By Jeff Labrecque
Updated August 01, 2011 at 10:20 PM EDT
Jon Furniss/

Leonardo DiCaprio once crowed that he was “the king of the world,” and the 36-year-old actor now has the bank account to back it up. The Inception star dislodged Pirates of the Caribbean icon Johnny Depp at the top of Forbes’ list of the highest-earning actors, with Adam Sandler, Will Smith, and Tom Hanks rounding out the top 5.

The magazine estimated that DiCaprio had earned $77 million in the 12-month period ending in May, an impressive tally for an actor not associated with a blockbuster movie franchise. In fact, there’s something strangely satisfying about DiCaprio and Depp ranking 1 and 2 on this type of list. Though they both certainly qualify as handsome Hollywood leading man, both men seemingly spurned the lure of instant stardom and opted for smaller, offbeat roles early in their careers. DiCaprio rejected several high-profile projects after Titanic made him the biggest heartthrob in the world, while Depp spent many years choosing interesting roles that seemed designed to obscure his box-office potential.

Overall, the top 5 actors are all proven heavyweights, so at least Hollywood knows a safe bet when it sees one. Still in his acting prime, do you expect DiCaprio to keep his crown for several years to come? Just imagine what he might earn once he decides to take the plunge and tackle one of those blockbuster franchises that surely has been dangled before his eyes?

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