Robert Downey Jr. Nets $50 Million From Success of ‘Avengers’ Movie
Clearly, some of the business genius of Tony Stark has rubbed off on Robert Downey Jr. after playing the character for three movies (four, if you count his Incredible Hulk cameo), with the news that the success of The Avengers will earn the actor somewhere in the region of $50 million.The figure comes from the traditionally anonymous sources, with the Hollywood Reporter citing two who claim that "the number could go higher than $50 million once the ultimate box-office haul of Avengers is known." Downey Jr.'s massive payday comes as the result of the deal the actor made with the studio following the success of the original Iron Man, which saw him get both backend compensation (That is to say, a cut of the profits) as well as additional bonuses dependent on the movie's performance at the box office.
What's so surprising about this -- aside from the $50 million figure itself -- is that Marvel Studios is known for being frugal when it comes to dealing with actors, going so far as to replace Terrance Howard as James Rhodes between the first two Iron Man movies after the actor tried to raise his price tag for the second movie knowing how important the character was to become. Since the success of the first Iron Man, the studio has signed actors to contracts for multiple movies - Samuel L. Jackson's was reportedly a deal for appearances in nine movies - to lock them in at a reasonably low price before the first movie is released in order to avoid costly contract negotiations after a hit.
According to THR's sources, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo all signed similarly smaller upfront deals and therefore stand to make $2-3 million from The Avengers all told, while Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, could make double that amount due to their previous deals.
The heirs of Jack Kirby, the cartoonist who co-created the majority of the Avengers characters, will not see money from the film having recently lost a lawsuit to reclaim the copyrights to that work. Fans concerned about this disparity have been donating to the Hero Initiative, the non-profit dedicated to helping comics creators in need of financial aid, and to the Kirby Museum, which celebrates Kirby's long career in comics and other media.
Nonetheless, with the movie having grossed more than $1,000,000,000 worldwide (It's currently the 13th most successful movie of all time), it's not as if Marvel can't afford the $50 million in order to keep Downey happy - especially considering his Iron Man 3 is going to have the tough job of being the studio's first post-Avengers movie next year.