Robert Downey Jr tops list of highest paid actors for second year running

Iron Man Robert Downey Jr

Iron Man star sucks in the super-bucks from Marvel films, while Dwayne Johnson, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Hemsworth fill out Forbes' top five

Robert Downey Jr has topped Forbes magazine's annual list of the highest paid actors for the second year in a row. The 49-year-old star of the Iron Man and Avengers films made an estimated $75m over the past year, beating rivals Dwayne Johnson, Bradley Cooper, Chris Hemsworth and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Much of Downey Jr's wealth – Forbes estimates his earnings to be almost identical to last year's – came from his work for Marvel Studios as superhero Iron Man. In particular, the comic book movie sequel Iron Man 3 took $1.2bn globally last year.

Cooper and Hemsworth also play superheroes in the hugely popular universe created by the Disney-owned studio, the former voicing Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy (out next week) and the latter portraying Thor in multiple movies.

Second on this year's list is Dwayne Johnson, who is tipped to play a superhero in Warner Bros's Justice League, a rival series based on the DC Comics back catalogue. The former wrestler, also known as The Rock, pulled in $52m between June 2013 and June 2014. His recent blockbusters include 2013's Fast and Furious 6 and GI Joe: Retaliation. He will star in the forthcoming fantasy Hercules as well as next year's Fast and Furious 7.

Both Downey Jr and Johnson made last year's top five, but all the other actors at the top of the list this year are new money. Cooper, star of American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, places third with $46m. His wealth is likely to stem largely from the success of the Hangover movies, though his debut in the Marvel universe should help keep things ticking along nicely.

DiCaprio, who topped the list in 2011, makes fourth place this year with $39m, thanks to the box office success of his films, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth rounds out the top five with $37m, thanks to his roles as a Norse demigod in last year's Thor: The Dark World and the 2012 $1.5bn box-office megalith The Avengers.

Notable absentees include Tom Cruise, whose earning power has diminished since he topped the list in 2012. His last film, The Edge of Tomorrow was well reviewed by critics, but performed poorly at the box office. Will Smith, whose sole recent starring vehicle, After Earth, flopped, makes the list at no 9.

Forbes' current highest-paid female actor, Angelina Jolie, would not have made it into the male top 10 this year, falling just outside, with $30m in earnings.

Forbes' top 10 highest earning actors

1. Robert Downey Jr $75m
2. Dwayne Johnson $52m
3. Bradley Cooper $46m
4. Leonardo DiCaprio $39m
5. Chris Hemsworth $37m
6. Liam Neeson $36m
7. Ben Affleck $35m
8. Christian Bale $35m
9. Will Smith $32m
10. Mark Wahlberg $32m

Powered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Tuesday 22nd July 2014 09.05 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010