Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For ‘Avengers 2 & 3′

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 9th, 2013 at 8:12 pm,

Iron Man 3 Box Office Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For Avengers 2 & 3

In just two weeks, Iron Man 3 has earned $700 million at the worldwide box office – and that’s with the film only having just opened domestically this weekend. It’s safe to say that the first chapter of “Phase Two” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will repulsor boost past the billion dollar mark and approach Avengers-style record breaking numbers. It already stands as the biggest international opening ever and came in as the second biggest domestic opening (The Avengers having taken the #1 spot last summer).

Iron Man 3′s success is fantastic for executives at Disney and Marvel, along with those involved with the film’s production, but it also creates a challenge for the studio to bring Robert Downey Jr. back to play the character again come time for The Avengers 2 and beyond. And it’s not just Tony Stark they have to worry about.

When signing with Marvel Studios – who’ve earned a reputation for their strict low-paying contracts – the deals always involve multiple pictures, even more than other typical franchise roles with options for sequels. Chris Evans for example, was sought after for a nine-picture deal, but agreed to doing six. Samuel L. Jackson, who Marvel almost lost during negotiations, ended up signing on for nine films. Mark Ruffalo also has a six-picture contract that began with his appearance in The Avengers.

marvel movie logos Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For Avengers 2 & 3

Agreeing to long-term commitments is one thing, but the publicized issues talent working for Marvel deal with are the relatively low salaries, something that’s been in the media since Iron Man opened in 2008. Jon Favreau met some obstacles in getting a more desirable payday for returning to direct Iron Man 2, the same film which saw the low-balling of Mickey Rourke with a reported $250,000 offer and a similar low offer to Samuel L. Jackson to play S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury for the long haul.

In theory, it’s smart business. Marvel has a proven track record in finding lower cost, lesser known – even unexpected – actors (and directors) and turning them into superstars, but not before locking them in for a long-term franchise since they’re always planning ahead. Robert Downey Jr. however, got around this with his agents renegotiating a sweet deal for him after Iron Man that saw him take a hefty chunk of the gross from The Avengers. His earnings from his appearance was reportedly upwards of $50 million but Deadline reports that it was actually closer to $70-80 with him getting 5-7% of first-dollar gross for his appearances after Iron Man 2, resulting in earnings several dozen times that of his co-stars.

RDJ wasn’t joking at Comic-Con last summer when he said his agents were overjoyed with their position. Downey Jr., much like his IM3 co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, isn’t signed for any additional films, but the Tony Stark character is already written into the script of The Avengers 2 (Joss Whedon handed in his first draft recently) and Marvel Studios President and film producer Kevin Feige went on record saying Stark is “100%” part of the future of the franchise.

The Avengers Box Office Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For Avengers 2 & 3

If Robert Downey Jr. banked $70 million plus with The Avengers and already has earned over $35 million just from what Iron Man 3 has done in two weeks, how much will Marvel Studios have to pay him for return appearances in The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3, and is Iron Man 4 still a possibility? More to the point – what does this mean for his Avengers co-stars who earned much, much less than him in the first team-up (reportedly $2-3 million for Evans, Hemsworth, etc.)?

Thing is, not everyone is signed for The Avengers 2 (see: Chris Hemsworth) and with its record-breaking expectations, it’s going to cost Marvel and Disney a lot to keep everyone aboard. Deadline reports from their multiple sources that at least some of the reps and stars of the film aren’t happy with their deals and Marvel’s tactics. Marvel is allegedly firing back with threats of lawsuits and recasting. Terrence Howard was the highest paid actor in Iron Man and he was replaced for the sequel, despite the financial success of the first film and the confidence in the franchise.

In an interesting twist, the man who was paid the most and the one in the best bargaining position going forward is also the one person who might be essential in bringing everyone together. Deadline’s reps claim that the stars of The Avengers are rallying behind Robert Downey Jr. and that he is their de facto leader of sorts.

“He’s the only guy with real power in this situation. and balls of steel, too. He’s already sent a message that he’s not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like shit.”

Will he hold out on signing unless the other Avengers get better deals as well?

For comparison’s sake, RDJ movies vs. non-RDJ movies at the box office:


  • $585 million - Iron Man
  • $624 million – Iron Man 2
  • $1,512 million – The Avengers
  • $711 million – Iron Man 3 (in less than two weeks)


  • $263 million – The Incredible Hulk
  • $369 million – Captain America: The First Avengers
  • $449 million – Thor

Robert Downey Jr. is Marvel’s most bankable actor, and Iron Man 3, boosted by the The Avengers success last summer, is on track to destroy the box office numbers of any previous Marvel Studios solo character feature film. We won’t be able to compare properly until Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World releases this November, testing the fall release schedule for Marvel, but it’s a safe bet that it won’t top IM3, which may prove to be the year’s biggest box office hit.

iron man 3 trailer122 570x242 Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For Avengers 2 & 3

According to THR, Robert Downey Jr.’s people are already in negotiations with Marvel Studios to return for the Avengers sequels, but there’s no talk of Iron Man 4 yet. The actor has not been shy about expressing interest in working on other types of films and having more time away from the Stark role, even hinting at retirement.

