The much-coveted Forbes lists grab international attention every year, and this year is no different. Its list of the highest paid actors from around the world, and has just released its rankings for 2015.
This year’s top dog has not yet been dethroned – for the third year in a row, veteran actor Robert Downey Jr. has held onto the number-one spot, bringing in a reported $80 million.
While many of the usual suspects made the list once again, 12 new names made the list of 34 actors this year (filling 25 spots due to nine ties), five of which hail from the juggernaut that is Bollywood. And clearly Bollywood is on the rise: three of those five not only made the list, but cracked the top 10!
Beating the likes of Mark Wahlberg ($32 Million), Johnny Deep ($30 Million), Leonardo Dicaprio ($29 Million) and Daniel Craig ($27 Million) hail our much-loved heroes Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar.
Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, both with earnings of $33.5 Million each, made it at joint number seven position.
Arguably India’s King Khan – superstar Salman Khan has appeared in some 80 movies since his 1989 breakout role ‘Maine Pyar Kiya.’ Khan continues to produce and star in films, earning well for roles in flicks such as 2014’s ‘Kick.’ He also appears on the small screen hosting reality show ‘Bigg Boss,’ the Indian version of ‘Big Brother.’
Khan’s ‘Being Human’ clothing line clocked $30 million in 2014 revenue, with proceeds going to his foundation. He makes bank endorsing other brands including Thums Up (India’s Coca-Cola) and Suzuki.
Bollywood’s most iconic star, Amitabh Bachchan, has starred in more than 150 movies in his 50-year career. He continues to earn top rupee for his roles in flicks such 2014’s ‘Bhoothnath Returns.’
Though Indian movies gross far less than U.S. films at the box office, they recoup costs by selling satellite rights to TV channels. But unlike the U.S., where first dollar gross deals are a thing of the past, Bollywood stars such as Bachchan continue to earn a cut of each film’s ticketing revenue. Bachchan bolsters his earnings as the longstanding host of India’s version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ (‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’), which aired its eighth season in 2014.
Akshay Kumar came in at number nine with earnings of $32.5 Million. Having appeared in some 150 movies since his 1992 breakthrough in ‘Khiladi’, he is one of Bollywood’s busiest leading men, filming an average of four movies a year. Kumar earns top rupee for roles in 2014 movies such as ‘Holiday’ and ‘Entertainment.’ Kumar bolsters his earnings hosting Indian reality TV show ‘Dare 2 Dance’ and endorsing products that align with his action hero status, such as Honda motorcycles, a range of white vests and a brand of steel pipes, among others.
Not surprisingly, with his international shows and lucrative brand endorsements, Shah Rukh Khan also made the list. SRK came in at a respectable number 18 with earnings of $26 Million, tying with Will Smith and beating Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
But the most surprising pay check of all was young Ranbir Kapoor’s. His entry into the Forbes list at number 30 raised some eyebrows – with earnings of $15 Million. Though he made less than his compatriots, he still out-earned American actors Chris Pratt, Chris Evans and Hong Kong star Andy Lau.
The Forbes list measures money earned from June 1, 2014 to June 1, 2015 before subtracting management fees and taxes; figures are based on data from Nielsen, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with agents, managers, lawyers and stars themselves.