Robert Downey Jr. has been named Hollywood’s highest-paid actor by Forbes, which estimates that Downey earned $75 million in the past year, between June 2013 and June 2014.

Robert Downey Jr., Highest Paid Hollywood Actor

A big chunk of Downey’s income comes from his lucrative deal with Marvel as the on-screen manifestation of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in the Iron Man trilogy – the third of which was released in May 2013 – and The Avengers franchise. This is the second year in a row that Downey has earned the top spot on the exclusive list.

In second place is Dwayne Johnson, who has a recurring role in the Fast and Furious franchise and is continuing to make a name for himself as an action hero. This summer he will star in the summer blockbuster Hercules, earning him a reported $52 million.

Also on the list are Bradley Cooper, clocking in with an estimated $46 million, Leonardo DiCaprio, who ranks fourth with $39 million, and Chris Hemsworth – $37 million – who, like Downey, stars in his own Marvel franchise (Thor). At the bottom of the list are Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg, who both earned an estimated $32 million between June 2013 and June 2014.

To create an accurate list, Forbes speaks with agents, producers, lawyers and other industry insiders to estimate a specific actor or actress’ income without deducting taxes or other fees. This includes all “entertainment-related work,” meaning that it could come from endorsements and other side projects or paid appearances. In other words, the Forbes ranking does not signify how much an actor was paid for a specific film or how much an actor made in a year solely by acting.

Gender Gap

The financial magazine also compiles a list of the Highest-Paid Hollywood Actresses. Historically, looking at the two lists, one cannot help but note the glaring disparity between the annual incomes between the genders. Angelina Jolie, the highest-paid actress from June 2012 to June 2013, earned the top spot with an estimated $33 million. Not only is that figure almost $20 million less than Downey (who also earned a reported $75 million from 2012 to 2013), but ninth and tenth place actors Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson both earned the same $33 million amount.

Of course, comparing the income of the top actors and actresses is already a somewhat impossible task, as there are fewer blockbuster parts – and parts in general – available to women in Hollywood.

“The problem is the averages don’t work, because there are not enough parts for women to star in to get paid. So when you are looking at the total amount that women make as compared to men, it’s paltry. I think that the whole system is geared for them [women] to fail and we’re going to have to change a lot of what we do in order for that to happen,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal in 2013.

The Forbes list for the highest paid actresses between June 2013 and June 2014 has not yet been released.


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