Knowing the enormously high salary expectations for Robert Downey Jr., is he worth price to Marvel? According to Cowen and Co. industry analyst Doug Creutz, he is, claiming that losing him would drop the earnings on films with Tony Stark appearances by 9%. There’s no telling how arbritary number is calculated, but logic would dictate that a Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man appearance would be worth more than a non-Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man appearance.

The other, albeit far less realistic possibility, is that Marvel could actually recast. They did so with Mark Ruffalo taking over the Bruce Banner role from Edward Norton and as mentioned above, Cheadle taking over the Rhodey role from Terrence Howard – both to great success – but Downey is a different beast all together and is arguably the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man 3 Second Trailer Discussion Marvel Facing Challenges in Signing Robert Downey Jr. For Avengers 2 & 3

The movies and characters are not going away, but eventually, the actors will. Batman and James Bond lived on through multiple recastings – their latest being their most successful – and so to will Tony Stark and Iron Man. Even if for some crazy, unexpected and disappointing reason, Robert Downey Jr. were to say farewell to Earth’s Mightiest, The Avengers 2 would earn a billion dollars with someone else in the role, but that wouldn’t be good for fans, the series, or the studio.

It’s a shame that a franchise built around superheroes saving the planet is slightly clouded by the reality check of it really being about big business and the debate over who gets what from the billion dollar pie. But the good news is, the future is bright for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and bigger movies and new characters are on the way.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes if Marvel should pay whatever Downey wants to come back in Avengers 2 & 3!

Sources: Deadline, THR

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. I’ve been involved in some contract negotiations at work, myself. Is it weird that I actually read this article and relaxed a bit?

  2. I really like robert downy but avengers is even slightly delayed because of him,I will start hating him.(I MEAN IT)

    • I’m sure he’s devastated.

    • They wouldn’t delay it; it would definitely be in the early May release date of 2015–there’s no way Marvel would lose that key spot for anyone ever. Probably they’ll just use the remote controlled iron man suits and say Tony Stark couldn’t join in the fight this time. Or they’d use Don Cheadle instead.

    • For the money Downy will be getting, RDJ will clear his schedule for Marvel.
      Meaning his other film projects would be delayed if anything is affected.

    • So you would hate someone sticking up for others….yea you sure know what the term “hero” means don’t you.

  3. I cannot believe that fans would support this behavior, if Fox or Warner Brothers where the ones doing this, you would be saying how terrible and greedy they are, but Marvel apparently can do no wrong in the eyes of the fans, so they can get away with pretty much anything i guess, like being cheap, treating their actors as if they were disposable, (if they treat their actors like that, I cannot even imagine how they treat their directors and crew) financially low-balling them and straight up disrespecting them.

    Marvel is a greedy, evil corporation like any other.

    • uh…yeah?
      But they give us what we want, so meh. Truth be told, I’m glad Robert’s taking a chunk outta them, he owned his role, made himself the face of Marvel-Cenima, and now he’s got their metaphorical balls in his hand.

      No one said Marvel wasn’t just as evil and greedy as Fox or WB, but Marvel’s given us a lot of good movies as of late…they’ve kinda earned it. :P

      • That is true, Robert Downey Jr. As Ironman is like Toby McGuire as Spider-Man. Once you seen the first Spider-Man movie it’s hard to replace the character the audience loves and recognizes unless you wait a few years to release a new one. Recasting ironman right now would be a challenge because well you have Robert Downey Jr. In the Avengers sequels, but have some new guy in iron,an films filling up the loopholes. Can’t forget Nick Fury, and how they had cross movie platform moments.

        So I think Marvel should’ve just taken a big gulp of don’t let this nother me and just rehired Downey to clean up with one last Ironman leading into a Avengers movie, or after the avengers movie so people can actually get there last farewell in for the third Avengers movie. Replacing Downey right now while he’s hot is a stupid move.

        Either way like Michael Keaton he is ultimate face of Batman, they can replace him but it will be years till they find a Christian Bale.

    • Totally agree with you, Manny. I was actually waiting to here something like this, since I’m familiar with Marvel being cheap and all. And now it seems that the crap has hit the fan.

      I’m wishing the actors good luck in securing their much-deserved pay. If Marvel can’t find a way to deal and ends up recasting, I’ll just boycott. I know I’m just one person, but I’m not going to give my money to a company that treats their employees like utter crap.

