Bollywood vs. Hollywood: Who’s richer?

IMAGE: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf on Wall Street

Last week we covered the most successful celebrity couples. Now it’s time for the singles. Who are the most successful actors – Bollywood vs. Hollywood? We’ve looked and found the Top 5 for both… and we’ve compared to see who is doing better.

It’s no secret that actors and actresses in Hollywood and Bollywood make ridiculous amounts of money. Just opening up a gossip magazine will show you how much they’ve spent on weddings, purses, suits and shoes. It’s enough to make a lot of us green with envy. We decided to take a look at who the top earners are in our two favourite industries: Bollywood and Hollywood.

These lists were made by examining the incomes listed by Forbes in their annual Forbes 100 listings. For the Bollywood stars we used the Forbes India 2013 Celebrity 100 and for Hollywood we used the Forbes Celebrity 100. To level the playing field we chose only celebrities who focused on acting – anyone with equally prominent careers as producers or directors were disqualified. So, for instance, though SRK has directed movies he remains in the list because he is not known primarily as a director. In comparison, Tyler Perry was removed from the Hollywood section as he is known primarily as a director and a producer, on top of being an actor.

Both of our Top 5s are based solely on income.

Image: Top 5 Bollywood Earners

Bollywood’s Top 5

  1. Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) – $36 Million SRK is Bollywood’s biggest Bollywood leading man, so it’s no surprise that he tops the list of Bollywood stars. The 48-year-old father of three has starred in over 50 Hindi films and his latest, Happy New Year, is being released at the end of this week.
  2. Salman Khan – $29 Million Another long-term leading man, at 48 Salman has starred in 80 Hindi films. In 2013, Khan had no film releases but his last film, Kick, is currently the second highest grossing Bollywood film of all time. He’s currently in filming for his next movie, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.
  3. Amitabh Bachchan – $24 Million A true giant of the Bollywood industry, 72-year-old Amitabh has starred in over 190 films and 2013 saw him cross over to Hollywood for The Great Gatsby. This year he’s only had a single film release… but he already has four films lined up for release next year.
  4. Akshay Kumar – $19 Million 47-year-old Akshay has appeared in over 100 Hindi films. In 2013, he released 6 films and has 4 titles lined up ready for 2015. The father of two was also the voice of Optimus Prime in the Hindi dub of Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
  5. Ranbir Kapoor – $11 Million Ranbir is the youngest of Bollywood’s top five highest earning actors at 32. He’s also got the shortest filmography, with a meager 15 films under his belt. Despite that, he’s won almost three times as many awards and is clearly far away from bankruptcy.
IMAGE: Top 5 Hollywood Earners

Image Credits: Eva Rinaldi, Angela George, and Georges Biard / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Hollywood’s Top 5

  1. Robert Downey Jr (RDJ) – $75 Million Known around the world as Iron Man, RDJ isn’t far off from the wealth Tony Stark boasts in his movies. The 49-year-old star almost entirely has Disney to thank for his current position at the top of Hollywood’s highest paying actors.
  2. Dwayne Johnson – $52 Million 42-year-old father-of-one Dwayne got his start as wrestler The Rock in WWE. Almost 20 years after his debut, he’s now a leading man. With a series of franchises under his belt, Dwayne has acted in 30 films and has two ready to release next year.
  3. Sandra Bullock – $51 Million A double nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Bullock is in one of the most financially successful actresses. The 50-year-old mother-of-one has starred in over 40 films and saw her last movie, Gravity, become an international blockbuster.
  4. Bradley Cooper – $46 Million The newcomer to Hollywood as far as our Top 5 are concerned, 39-year-old Cooper has had a string of successful movies. His latest release, Guardians of the Galaxy, is tied into the same Marvel universe that has caused most of Robert Downey Junior’s success.
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio – $39 Million 39-year-old Leo is a five-time Acadamy Award nominee and has been acting in Hollywood since 1993. Last year he starred in four movies, including The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street. He’s currently filming for 2015 movie The Revenant.


In the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, the Hollywood actors did not rank high. None of them even made the Top 10! They were beaten out by hosts of musicians, directors, media personalities and athletes. For example, Robert Downey Jr, by far the highest paid celebrity on either of our top five, came in at number 18 on the list. He was beaten out of the top stops by musicians like Justin Bieber, One Direction and (unsurprisingly) Beyonce.

Our other celebrities didn’t fare out any better, either. If Tyler Perry hadn’t been disqualified, he would have come next, with his $70 million bringing him in to 21st position, but with his removal the next closest was Dwayne. His position is a long, long way down from RDJ’s – he’s in 38th place, followed by Sandra in 39th. Bradley is in position 44 and Leo comes in at 48.

In comparison, our group of Indian actors did much better in the Indian Celebrity 100. All five appeared within the top ten places and SRK was the highest paid on the list, taking first place. Following that, our stars took 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th place. Two other actors were also in top ten highest earners but missed out on being in the top five – Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan, who both earned around $10 million. They fell directly behind Rahbir, in 8th and 9th place, respectively.

But how does Bollywood fare when placed up against America’s celebrities? It’s an interesting mix…

SRK, the highest earner of Bollywood and a megastar with dozens of endorsement deals earned as much last year as … Miley Cyrus. He’s below all of the Top 5 and doesn’t make it into the first 50 places. SRK and Miley come in at 51 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. SRK is literally half-way up the Hollywood high earners ladder.

Salman isn’t anywhere near as close to SRK in the Hollywood listings, despite being 2nd in Bollywood. In 65th place, Salman is sandwiched between super couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. (You might remember their daughter, North, made our cutest celebrity baby list.) At least he clawed his way into the upper three thirds of the 100 – Akshay and Ranbier don’t make it.

Coming in at 77 on the Hollywood Celebrity 100, Akshay earned the same amount as Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man co-star. Meanwhile, Ranbir just manages to scrape in. At number 91, he brushes shoulders with television star and Big Bang Theory front woman Kaley Couco.

What do you think about the rankings? Do you think SRK should be earning more than RDJ? Would you like to see Ranbir Kumar higher up the charts in a couple of years? Do you think Amitabh will ever stop making movies? Let us know through our Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

For all the latest Hollywood and Bollywood showbiz gossip and movie reviews, head over Yamgo to watch Cover Showbiz, Bollywood Hungama and 9XE.

Daniel Horgan

Author Daniel Horgan

Video Game and Wrestling fanatic. I enjoy watching the latest blockbusters at the cinema and all things film. To join in the conversation, follow Yamgo's official Twitter account @Yamgotv!

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