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Forbes' Top-Grossing Actors of 2012: Robert Downey Jr., Kristen Stewart and Christian Bale

by Sophia Savage
December 24, 2012 12:13 PM
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Forbes names the Top Grossing Actors of 2012, based on the global box office take of their films. Robert Downey Jr. takes the top spot; Forbes credits the worldwide success of "The Avengers" ($1.5 billion) to his "charm and humor" while noting that he'll be walking away with more money than his co-superheroes.

As to be expected, the rest of the top ten includes other superheroes--from Christian Bale's Batman to Andrew Garfield's "Spider-Man"-- vampires (the stars of "Twilight"), Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen of "The Hunger Games," Will Smith's return to "Men in Black" and Britain's Bond, James Bond.

The most earth-bound entry on the list is #10 -- Mark Wahlberg for "Ted" and "Contraband." Check out Forbes' stats below. Only one of these stars can also expect an Oscar nomination this year: Lawrence.

Robert Downey Jr. - $1.5 billion

Thanks to The Avengers, Downey is the top-grossing actor of the year. The film is the third highest-grossing of all time behind Titanic and Avatar. Although the movie was an ensemble, we only counted Downey as the star because he is the star who will walk away with the biggest payday from the film.

Kristen Stewart - $1.2 billion

The majority of the money Stewart brought in at the box office this year came from Twilight. Breaking Dawn Part 2 (which is still in theaters) has earned $779 million at the box office so far. But she tops her Twilight co-stars thanks to Snow White and the Huntsman which earned a healthy $396 million at the global box office.

Christian Bale - $1 billion

Batman is still one of the most popular superheroes around. The final (?) film in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy earned $1 billion at the box office. Bale added a tiny bit to that, $300,000, from The Flowers of War.


  • ken | December 29, 2012 1:57 AMReply

    Jennifer is not a great actress. Please, stop the hype.

  • Joey the Accountant | December 28, 2012 10:10 AMReply

    Did an intern write this article? Why are they listing the amount that the movie grossed next to the actors name and titling the article as if these figures are what the actor brought in as a paycheck?

    I guess they'll publish anything and anybody these days.....

  • Apollo109 | December 25, 2012 9:10 AMReply

    None of this makes sense. Only one actor should claim one movie. in The case of Twilight, shouldn't you split the gross between it's two stars. And why is Launter even in the equation? So if I was an extra in Iron Man 2, Avengers and the horrible Snow White I would have been in a movie that outgrossed everything above. Forbes you need to rethink this list. and YUP is right. According to the way you calculate this, Hemsworth should be somewhere on the list.

  • Yup | December 24, 2012 6:09 PMReply

    Hemsworth starred in Avengers and Snow White should he not be #1?

  • Oreadno1 | December 24, 2012 6:00 PMReply

    While not denying Robert Downey Jr.'s 'charm and humor', I think the success of The Avengers owes a great debt to Joss Whedon's script and direction, too.

  • m. | December 24, 2012 4:21 PMReply

    1 billion $ + 300 000 $ = 1 billion $ ?

  • bigpete | December 24, 2012 6:04 PM

    Why would they put 1.0003 billion $?

  • Tia | December 24, 2012 4:03 PMReply

    Miss Stewart is still on the list because of her Snow film...let's see what will happen next year. She doesn't have promising project after her indiscretion apart from Snowy sequel (if there's any) or that comedy thing.

  • Shawn | December 24, 2012 3:55 PMReply

    Stupid article very confusing article...this is how much the film brought in not necessarily the actor themselves, why not entitle it highest grossing films?

  • Interitus | December 24, 2012 9:17 PM

    RDJ - The Avengers (2012): $50,000,000 (once box-office bonuses and backend compensation are factored in)

    Kristen Stewart - Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): $34,500,000
    The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012): $12,500,000 + 7.5% of the gross

    Christian Bale - ??

    Daniel Craig - Skyfall (2012): $17,000,000 plus bonuses for certain box-office milestones

    Robert Pattison - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012): $12,500,000 + 7.5% of the gross

    Taylor Lautner - ??

    Andrew Garfield - ??

    Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games (2012): $500,000 plus escalators that equal to $1 million

    Will Smith - Men in Black 3 (2012): $20,000,000

    Mark Wahlberg - ??

  • Kaya | December 24, 2012 6:26 PM

    Exactly! The writer(s) of this article foolishly make the readers think that the numbers indicate how much the actors make. FAIL. Until we are actually given the amounts the ACTORS make this article is totally irrelevant.

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