      • *hear

      • Owww, poor actors, they get ONLY “reportedly $2-3 million” for a few weeks’ work, boo-hoo! Would you guys please listen to yourselves? If that is being cheap, I’d love my everyday job to bring so little cash in. It’s not Marvel’s fault if the other studios are willing to pay their actors obscenely huge amounts of dough!

        • It takes like 18 months to make marvel movies considering their atleast 2hrs long most of it is editting but 2 weeks of acting my ass. Wouldnt you feel cheat if a movie made nearly 2 billion dollars which YOU starred in and only made 2 million thats lest than 1% of the earnings.

          • I’d feel privileged and probably somewhat shameful to become a millionaire for only a few week’s work (never said 2 BTW), and so they should. The problem with these people (actors and studios alike) used to juggle big numbers is that they’re completely disconnected from the realities of life.

      • Much-deserved pay, are you serious? No actor deserves to be paid more than a million or two for doing a film, I don’t care who they are, and even that is a lot of money. It is insane the amount of money they make for as little time they actually spend on the film.

        I’m not saying Marvel’s tactics aren’t a little shady, but look what being in a successful Marvel movie does for you, it heightens your popularity and ups your price for other movies.

        I do love that RDJ is fighting to get better pay for his fellow cast members though.

    • Marvel is greedy? Name me one big business that is not. And most of them aren’t giving you stories about good superheros doing good deeds. So you don’t think RDJ is greedy taking 70mil from one movie????!! You people all are crazy saying one side or the other is greedy. They’re ALL greedy. No one should be making that much money in the first place, especially just for entertainment. I still hope they resign him though, because having a different actor in a lead-role is just stupid. Although the Hulk change was good, but lightning striking twice is extremely rare.

      • You are exactly right. Everyone keeps talking about the same job getting paid the same, but that analogy doesn’t hold up. If you have 2 salesmen, and one is a buttload better than the other, then he deserves more money. RDJ and to some extent Hemsworth, are worth more because they draw in the people, they make the sales.

        However, if your salesmen become little Divas, then you need to give them a little reality check. Marvel is a cash cow for RDJ and the rest if they establish themselves more. Sometimes you don’t want your best player traded but, if they are causing personal problems on your team, you need to cut ties before the disease spreads.

  4. I hope they can work this out with all parties involved. Some great movies in the works let’s hope for the best and keep the actors we love in these roles.

    • I’m with you Dan my man I hope it all works out for Marvel as a studio for them as actors for us as fans I hope it all does. I am no business kind of person by any means and I am absolutely clueless whenit comes to the power of a contract so don’t quote me on this but it sounds to me after reading this stuff that the actors and the studio just aren’t on the same page or are struggling to find common ground maybe what they need to do is just find something they both like and want, this thought has made me hope that Joss Whedon will just show his first draft of Avengers 2 to everyone and everyone will just forget about their issues make any necessary changes that they feel need to be made to do the movie because they like the script so much. Why do I have the feeling this will happen? Ah I’m probably just getting carried away with my hopes for everyone coming back, I always loved sequels because it felt like a reunion to me even when I was a kid so I really hope they all come back. Fingers crossed right man :)

  5. I won’t go if he’s replaced:( he’s just too perfect

  6. All of you shouldn’t just focus on one actor or actors. There are hundreds of other people involved in making a movie, especially a comic book movie. So, at some point, there is a limit to how much a studio should pay one actor, at least upfront.

  7. well than let the fans come up with a non-spoiling way to intrigue them to see a film

  8. If Marvel/Disney is stupid enough not to bring back RDJ and pay his castmates, they must understand that if will affect the boxoffice. And it will not be good. Marvel/Disney has a good thing going with the AVENGERS and the single “Avenger” movies. It would be one hell of a waste if they mess this up by being cheap and not paying the actors more money. The Fans are not going to like recasting, not in this stage of leading up to the next Avengers film. It will not work. Marvel/Disney will lose money. This whole Avengers Universe and single film tie-ins have the potential to be bigger than Star Wars.(Both Trilogies) If it isn’t broke, DON’T FIX IT. All the fans need to get on internet,facebook, twitter and send Marvel/Disney a message not to mess up a good thing.

    • The problem is not Marvel being cheap, rather the actors becoming exceedingly greedy. RDJ already gets $70 mil per movie, just imagine the rest of the cast demanding that much…

  9. All of them are millionaires. It’s not about the money. It’s ego.

    • It’s about money too. Put yourself in your shoes. If you were earning minimum wage by industry standards and your coworker made 100 times your salary for the same job you’d want more money too.

      • No, I’d want HIM to get less money. $70 mil for a few weeks’ work is obscene.

        • Well, that’s nice of you. If I ever hire someone like you I’ll remember to work you to the bone and pay your the absolute bare minimum that I can. I’m sure you’ll be kissing my feet and swearing lifelong service for it.

