Vin Diesel’s roles in a pair of blockbusters helped make him the highest grossing actor of 2017. Vin Diesel has had quite an eventful career in the film business, beginning with his breakthrough role as Private Caparzo in director Steven Spielberg’s 1998 World War II epic Saving Private Ryan. A year after that, he voiced the title role in writer/director Brad Bird’s animated classic The Iron Giant.
While Diesel earned notices for films like Pitch Black and Boiler Room, the actor was catapulted into superstardom with the first film in what would become a multi-billion franchise, with the muscle car action hit The Fast and the Furious in 2001. Following up on that success, Diesel also scored a monster hit with the action thriller xXx, which was followed by six more Fast and Furious films. His voice talents – as demonstrated by The Iron Giant – have come in quite handy in his career, too, with dozens of simple but memorable utterances of “I am Groot” in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
As it turned out, the roots Diesel planted in the Fast and Furious and the xXx franchises helped the actor earn a distinct honor in 2017. According to Forbes, Diesel’s roles in The Fate of the Furious and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage this year has made him the highest grossing actor of 2017. The publication says Diesel’s films earned nearly $1.6 billion globally, largely in part to the $1.235 billion cume of The Fate of the Furious. The xXx sequel – the third in the series and second starring Diesel – earned $346.1 million worldwide to push Diesel to the top.
Finishing behind Diesel as the second highest grossing actor was his The Fate of the Furious co-star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Like Diesel, Johnson benefited by the blistering $1.2 billion take of The Fate of the Furious. However, Johnson came up short in his bid for the top spot because of the underwhelming returns of Baywatch, which pulled in $178 million worldwide. Luckily for Johnson, his new film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has gotten off to a solid start, earning $121.5 million globally through Christmas Day.
Coming in third on the highest grossing actor list was Gal Gadot, whose two turns as Diana, princess of the Amazons earned her films more than $1.4 billion worldwide. Gadot’s summer smash Wonder Woman pulled in $822 million globally, while her role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in Justice League, which earned $647 million worldwide, boosted the final tally to $1.469 billion.
Of course, while no single actor can account for the success of any film – especially given their co-stars and the thousands of crew members involved in any given picture – the fact that Diesel, Johnson, and Gadot are featured in prominent roles in the films does say something about their bankability. Choosing the right projects helps, too, as 2017 showed that even Johnson, who rarely has a misfire, can on occasion can get beached with a box office dud like Baywatch.
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