If you find it hard to separate an actor’s movie persona from his real life, there’s no need to worry about thinking that Robert Downey Jr. has real superpowers. The lead actor of mega blockbusters Iron Man and Avengers looks like he truly has superhuman abilities in creating huge piles of cash out of thin air.
For the second straight year, Downey tops Forbes’ latest list of highest earning actors with an estimated US$75 million from June 2013 to last month, which was the same amount he earned in the previous period.
Much of that dough comes from his performance in Iron Man 3, whose box-office gross passed the billion-dollar mark last year.
Downey is clearly aware of the extent of his star power, and he uses it to the hilt when conducting hard-nosed dealings with executives at Disney, which owns Marvel Entertainment’s superhero franchises. Knowing that they can’t do without him, studio bosses always end up yielding to his demands.
The actor famously held out during negotiations for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and secured more money upfront than ever for starring in the film.
According to Forbes, Marvel movies starring Downey have earned almost US$4 billion around the world and millions more on home video. And that’s not to mention the millions the movies have generated in sales of T-shirts, mugs and other related products.
All those earnings allow Downey to be generous to friends. He helped his friend Jon Favreau get the film Chef produced and appeared in it in a cameo role. The film has earned US$25 million so far worldwide, which is not bad for a shoestring production.
Another superhero makes it to the Forbes list. Ranking fifth is newcomer Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor. He is estimated to have earned US$37 million. The Thor sequel, The Dark World, surpassed the take of the first Thor movie by US$200 million, according to the magazine, which means that the actor is ready to ask for a higher fee during negotiations for a likely Thor 3.
Dwayne Johnson is No. 2 on the list with US$52 million in estimated earnings. He hasn’t played a superhero yet, although his latest film, Hercules, may be considered as falling in that category. Most of his loot for the year came from the Fast and Furious series.
Bradley Cooper ranks third with US$46 million. Cooper earned millions from The Hangover comedy franchise, but much of the money also came from various blockbusters including American Hustle.
Leonardo DiCaprio is No. 4 at US$39 million. His The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street were smash hits at the box office this year, earning a combined US$743 million worldwide.
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