          • I love how you say that millions is still too low. You may have some grudge against the successful businesses of the world and wish for a socialist nation where the gov’t decides what you get, but you are so far off base that it’s ridiculous.

            The studios take the risk. Marvel had to hock their creative property to make ends meet at the end of the last century. They took what they had, made the idea work, and now they are rich. I respect the hell out of them and wish I could find some great idea to make me rich. RDJ is entitled to what he negotiates. Nothing more and nothing less. The others will be able to negotiate based on their talents when their contracts are up. But everyone is replaceable.

            • “I love how you say that millions is still too low. You may have some grudge against the successful businesses of the world and wish for a socialist nation where the gov’t decides what you get”
              Your delusions are what’s outrageous here. Get off that hashish before you start typing.

              Yes, Marvel took risks with their initial movies. And so there stars took small paychecks. But now that these franchises have built up recognition and become guaranteed money-spinners the situation has changed. Everyone expects The Avengers 2 to do well and possibly even surpass the original in box office.

              As such the actors are now entitled to negotiate for larger salaries, just like Downey did(going from 2 mil in Iron Man to over 50 mil for Avengers and Iron Man 3). It’s only natural to want a fair share of expected profits. Think of it as similar to expecting a bonus when you’ve done well and the company is doing well.

          • GG, stop playing dumb for a minute. You seriously don’t think star actors’ wages are outrageous?

            • Maybe they are. But guess what? In this world, they’re entitled to it. Morally, it’s unfair, but financially, that’s their market worth in that industry. All these actors get more money from other studios for starring in lower-gross movies(like Hemsworth in Snow White) than they get for starring in Marvel’s billion-dollar hits.


              • If actors don’t like Marvel’s wages they don’t have to work for them. There are already those who’ve left and it’s been fine. I think that Marvel understands better than you who is a more valuable asset. Even if they don’t, it’s a free country and can do as they please. I quit a job who used to tell us how successful they were and never pay us accordingly. It’s the power I had in the situation and the company lost some very good employees. Eventually it will catch up to them. But I’m glad they weren’t forced to pay me or I never would have went looking for the better job that I found.

                If they don’t resign RDJ and the sales go down substantially, they will call him up and give him whatever he wants.

              • They’re entitled to zilch. And yes, it’s exactly about the principle. The principle that when there’s still so much poverty across the globe, no-one who’s already paid in millions should ask for more.

                • There’s so much poverty across the world that YOU and anyone who earns anything above $1 a day should be grateful and never ask for any more than that.

                  But that’s not how you people are, is it? ‘Rules for thee but not for me’. Arguing against who’s more fortunate than you while neglecting you’re the same relative to these less fortunate than yourself.

                  • What you’re failing to grasp is that it’s never been about me. You’re making it out to be my personal grudge while I’ve been keeping on stressing that it was all about the wealthiest vs. the poorest.

  10. I can understand people rooting for their favorite actors getting paid more and Marvel being a faceless corporation like everyone else. After all, those leading actors are the face of the franchise and we all love the characters they play.

    But, people, please, get some perspective. Two or three million dollars is not in any way a low salary for someone whose job is to act in a couple of movies. There are doctors, people who save lives, and won’t make this kind of money in 20 years. There are engineers, who design and build useful things that make life easier, economy more efficient, movies possible (or save people’s lives, again) and won’t make this kind of money in 30 years. There are more examples that I don’t care to mention now, but you understand what I’m trying to say.

    And if you’ve somehow been led to believe that the people in the show business somehow deserve to be paid orders of magnitude higher than people in other fields, then take a moment to consider all the people who work on the movie but are not the actors. Just stay for the ending credits of the Avengers or Iron Man 3 and count the number of distinct people whose names you read (I counted about 200 just for the digital effects on IM3). While your beloved actors take away millions with them (even if “just” a couple of millions each) to do their acting job, there are hundreds of people who do jobs that require much more technical knowledge and are often more demanding who will be paid with what of the budget is left after the big actors have.

    I have no idea how Marvel compensates all those people behind the scenes, but it is not my point. It’s not my point either to say whether Marvel should do everything to bring these actors back for at least the whole of Phase 2 (from a business perspective, losing RDJ would severely damage the profitability of the franchise). My point is that three million dollars should not be considered a low salary for an actor. If you want to defend someone who’s being treated badly () by a corporation, defend some workers in another field, defend your doctor, or the worker who fixes the power lines in your house, or (to stay in the show business) defend the people behind the scenes of your favorite blockbuster. The big actors are far from defenseless, no matter what you’ve been led to believe.

    • * “[...] what of the budget is left after the big actors have negotiated their share.”

    • If you work at a business where you get paid $50.00 per hour and someone else doing the same job gets paid $500.00 per hour I would believe that you would think you deserved a higher pay rate, regardless of the fact that you live very well. The same applies to the main stars of the Marvel movies!

