How Does Dwayne Johnson Make More Money Than Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth?

Most of the recent news you’ve probably heard about the highest-paid actor in Hollywood has been about Robert Downey, Jr. Yes, it’s true he was the actor with the highest net worth up until recently. While we all contemplated that and why a woman wasn’t No. 1 on the list, it was ultimately inevitable Dwayne Johnson would be the one to supersede Downey.

Sure enough, Downey has been toppled from the top spot. Now Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the highest-paid actor of 2019.

How this happened is a bit startling considering he’s not quite in the same thespian league as the paternal figure of the MCU. The Rock also somehow beat out Chris Hemsworth who arguably has a lot in common with Johnson in acting range.

When you dig a little deeper, you can see how this new ranking happened so fast.

How much is Dwayne Johnson making this year?

Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

The BBC recently reported on this, and they expressed their own surprise at Johnson making #1. DJ’s earnings for 2019 will be $89 million, edging out Hemsworth at $76 million, then Downey at $66 million. Seeing Downey at #3 is a bit of a shock considering his stellar year acting in Avengers: Endgame.

One has to wonder if Downey willfully took a slightly lesser payday just because he already felt overstuffed based on his recent comments. The fact that Downey is trying to find himself and pare down after the Marvel Cinematic Universe tidal wave, it likely left a bit of leeway for Hemsworth and Johnson to overtake him.

You can see Hemsworth and Johnson are still making hay while the sun shines compared to Downey who’s now coming down off a major high he probably can’t top. The full steam ahead approach of Johnson in making bank now obviously put him in overdrive to negotiate higher salaries for his movies.

To counter all this, Scarlett Johansson is now the highest-paid woman, however notably lower for the women’s top spot. She makes only $56 million compared to Johnson making a jaw-dropping $33 million more.

What really placed Johnson as the highest-paid actor?

When Johnson decided to become an actor, he wasn’t in it to just take small paychecks to craft his acting talent in small films. He was clearly out to replicate what other notable action stars have done for decades and make audience-friendly cinema everyone wants to see.

Clearly, the kind of money he’s making now well exceeds what names like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Willis all made in their heydays. While they all had similar approaches to their movies, Johnson carved a slightly more successful brand for himself.

He’s managed to ensconce himself in the PG-13 niche, which means he’s making movies kids can easily see with their parents (or grandparents) without anyone being offended. This alone gives him bigger box office numbers compared to being a strictly R-rated action star.

Johnson does do a good job of being naturally appealing and believable in all his roles. Most of all, he’s mastered a great sense of comedic timing, something serving him well in holding a comedic film through to the end.

Adding TV to the mix clearly upped his fortunes

Let’s not forget Dwayne Johnson is also a major part of TV now with HBO’s Ballers, plus producing competitive game shows like NBC’s The Titan Games. We’re reaching a point where Johnson will be ubiquitous in every media form, something that can only last so long before there’s a problem with overexposure.

Knowing Johnson’s awareness of his image, he’ll do something before anybody thinks he’s over-dominating everything. Part of this might mean the aesthetic awareness Robert Downey, Jr. nurtured and learning to pull back eventually to keep one’s self within reality after cashing out.