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Mark Wahlberg takes the top spot on Forbes' highest-paid actors list for 2017

Forbes has released its annual list of highest-paid actors, and it’s a doozy this year. The 20 top-earning actors cumulatively raked in $720 million during the one-year period, although almost 40 percent of that money was doled out to the actors who make up the top five.

Comic book characters tend to bring in the big bucks at the box office, the latest list only confirms that trend. According to the data, which looks at the earnings (before taxes and fees) of actors between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017, seven of the 20 highest-paid actors, or 35 percent of those on the list, padded their paychecks by playing comic book characters.

Among the superheroes and supervillains, the list includes many familiar names from years past. But there are also a few newcomers, including Jeremy Renner, who clocked in at number 17 with $19 million in earnings thanks to Arrival and roles like Hawkeye in the Avengers films, and Mark Ruffalo, who just inched into the 20th spot on the list with $13 million in earnings, largely thanks to his superhero role of Hulk.

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Actor Jeremy Renner, who made the highest paid actors list for the first time this year, starred alongside one of 2017’s highest paid actresses, Amy Adams, in the blockbuster hit “Arrival”.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was ousted from the top spot he snagged from Robert Downey Jr. in 2016 by Mark Wahlberg. The Boston-born rapper-turned-actor raked in a reported $68 million thanks to rising fees for movies like Transformers: The Last Knight and the upcoming sequel Daddy’s Home 2, along with his A&E series Wahlburgers, which follows his family-run hamburger chain. Wahlberg barely cracked the top 10 in 2015, showing that his star, or at least his bank account, is on the rise.

Johnson wasn’t far behind, though, claiming the second spot with $65 million earned from films like Baywatch and Jumanji, as well as his highly successful HBO series Ballers. (It’s worth noting that Wahlberg is also credited as being an executive producer on five episodes of this series.) Johnson, who gained fame as a wrestler, has had an interesting rise, jumping from the 11th spot in 2015 to first in 2016, while remaining near the top of the list this year.

Noticeably absent from the latest list include Johnny Depp, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio

Downey Jr. may not have been top dog — a post he held from 2013 to 2015 — but he did still make the top 10, coming in sixth with $48 million, mainly due to his role of Iron Man in the Avengers films. It’s still a significant drop from the reported $80 million he made in 2015.

Vin Diesel is third at $54.5 million, fueled by his role in The Fate of the Furious, the latest flick in the ongoing Fast and the Furious franchise, as well as his return as the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Rounding out the top 10 are Adam Sandler in fourth ($50.5 million), Jackie Chan in fifth ($49 million), Tom Cruise in seventh ($43 million), and Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan in eighth ($38 million), Salman Khan in ninth ($37 million), and Akshay Kumar in 10th ($35.5 million). (In 2015, Forbes opened up its list to foreign actors.)

Some A-listers who made the cut in 2016 and are noticeably absent from the latest list include Johnny Depp, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Matthew McConaughey, and Harrison Ford. Eddie Redmayne and Liam Neeson just narrowly missed making the $13 million cut.

Despite Sandler’s first film for Netflix, Ridiculous Six, being widely panned with an abysmal 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics rating, his four-film deal still helped the actor jump up the list past heavyweights like Downey Jr., Cruise, and Tom Hanks. His agreement has been expanded to include another four movies, which means we probably won’t see Sandler drop off the list anytime soon.

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Notably absent was recent actor superhero, Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the DC Extended Universe.

Chris Pratt landed on the list in the 19th spot with $17 million, a 35 percent drop from 2016, when he was in 16th spot with $26 million. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in the works, chances are he’ll rise up again. Matt Damon’s earnings, meanwhile, dropped 62 percent from 2016, when he sat firmly in the third spot with $55 million, to 2017, where he ranked 16th with “just” $21 million. But his upcoming film, Downsizing, set to be released just before Christmas, is expected to do well, so chances are we’ll see him higher up on Forbes’ list for 2018. La La Land helped Ryan Gosling dance into position 14 with $29 million, while Ryan Reynolds’ interpretation of Deadpool was a surprise success, bringing the actor up to 15th position with $21.5 million. The biggest percentage gainer was Chris Hemsworth, whose earnings jumped an impressive 250 percent to $31.5 million. Playing Thor clearly pays off.

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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