    • Your thinking is seriously flawed.

      Not supporting Downey and co won’t put extra money into the pockets of all those anonymous technical people. If Marvel is lowballing their star actors you can bet these guys get peanuts.

      On the other hand supporting Downey and co will give Marvel(and these other anonymous, though unionized, guys) the message that this kind of cheapness by the studio can’t be tolerated and they can stand up for their rights with some chance of success.

      So continue being a studio tool crying for the poor billionaire studio execs, but don’t ask the rest of us to do the same.

      • GG, are you for real? Are you honestly telling a guy who roots for the end of undeserved, insanely high paychecks that HIS thinking is seriously flawed? Oboy, this is rich!

        • Keep crying over billionaire actors. The fact remains that the POOR POOR STUDIOS you’re sticking up for make 100 times as much as these actors. With your lame “Actors take less, the ALMIGHTY MARVEL SHOULD KEEP THESE BILLIONS TEE HEE!” argument none of the deserving, low-paid people benefit.

          • Stop reading too much into people’s comments. When the hell did I side with the studio?

            • Not siding with the artists here is siding with the studio. They make billions every year with their movies and pay their actors and directors(and probably backstage guys as well) a pittance even as every other studio in Hollywood(not a place where companies are known for the goodness of their hearts) would pay them more for movies that make less.

              • Oh, so in your narrow mind, it’s the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” thing, eh? Well, nice job impersonating Bush Junior. But you know what? The world is a little less black and white than that.

      • With no aggressive feelings at all, just tell me this: If I am a “tool crying for the poor billionaire studio execs” and yet you cry for the poor billionaire actors whose paychecks range from a couple to dozens of millions of USD, what does that make you?

        You seem to be of the deluded mindset that entrepreneurs and CEOs and, in our case, studio executives don’t do any kind of work (except refusing actors their hard earned billions). You also seem to be of the (much more) deluded mindset that if the billionaire actors negotiate for more millions, then the rest of the people working on the movie will magically get more money as well (because Marvel will have learned the moral lesson that “being cheap doesn’t pay”).

        Here’s the reality, instead. For Marvel, the optimal scenario would be to lower the budget of a given movie as much as possible. If that wasn’t possible (or should I say “after they have done that”), then the next best move would be to keep it fixed. In that scenario, if the big stars can possibly step back a little from their sense of entitlement, then there will be a larger part of the budget left for people working behind the scenes. If this doesn’t happen, then any production company would avoid raising the budget – it would simply cut from the other expenses as much as possible to compensate the actors. Actually raising the budget would be the last thing they’d choose to do.

        That’s a shame and very bad of them (the production company), yes, but that doesn’t cancel out the fact that *a paycheck in the millions is in no way a low paycheck*. See that thing between the asterisks? That is the only point I’m trying to make. If you disagree with it, then your thinking is flawed. If you agree with that, then thank you and just ignore the premises.

        • “A paycheck in the millions is in no way a low paycheck.”

          And a paycheck in TENS or HUNDREDS of millions is a low one? Because, again, that’s what you’re advocating for the poor, poor studio management to pocket after lowballing everybody else.

          Let’s just say it’s more about the principle than the amount of money which you seem unable to look past. No employer should try to get away with underpaying their employees for hard work when the rest of the industry is treating them better.

          • You definitely have serious trouble understanding what you read, GG. Also, regarding your last sentence: it’s not because the rest of the industry is freewheeling regardless of the state of the world that everyone has to act the same.

            • “You definitely have serious trouble understanding what you read, GG.”

              I think you’re confusing your own problems with mine. Let’s just do the usual ‘agree to disagree’ thing, all right?

              I maintain that the artists are entitled to proper wages by industry norms regardless of which industry they’re working in and what their pay level is.

              You maintain that mega-studios are entitled to pay actors as little as they want and pocket the billions in profits, because you feel actors should earn the same as blue collar laborers.

              • Any company is entitled to pay whatever they want unless a union bullies them. Then the unions become worse than the big business and the corruption is like a disease. You obviously don’t understand how a free country works. This is why California is losing most major movie deals. States like mine, NC, offer the film studios cheaper taxes and no union stronghold and we are flourishing.

                If there is a big enough demand, they will pay them. When people invent something great or produce a good movie, they get rich. It’s the way it should be. What motivation would they have taking the risk if they have everything taken from them if they do strike it rich? It’s the basic problem with liberalism.

              • I’m not confusing anything. It’s not me who repeatedly put words in other people’s mouths. Once again, stop reading too much into our comments. It’s not because we don’t condone the actors’ greed that we advocate for the studios. They’re all the same filth in my book. If your binary way of thinking makes you unable to grasp what I’m saying, then you’re beyond any help.

