Robert Downey has obliterated the field in Forbes' annual list of the highest paid actors in the world, earning $75 million in just 12 months thanks to super-hits The Avengers and Iron Man 3.

Robert Downey JrRobert Downey Jr As Tony Stark in 'Iron Man 3'

Downey Jr didn't even feature in last year's list, though beat second place Channing Tatum by over $30 million in earnings for 2013. He also left the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington in his dust, begging the question: is a man once considered box-office poison by studios really worth the cash?

It's probably worth noting that the actor reportedly received a share of the profits from The Avengers - a shrewd contractual obligation that appeared a stroke of genius when the comic book movie made $1.5 billion last year. 

Six of Downey Jr's most recent films have grossed over $500 million worldwide, with The Avengers and Iron Man 3 each breaking the $1 billion barrier. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) took $545 million, Due Date (2011) took $211 million on a budget of just $60 million, Sherlock Holmes (2009) took $524 million, Tropic Thunder (2008) took $122 million, Iron Man (2008) brought in $585 million and Zodiac (2007) pulled $84 million. In fact only The Soloist (2008) and Charlie Bartlett (2007) represent bum-notes for Downey Jr over the past 10 years and both were anything but disasters.

Robert Downey JrRobert Downey Jr Was Paid $75 Million For Just A 12 Month Period

So, the bottom line is that Downey Jr makes cash. And all major studios care about is profit. To fund their other movies which may or may not make money. The actor has carved out a position for himself in Hollywood whereby he is a safe bet - a guarantee of profit. 

The actor has already signed up for The Avengers 2, and if that contract contains a share of the profit, then expect Downey Jr to storm the Forbes list in 2015 too.

Robert Downey JrRobert Downey Jr Is A Banker Bet For Major Studios