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Probably not much of a surprise for anyone who caught wind of his incredible Avengers paycheck-- Robert Downey Jr. is the highest-paid actor in Hollywood according to Forbes, having made $75 million between June of last year and this year. That probably doesn't include his hefty $50 million Avengers paycheck, since that film came out in May, but it does include his share of the profits, along with his Iron Man 3 salary of course.
It pays well to be a superhero, since Hugh Jackman is in third place on the Forbes list, having made $55 million in the last year-- that's The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past money, of course, but also Les Miserables. But coming in-between the middle aged veteran superheroes is a young upstart who's yet to even headline his own sequel. Channing Tatum, who had an insanely great 2012, ranks second on the list, having made $60 million in the last year. A ton of that comes from Magic Mike, which he and Steven Soderbergh co-financed entirely on their own, giving them both a huge share of the movie's $167 million in global ticket sales. He also had paychecks for G.I. Joe: Retaliation and White House Down to factor in, but it's unclear if he got the profits from either.
Tatum's G.I. Joe co-star and fellow rocketing up-and-comer Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson came in at #5 on the list, making $46 million last year, and proving how everything is connected in Hollywood, Johnson's own Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg ranked at #4, with $52 million. Wahlberg had his own big surprise hit in June of last year with Ted, which gave both him and director Seth MacFarlane a nice share of the profits. The Rock didn't have any single hit that made him such a success in the last year, but the combination of Fast & Furious 6, Pain & Gain, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and even little Snitch sure doesn't hurt.
The presence of Johnson, Tatum and even Wahlberg on this list is refreshing, suggesting that a batch of newcomers are finally supplanting some decades-long veterans as A-list stars for the new generation. Looking at the full top 10, though, the faces start getting a lot less fresh. Here's the full top 10, with their earnings listed:
1. Robert Downey Jr., $75 million
2. Channing Tatum, $60 million
3. Hugh Jackman, $55 million
4. Mark Wahlberg, $52 million
5. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, $46 million
6. Leonardo DiCaprio, $39 million
7. Adam Sandler, $37 million
8. Tom Cruise, $35 million
9. Denzel Washington, $33 million
10. Liam Neeson, $32 million
Sure, Liam Neeson is newly a star thanks to Taken, but he, Washington and Cruise are all over 50, and Sandler's not far away himself (the less said about Sandler's presence on this list in the wake of Grown Ups 2, the better). DiCaprio may have been a movie star for a long time, but he's at least been doing some really interesting stuff in the last year to earn his spot here, turning villainous in Django Unchained, headlining the surprise hit The Great Gatsby, and gearing up to get wild in this fall's The Wolf Of Wall Street. The presence of Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman at the top of this list may suggest that playing the same character over and over again is the key to massive success, but at least a few of these guys are being rewarded for risks.
This is just a list of male stars, but Forbes typically follows up with a list of actresses, so hopefully we'll have that one soon.