          • Let me phrase this differently. I agree with the principle: The people who work on something should earn much more than they generally do. If something makes more money, the people involved should be paid more.

            I also agree with you that the money is never shared fairly. The executives keep way too much of the earnings. (Although one could justify it by saying they also take the risks, while an actor won’t have to pay if the earnings are negative and also by the fact that part of these earnings will fund the next installments.) Still, I agree, the executives take away way too much money.

            Where I disagree with the general sentiment is that the actors should be the ones getting higher compensation. All I’m saying is that there are thousands of people involved in the making of a movie and generally they deserve higher compensation much more than the actor, both because their work is important and because those people typically live on “normal” paychecks.

            The actors deserve higher pay too, if the movie is so successful, but they deserve it a lot less than the aforementioned behind-the-scenes people. Both because their paycheck is very high anyway (by normal standards) and because they are already very rich and don’t need that higher paycheck nearly as much as the former do (if at all). If those “anonymous” people were paid in the same orders, the actors would have to beg the executives to get even one half of their millions. If the executives are making huge profits at the expense of someone else, it’s mostly at the expense of those anonymous people, not the actors. Therefore, I’m not sympathetic to anyone’s sense of entitlement.

            Please, don’t bother to respond to me unless you respond exactly to what I’m saying and to nothing that I’m not saying. If you still feel that I’m rooting for the studios in any way, it means that what I’m trying to say is simply not getting across.

    • Ok but it takes true talent to act its not something you can learn, well if you try hard enough yeah, but the actors that are great are gifted with the ability to act. They deserve the money they get and I say this for one reason, take Chris hemsworth who plays Thor, you know hoe hard he has to work to keep his body that cut and thin throughout the 15 month filming? It’s a lot of hard work and discipline, and if you could hold up that healthy of a body for that long and be a gifted actor you would want that money also, they point is they work hard for what they get its not easy to be that strict with your diet and workout for that long, it’s basically a life style they have to take up for the whole filming process, I personally believe that they deserve the money since it is not something anyone can do.

      • Don’t mix the filming period with the whole production time. Unless it’s an epic saga shot back-to-back like Lord of the Rings, no movie takes that long to shoot. Also, I’m sorry but when so many people worldwide are still starving to death, no job is worth that much money, especially an entertainment job.

        • Thank god nothing you say matters. And just bc you say that anyone who disagrees with you is stupid doesn’t make it so. It actually shows you are the narrow minded one.

          • Sorry pal but I’m open to discussion when a discussion is actually possible. I’m not calling anyone who disagrees with me stupid but I’d be curious to know how YOU call someone who is presented with reasoned arguments and still sticks to his black-and-white narrow view.

  11. The simple fact here is that every other single actor in this project is replaceable except for RDJ. It can be reasonably argued that none of the expanded Marvel Movie Universe would have happened without the stunning success of the original Iron Man move, which most agree would have been signifigantly less so without Downey’s iconic performance.

    As the article correctly identifies, Downey is the face of the Marvel Universe and grants legitimacy to the process. Take him away and the whole house collapses, so I have no doubt that Disney is smart enough to protect their investment by paying the man what he’s worth.

    • No job is worth $70 mil for a few weeks’ work. Especially such a cool job. Give that sum to each miner, factory worker etc, then we can talk.

      • It’s not about whether the job deserves the amount paid, it’s about the return of investment. Which would you rather do, pay $70 mil to get back $1 billion, or pay $10 mil to get back $500 mil? The bottom line is that the franchise will make more money with Downey than without, even taking his inflated paycheck into account. Is also the reason why football owners pay the best players millions for just a few hours of field time, they get more money back from a high-salaried Super Bowl team than they do from a low-salaried team that can’t make the playoffs.

        • I would rather RDJ and every other star actor, singer, football player etc, to get real and lower their insanely obscene expectations.

          • So that the studio and its billionaire execs can pocket all the money. How much did they pay you to shill them?

            • I thought it went without saying that my opinion about insanely rich entertainers would be even more valid for insanely richer corporations…

              • Well, here it’s the entertainers vs a stingy mega-corporation. Between the two I’ll side with the former, thanks.

                • Between the two I’ll side with none, thanks. I prefer siding with the poor child dying of starvation, forced to steal or prostitute himself so that he can have a little something to eat every once in a while.

                  • How nice. As it turns out many of these overpaid movie stars(RDJ included) run foundations and donate millions or tens of millions to charity. The studios are generally nowhere near as generous.

                    Want to put your opinions where your convictions are? Then you should be siding with the performers. The studio just cares about its profit margins. The actors care about various social issues aside from their own paycheck.

                    • Jeez…


                      You really enjoy chasing your own tail, don’t you? Fine, I’ll leave you to your misplaced antics. See ya!

                    • You really enjoy getting the last word in, don’t you? I’ll leave you to your final insult then. Go on.

