For several actors on Forbes' list of Hollywood's highest-earning actors, action films have really paid off.
Iron Man? More Like Platinum. For the second consecutive year, Robert Downey Jr. tops Forbes magazine’s annual list of Hollywood’s top earning actors. Despite appearing in just one film between the June 2014-June 2014 timeline (“Chef,” in which he was basically a side dish), Downey earned an estimated $75 in that time period, thanks to backend money from “Iron Man 3,” the biggest box office hit of 2013. For his box office heroics, he earned a big pay hike to reprise his signature role in the upcoming sequel, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
“Downey reigns…in Hollywood because at this point, it would be incredible difficult for Marvel to continue making ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Avengers’ films without him,” writes Dorothy Pomerantz, who runs Forbes’ “Celebrity 100 List.” “Marvel movies starring Downey have earned almost $4 billion at the global box office and millions more on home video, not to mention the millions the movies have generated in merchandise.”
Being an action hero can really pay off. Second on the list of Hollywood’s top-earning actors is Dwayne Johnson, who had another “Rock”-solid year, earning $52 million. His next, “Hercules,” hits theatres on Friday. In addition to his solo starring films, he appears in ensemble franchises, such as the “Fast and Furious” films. He has also branched out into TV production, including the reality series “The Hero” and the HBO comedy, “Ballers.”
Bradley Cooper is at No. 3 on the list with $46 million. Cooper landed on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 for the first time this year, Pomerantz reports. The top-grossing “Hangover” franchise has afforded him the opportunity to work on smaller, more challenging films such as “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” both of which earned him Oscar nominations. Next up: The hotly-anticipated “Guardians of the Galaxy,” for which he lent his voice as the character, Rocky Raccoon.
Leonardo DiCaprio is fourth on the list with $39 million. DiCaprio has old-fashioned star power that puts bottoms in the seats. In addition to his Oscar-nominated turn in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which earned $395 million, his top-billing helped make “Gatsby” great at the box office, earning a surprising “351 million worldwide.
Another action hero rounds out Forbes’ top five on the list of Hollywood’s highest-earning actors. Chris “Thor” Hemsworth earned $37 million in the past year.
Filling out the top 10 are:
- Liam Neeson ($36 million)
- Ben Affleck ($35 million)
- Christian Bale ($35 million)
- Will Smith ($32 million)
- Mark Wahlberg ($32 million)
Missing this year from last year's list are: Channing Tatum, Hugh Jackman, Adam Sandler, Tom Cruise, and Denzel Washington.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.