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Superhero Robert Downey Jr. Tops the 'Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Actors...Again

Gwynne Watkins
July 21, 2014

Forget the Iron Man suit: Robert Downey Jr.’s real superpower is making money. For the second year in a row, the actor has ranked no. 1 on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. His earnings from June 2013 to June 2014 totaled approximately $75 million, exactly the same income that put him on the top of the 2013 list. Here’s the amazing part: He made the identical amount of money this year without starring in any movies.

How is that possible? Last year, he made Iron Man 3; this year, audiences can see him play a tiny role in his buddy Jon Favreau’s indie film Chef, and maybe — just maybe — in a quick cameo as Tony Stark in Guardians of the Galaxy. Not surprisingly, that $75 million payday isn’t coming from either of those films. Rather, it’s still coming from Iron Man 3, one of the highest-grossing movies of 2013. Because Downey Jr. was paid on the back end from the movie’s $1.2 billion revenue, the money just kept rolling in. Contrast that with the list’s no. 2 Dwayne Johnson (at an estimated $52 million) who had Pain & Gain and Fast & Furious 6 last year, and Hercules coming July 25. 

It’s probably not going to stop for Downey anytime soon. When it came time to sign on for his next film, the Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, the actor played hardball, negotiating a better deal for himself than his first Avengers paycheck — which ended up being between $50 and $80 million. One can only imagine how much his net worth will increase if Avengers: Age of Ultron is a hit.

Currently, only Downey Jr. is commanding this kind of money from Marvel, since his Tony Stark character is considered irreplaceable. Even so, one of his fellow Avengers managed to make the Forbes list for the first time this year. Chris Hemsworth ranked no. 5 with $37 million, largely from his Thor sequel The Dark World (which out-earned the original). Other superheroes who made the Top 10: Bradley Cooper, who plays Rocket Raccoon in this Friday’s Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy (no. 3 with $46 million); and Ben Affleck, who collected a huge paycheck for the upcoming Batman v. Superman (no. 7 with $35 million). See below for Forbes' top 10:

Robert Downey — $75 million
Dwayne Johnson — $52 million
Bradley Cooper — $46 million
Leonardo DiCaprio — $39 million
Chris Hemsworth — $37 million
Liam Neeson — $36 million
Ben Affleck — $35 million
Christian Bale — $35 million
Will Smith — $32 million
Mark Wahlberg — $32 million

Photo credit: Marvel, Zade Rosenthal