  12. Someday all the characters will be replaced with new actors. But the Stark character is so dynamic and witty compared to the other characters. I feel bad for the actor who ends up replacing RDJ as Stark. That individual will be lashed at even if he ends up doing a really good job. That individual will always have that shadow.

  13. I just wanted to say, Batman didn’t live through recasting.
    He lived through rebooting. Unless you’re talking about 80/90′s films and look how George Clooney’s batman went.
    I believe they should just write Stark out of the series and replace him with another hero. They don’t need to drag out this series with the same actor.

    • It’s not recasting that put Batman to death. It’s Joel Schumacher and the studio who wanted a less dark, more campy Batman than Burton’s. James Bond has been recast on a regular basis for decades and did well up until the recent reboot.

  14. Hollywood needs to change the formula. Actors get paid based on the returns.

  15. UGHH. Anyone who makes over a million dollars (or 50-80 million in this case) for a few months work and cries, can go straight to hell. It’s mean world out here, be thankful for what you have Robert. Not all ex-dope fiends make out so well :P (Not a personal attack, just the facts folks.)

    • Exactly. Thank you Simon.

      • I don’t know why people are bitching about peoples own pay checks their actors for f**ks sake that is standard figures for a successful movie. I understand that there are maybe 300 people that work on the movie other than the actors but they at most get maybe $75,000. It’s about the movie more than anything If the pie is big the payout should be fair compared the the total grossing.The fact that marvel refuses to pay more than that is the problem. Also, how much to they pay Stan Lee for using his Superheros? He dosen’t do sh*t for the movie he didn’t assist in writing, casting, or directing, and he probably gets more than the actors in speaking. Above all Marvel is at fault if RDJ would offer his payout to the actors that would be great seeing as he is the top attraction for these movies he should be more but it can’t be a movie with just him so treat and pay your cast better!

        • So, if “standard” figures for a successful movie are obscene, we should just shut up? I don’t think so. Millionaires have no right begging for more when the world is in such a derelict state.

  16. Terrence Howard didn’t do Iron Man 2 because he wanted to pursue a music something or other. Edward Norton didn’t do Hulk in Avengers due to a lack of creative control (and $). Any publicity is good publicity. People get excited over these vote-in talent shows, this is the same rigamarole with a billion dollar twist. Boo-hoo, these actors can’t get payed as much as whoever, get a real job and then complain about your narcissism. I wish I had their problems, as with several billion other people on this planet, Hollywood needs to get over itself, they play make believe and get paid for it while the ship is sinking.

  17. You guys are hypocrites, each and every last one of you.

    The fact that someone is in a different industry with a different pay grade as compared to you doesn’t make it any more fair for them to be underpaid.

    If your boss paid you 10% of what your peers in the same business earn would you be happy about it? Sure, you can try to justify it with ‘I make only $1000 a month! Not enough for my family boohoo!’ but then what if some minimum wage earner comes along and goes ‘That much? I make only 50 cents an hour! You’re overpaid, man, shut it!’ like how you’re acting towards these actors would you listen to him and shut up? No, I didn’t think so.

    • Oh, you again GG? After two weeks’ silence from you, I thought we were done with. Alright then, I’ll say it one last time since you seem to have trouble processing it through that thick skull of yours: the problem is not that these millionaire actors get slightly less millions working for Marvel than the other millionaires in this industry, the problem is that the whole lot of them are obscenely overpaid.
      Oh, and I believe minimum wage earners are seriously underpaid BTW, especially considering it is them who usually do the hardest work.

      Now, if you insist yet again on keeping your blinders and running in circles, you’ll have to do it alone because that’ll mean you’re beyond any help. I’m outta here.

      • Way to miss the point, but I guess that’s how you’ll always be from birth to death: A hypocrite.

        It all depends on the point of view. From the viewpoint of some Mexican laborer YOU’RE obscenely overpaid. But seeing how noble and generous you are(cough) you’d probably just go ‘F*CK YOU!’ if he told you to be happy with a pay cut at your work.

        It’s the same with these actors. In THEIR line of work they’re overpaid. Your skewed “I resent that they’re wealthier than me” viewpoint is as relevant to them as some poor kid in India’s views are relevant to a “damn wealthy American” like you. Nuff said.

        • *blank stare*

          Dammit. Alright pal, I thought I was done with you but I just have to reply to your nonsense once more. I can’t let anyone say I’m a hypocrite, especially you. You know, the pot and kettle thing…

          You don’t know me and you don’t know my income. You have no business assuming the extent of my wealth, my generosity or what I’d probably think given any situation.

          Funny you should tell me I’m missing the point when that’s exactly what you’re keeping on doing. Well, it would still be funny if you weren’t so relentlessly making it personal. You keep on mentioning my so-called skewed “I resent that they’re wealthier than me” viewpoint while, I say it again, it’s never been about me.

