It’s good to be Iron Man — Robert Downey Jr. once again leads Forbes’ list of top-earning actors.
The magazine touted the 49-year-old as “indisposable” to the Disney-owned Marvel franchise, with Mickey Mouse willing to pay Downey Jr. “whatever he demands” to ensure his involvement in the high-earning films.
The actor, expecting a third child, his second with wife Susan, has appeared in three “Iron Man” movies as billionaire playboy-turned-superhero Tony Stark and reprised his role in the 2012 blockbuster “The Avengers, " the third-highest-grossing film of all time.
Downey Jr. is filming “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” slated for release in 2015. He “held out” during contract negotiations for that film, Forbes reported.
Compared with Angelina Jolie’s $33 million in earnings for the year that ended in June 2013, there’s a stark male-female pay gap that has not gone unnoticed. The “Maleficent” star topped the magazine’s list of highest-paid actresses last year with that figure; this year’s actress list has yet to be released.
Incidentally, when Downey Jr. made the pregnancy announcement this month, he said he didn’t “know if it’s a ‘man’s world’” but was “certain women run it.”
He and “The Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence were the top actors on the magazine’s Celebrity 100, its list of most-powerful celebrities, which crowned singer Beyonce as 2014’s most famous of them all. Downey Jr. came in at No. 10, and 23-year-old Lawrence locked in the No. 12 spot.
Coming in second — and $23 million lower — on the list of 10 actors is “The Fast & the Furious” star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who earned $52 million. The former WWE star will next appear in the Grecian epic “Hercules,” which will be released on July 25.
“American Hustle” star and Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper came in at No. 3 with an estimated $46 million for the year. Behind him was “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Great Gatsby” star and one-time list leader Leonardo DiCaprio. Downey Jr.'s “Avengers” costar Chris Hemsworth, who plays the demigod Thor in the franchise, came in at No. 5, earning $37 million thanks in part to his 2013 sequel, “Thor: The Dark World.”
In years past, blockbuster-franchise actors have often topped the list: “Mission Impossible’s” Tom Cruise with $75 million in 2012, “Pirates of the Caribbean’s” Johnny Depp with $75 million in 2010 and “Indiana Jones’” Harrison Ford with $65 million in 2009. Only DiCaprio — whose five collaborations with Martin Scorsese represent a different sort of franchise — managed to stay in the top 10 this year after leading the 2011 list with $77 million.
To calculate income, the mag consults agents, producers, lawyers and other “in-the-know folks” to calculate how much celebrities earned from entertainment-related work. The final figure doesn’t deduct taxes, agent fees or the sundry costs of being a celebrity.
There’s a reason there’s no top-earning celebrity blogger list, but follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad anyway.