Of Course, Robert Downey Jr Is High On The List Of 'Most Profitable' Actors, But He's Not Number 1

Robert Downey Jr rocking a suit as Tony Stark.
(Image credit: Marvel)

For over a decade, Robert Downey Jr.'s iconic portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man was the face of one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood history. Starting with his debut in 2008's Iron Man to his tearful goodbye in Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr., supplanted himself as one of the biggest box-office draws. It should come as no shock the 57-year-old star is one of the 'Most Profitable' actors in all of Hollywood–but he's not number one. 

With a lifetime revenue of $5,474,166,329 across 43 movies, Robert Downey Jr. is Hollywood's number two most profitable actor. 

What Hollywood A-Listers Made The List? 

Marvel has been churning out movies in a very specific order for the last decade, and those movies have been dominating the box office. Which is why it should come as no surprise that when TicketSource conducted research into Hollywood’s most profitable actors, seven of the top ten most profitable actors on the list are MCU actors.

  • As I stated before, Robert Downey Jr. comes in second with $5,474,166,329.
  • Perhaps most shocking, considering how young she is, Scarlett Johansson comes in at number three with $5,289,001,669.
  • The number four spot is the first taken up with someone, not in the MCU. Tom Hanks is the fourth most profitable actor, with a lifetime revenue of $5,065,897,608.
  • Number five is Bradley Cooper, with $4,298,061,989. Not too shabby being unrecognizable as a talking CGI raccoon.

Harrison Ford, Chris Evans, Tom Cruise, Chris Hemsworth, and Zoe Saldaña -- many of whom are also MCU actors -- round out the Top 10. 

Nick Fury aka Samuel L Jackson in Civil War

(Image credit: Marvel)

Samuel L. Jackson Is The Most Profitable Hollywood Actor

The crown for 'most profitable actor’ goes to Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson's Avengers co-star, Samuel L. Jackson. 

Jackson's impressive career has spanned more than five decades. From Jurassic Park, Star Wars, The Avengers, Shaft, The Kingsmen, and Pixar's Incredibles, he has been part of some of the biggest and most profitable movie franchises of all time. With 63 films under his belt, the actor’s lifetime career revenue totals $5.7 billion. 

The Avengers stars are not the only Marvel alum on the top of the list. 

How Long Can Marvel Actors Dominate?

Many actors topping the most profitable list have said goodbye to their money-making Marvel characters–of course, seeing as how we are talking comic books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is diving deeper and deeper into a multiverse where anything is possible, never say never to a Captain America or Iron Man return

While most of the first three phases of Marvel played out on the big screen, a lot of Phase Four and beyond have been relegated to the small screen. For example, among the quick things we know about Secret Invasion, we know it will be heading behind the Disney+ paywall.

The good news? It will mark Samuel L. Jackson’s next appearance as Nick Fury. The bad news? It will be impossible to add to his lifetime box office.

It makes me wonder: What will the most profitable actors list look like in the near future? With most of the big streamers keeping their viewing numbers close to the chest, Will Robert Downey Jr. or Samuel L. Jackson crack the Top 10 again?

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.