          Now I’m out for good. Have fun adlibbing in the void.

          • PS: I’m not American BTW.

          • And… that had no point beyond showing me that you have a desperate compulsion to get the last word in.

            I expect this ‘void’ I’m talking in will be filled once again very soon.

  18. Besides, Robert Downey Jr. has been in the business how long? He was on SNL back in the day, he brought acertain amount of respect to Iron Man that carried over to all the other movies, that was probably used by one of his lawyers during negotiations for sequels. One career move makes way for another, when it comes to these kinds of careers including sports and other entertainment industries, the inflated budgets to pay actors versus say different types of workers on a movie set is just as astronomical as the differences between salaries amongst actors. Each job has different labor intensities, but a fair wage for a fair days labor is completely different from lawyers and agents negotiating contracts based on billion dollar ideas. As long as the movies remain true to the source material, changing actors is like changing writers and artists on a comic book, but even that is confusing to readers in the middle of an event. I think they have the Screen Actors Guild to ensure fair wages, not too many of those agencies ensuring common workers’ wages, until acting jobs are outsourced to third -world countries, boo-hoo is all I can say about million dollar paychecks.

  19. Robert Forever!

  20. In fact when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other users that they will assist, so here it takes place.

  21. Okay well here is my thing about recasting… I will not watch a sequel that had different actors! That would really suck to; I am a serious fan and would hate to not watch the rest due to changing of actors!!! I understand about the money and it not being fair to the others.. But I love all their dynamics, and how it was casted!! I’m even like that with directors too!! So Mr. Whedon you have to keep directing too!!

    • So I take it you haven’t watched Iron Man 2 and 3, then? Or any other 007 than the first ones starring Sean Connery? What about Terminator 2? Aliens? Blade 2? The Wolverine? The Dark Knight? And considering characters look different depending on the artist who draws them, I suppose you haven’t read any comic book beyond the original artist’s run either?

      This is not serious, this is pathetically stupid.

      Keeping that stance of yours, if you plan on watching Avengers 2, you’ll miss a good chunk of the overall story since you won’t go see Captain America 2 and Thor 2. Oh, and you better make damn sure Whedon never uses War Machine/Iron Patriot, otherwise you’ll have to rip your eyes off for having seen Don Cheadle…

  22. I love The Iron Man Series & Avengers. The Today Show, today 8/27/2013 reported they are currently filming Iron Man 4. I think that may have been erroneous, and it’s the Avengers. I hope it’s Iron Man. Good for Mr Downey for supporting fellow actors. I do say all of the actors are over paid and it’s the true Heroes (cops, firefighters, and teachers) that should make bank!

    • We don’t even know yet if there’s gonna be an Iron Man 4. If it is to happen, it won’t be until after Avengers 2 anyway, so yes, this “news” is total bullsh*t.

  23. I was going through screen rant and this post is way overdue considering no ones spoken anything in a few months but I had to put this in here….

    First things first: I love RDJ as iron man. He’s become the staple that’s holding this team together, per se. The eldest of the actors in these films are the ones banking the biggest paydays, RDJ, Samuel L etc…look at it like this; there were 50 actors lined up to play Banner, Thor, Cap, Widow and the like. But RDJ was already iron man, not only that but he was the main guy in mind from the start for that role…RDJ is getting the biggest paydays because he’s the main attraction. In the Avengers comics it could be argued differently maybe, but the films are this way because of us, the viewing public. Were the ones that have decided to pay $12.00 to go and see iron man, and the decide to wait to see captain America on Netflix…it’s supply and demand, nothing more. The most sought after product gets more money. That being said, I will be upset if MARVEL’s put in a position where they hafta recast 3-4 roles because an actor like Evans wants 10 million and is only gonna get 4….that’d be a tad greedy in my eyes. Especially considering that the actor is already becoming immortalized through these films. The whole business is nuts, throwing around tens of millions in idle conversation. Any and all of it is going to appear greedy to most of us. But it’s being run as any normal business. Big dog gets the big piece of meat. If Avengers 3 is recast because they want to give RDJ 50 million, and hems worth and Evans or ruffalo feel that their payday is a little off and force fierce negotiations that could screw it all up, I think that they need to just feel grateful that RDJ has once again agreed to put “asses in the seats” enabling them to make anything at all to begin with. Greed. It will unravel a portion of this before it’s all said and done. It always does……

    • “The whole business is nuts.” ‘Nuff said!

  24. Aw, this was a very nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to
    generate a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

    • If you stopped reading outdated posts, you’d have more time… ;) RDJ is confirmed to have signed for Avengers 2 and 3.

  25. RDJ makes the studios too much money for them not to meet his needs. The movies will be made with him.

  26. After phase 3…..get him out.