Downey, 48, starred in Disney’s Marvel superhero films The Avengers in 2012 and Iron Man 3 in 2013, each of which earned more than $1bn at the box office, assuring him the top spot in the annual ranking of Hollywood’s top acting earners.
New father Tatum, 33, who self-financed the male-stripper movie Magic Mike that made $167m with director Steven Soderbergh, captured the No 2 spot with estimated earnings of $60m.
Australian actor Jackman, 44, whose new movie The Wolverine opens in US theatres next week, was not far behind with $55m.
Mark Wahlberg, 42, had a comedy hit with Ted, a film that earned $550m and pumped up his earnings to $52m to secure fourth place, and wrestler-turned actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, 41, rounded out the top five with $46m.
Adam Sandler, 46, at No 7, was the only comedian to make the top 10. Denzel Washington, 58, took a cut in pay in exchange for a share of the profits for Flight, which turned out to be a shrewd deal. The film made $162m putting the Oscar winner in eighth place with $33m.
Last year, Tom Cruise, 51, topped the list with earnings of $75m. This year, he dropped to eighth place with $35m, gained largely from his international audience, Forbes said.