For the third year in a row, Robert Downey Jr.’s stratospheric $80 million payday is more than any other leading man on the planet, helping Iron Man punch $30 million above Hong Kong hero Jackie Chan’s second place haul.
Though China may be Chan’s cinematic stomping ground, the nation’s movie appetite propelled Downey’s Avengers: Age of Ultron to a $240 million gross in the People’s Republic alone, ensuring Downey topped the World’s Highest Paid Actors list. From Hollywood to Hong Kong and Bollywood, the ranking examines international stars’ earnings for the first truly global dollar tally of film’s flushest stars.
“I always look at the map… I think the world belongs to us. America belongs to me. China belongs to you,” said Chan, who makes a mint starring in East-West coproductions such as Dragon Blade and through Chan-brand extensions including merchandise and eponymous cinema chain.
Though we have long looked at foreign actors starring in the U.S. films — Irishman Liam Neeson, Brit Daniel Craig and Australian Hugh Jackman have all made the Highest-Paid Actors list previously – we have never examined those working solely in international movie industries. As a result, 12 newcomers join the ranking, five of whom collect their paychecks from Bollywood. Three of them are in the top 10: Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan rank at No. 7 with $33.5 million, just ahead of Akshay Kumar’s $32.5 million haul.
Six of the top 10 hail from the U.S., including Vin Diesel, ranked at No. 3, who earned a hefty $47 million thanks in part to the success of Furious 7. The most recent Diesel-fueled installment of the Fast and the Furious car franchise grossed $1.5 billion worldwide, 77% of that from beyond the borders of the United States and $400 million in China alone. “The whole point [of The Fast and the Furious] was to diversify Hollywood and in some ways change the face of Hollywood,” Diesel said.