Mark Wahlberg has surpassed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to become the highest paid actor in 2017. Once known as the rapper Marky Mark, Wahlberg is without question the most successful musician-turned-actor working today, having amassed dozens of film credits since his debut in the Danny DeVito comedy drama Renaissance Man in 1994.
Along the way, Wahlberg has been willing to take risks and act in a slate of different genres, from fictional drama (Boogie Nights, Rock Star) and comedy (Ted, Daddy’s Home) to crime thrillers (The Departed, We Own the Night) and action/adventures (Three Kings, Shooter), as well as real-life dramas (The Fighter, Lone Survivor, Patriot’s Day) and sci-fi action (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers: The Last Knight ).
Also among Wahlberg’s credits is Pain & Gain opposite Johnson, and now the actor has passed his friend and colleague on a very prestigious list. According to Forbes, Wahlberg’s earnings from June 1, 2016, to June 1, 2017, have made him the highest paid actor, having earned $68 million pre-tax in the publication’s 12-month scoring period. That amount bests Johnson (last year’s top-earner), who came in second on Forbes’ list at $65 million. Coming in at No. 3 on the list is Vin Diesel ($54.5 million), followed by Adam Sandler ($50.5 million) and Jackie Chan ($49 million).
While the numbers for Wahlberg, Johnson and Diesel make sense thanks to such high-budget films as The Fate of the Furious and Transformers: The Last Knight, the earnings for Sandler and Chan appear more baffling. Forbes pointed out, however, that Sandler has a lucrative deal with Netflix to produce his own movies, while Chan’s earning mostly come from his productions in China.
One telling sign about the Forbes list is that critical praise doesn’t matter when it comes an actor’s payday. While Wahlberg has been nominated for two Oscars in the past (for Best Supporting Actor for The Departed and as a producer on the Best Picture nominee The Fighter), his only major release to date in 2017, Transformers: The Last Knight, earned a dismal 15 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Forbes says the numbers were compiled from data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo, IMDb and interviews with industry experts. The numbers don’t include fees for agents, managers and lawyers. The combined total for the top 20 actors on the Forbes 2017 list is $720 million.
Rounding out the Top 10 highest paid actors is Robert Downey Jr. ($48 million) at No. 6, followed by Tom Cruise ($43 million) and Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Kahn ($38 million) Salman Khan ($37 million) and Akshay Kumar ($35.5 million).
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