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.
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.
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.