the pepparazi and the columnists and journalists of magazines and online websites get some material to show the readers and earn from that.... so living like a celebrity doesn't mean they are paid for sitting on their asses and getting paid for that... they have to work hard... calculate each move or else thwy might end up like amanda bynes or lindsay lohan... so just frickin stop critisizing

bkaley
bkaley

This is the most read article...? PATHETIC

StarvinMarvin
StarvinMarvin

Dear Robert Downing Jr. 

I have no food, not enough clothing, no clean water or electricity. I cannot attend school nor do I believe I will live until I am 20. While you are not to viewed as a world bank, hunger organization - it would be great if you could donate earnings from one movie to lift up the lives of others in my village.....signed Starvin Marvin....

BrakeFastClub
BrakeFastClub

It blows my mind.  Iron Man 3 has made$406,850,977 ALREADY and you people think the man doesn't deserve $75 million.  Whining.  You are simply whining.  Do you have any IDEA HOW MUCH RICHER THE STOCK HOLDERS ARE? ANY IDEA?  HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS!  BILLIONS!   There is nothing more bogus in particular than a Fiscal Conservative whining about actor's salaries, but its still lame when liberals do it.  Especially if you really like the work and you you the guy is overpaid.  Just pathetic thought processes all around.  What was Marvel's Revenues last year?  Last year you guys? Profit?  ANYBODY?  Oh, you're just rich-bashing.  I got it.  Hopefully you people will succeed one day and have to put up this nonsense from others.

And PS Kiddoes.  Iron Man 3 has over a billion worldwide.

$1,211,450,977 and counting
$75,000,000

Hmmmm...

BrakeFastClub
BrakeFastClub

Just fyi, if you dislike high paid actors, you dislike Capitalism.  JUST FYI.

KathleenNielsen
KathleenNielsen

As much as I love Robert Downey Jr. the amount of money these actors are making (as well as professional athletes) is ridiculous.  The people of this country put too much importance on the wrong things.  With what these actors earn we could do a lot more of feeding the homeless and other good deeds.

CanadianDude
CanadianDude

Movie stars are merely commodities, and movies are products.  Actors are hired by companies to sell products.  It's called Show BUSINESS.  When they stop selling lots of tickets, they are no longer valuable commodities.  Stars pay huge tax rates; they pay agents, managers, p.r. people.  Actors have ALWAYS been paid well, going back to the beginnings of the film industry; this is nothing new.  Compared to some international corporate heads and CEOs, these so-called outrageous salaries can seem like, well, teachers' wages by comparison.,   Everything is relative.

JazzMan
JazzMan

Making a lot of money for making a lot of (mostly) crappy movies. 

herstorytoo
herstorytoo

Well the living off the working is living well! How does a person spend a gazillion dollar income? Why do schools have to have bake sales for uniforms and new playgrounds with money like that around to spend. It's shameful the working person's paycheck isn't even couch change compared to this. Not to brag, but I grossed 48K last year, teaching kids to read, bought a new tire for the car also, but I'm not braggin!    

billster
billster

Atypical of the bored middle American tween / teen / twenty something with nothing but time and 10 bucks to spend on vapid aka crappy movies.  Hollywood loves you dummies - instead of watching ordinary people pretending to be somebody - be somebody of your own.  Keep your money in your pocket instead of putting it in theirs.  These movies suck

r0b
r0b

This article is just sickening. I am fine with people making big money, but who knew that we pay a lot of money for a ticket to watch billionaires doing fake things with fancy effects...How the hell have we not seen that before?

branashton
branashton

Adam Sandler ($37 million) and his terrible movies.... 

netsrac1977
netsrac1977

would any other actor/actress(kinda better even)  have done the role just as well(better)? me thinks .. yuppers... so .. yeah... he's NOT THAT special...

netsrac1977
netsrac1977

capitalism isn't perfect and needs to be restrained/controlled ... or do you wanna get paid/work the way a chinese person does??? yeah .. didn't think so duumaa ssss

JairrelWaymond
JairrelWaymond

@KathleenNielsen I've been made to realize that, while overpaid, they're are not that "many" big money celebrities, though it may seem like it; in comparison to teachers/doctors, etc.  So its really not as big a deal as people make it seem.

JoseDelMadre
JoseDelMadre

@KathleenNielsen Downey is the highest paid in film. Sheehan is the highest paid on television (or was). I wonder what these two have in common?

BrakeFastClub
BrakeFastClub

@herstorytoo living off the working?  Are you kidding?  do you have any clue how labor intensive a film is?  Or do you just enjoy hating on successful people in general?

tillzen
tillzen

@billster Hey Grampster ... When was the last great book written? The last great TV show aired? The last great human being born? Hate the game and not just the youngest players. Oh and for the record, we were nowhere near your lawn.

WJM980
WJM980

@r0b And the libs love to scream and squawk about the 1%ers, but they look the other way when it's one of their own.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@branashton 

adam sandler's movies have, for the last decade or so, made me envy helen keller in a way i never could have imagined

BrakeFastClub
BrakeFastClub

@netsrac1977 Then why didn't they find some guy and pay him  $200 a week?  You're some kinda genius, just fyi.

cleverlyc
cleverlyc

@WJM980 @r0b Not so. Most of those you hear that are disappointed with the outrageous salaries of sport and film stars are liberals. They don't much care for a wide gulf between the poorest and the wealthiest.

Not seen many conservatives who'd care about that gulf, so long as they were on the wealthy side of it.