For the second year in a row, Robert Downey, Jr. has topped Forbes‘ annual ranking of the highest paid actors by earning an estimated $75 million. During the June 2013 to June 2014 timeline that Forbes used to measure the incomes a funny thing becomes apparent about RDJ. He only released one movie: Chef, directed by Jon Favreau. Chef, which some critics found charming, was no smash at the box office. So how did the superstar still manage to top the list without releasing any major hits?
Well, it turns out playing Tony Stark pays almost as well as actually being Tony Stark. Most of Downey’s money still comes from the back-end of the enormously popular Iron Man 3 (the highest grossing movie in 2013) and a reported pay hike from being in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron where Iron Man plays a major role. Expect Downey to hang around the list a long time. (After all, he’s a notorious recidivist.) It would be inconvenient, to say the least, for Marvel to continue producing Avengers and Iron Man films without their leading man, and considering these movies have collectively earned close to $4 billion (that with a “b”) at box office and millions more in merchandising and home video, it isn’t surprising that Downey finds himself with as much gold as iron. He’s a long way from the days of last century when he kept having to go to jail.