Robert Downey Jr. to Earn $50 Million from ‘The Avengers’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 23rd, 2013 at 9:49 am,

The Avengers is smashing box office records left, right and center – making a lot of money for Marvel, Disney and Paramount Pictures. The $220 million budgeted adventure (at the time of writing) is closing in on $400 million at the domestic box office and it has already racked-up over $1 billion dollars at the global box office.

Now, stop for a minute and think about how much of that money goes to the stars of the movie. If you’re Robert Downey Jr. then you could be looking at $50 million… minimum.

The Iron Man star is set to score a proverbial king’s ransom for the movie, much more than his co-stars, who will be getting significantly less. Marvel is famously known for “low balling “ talent when they’re negotiating deals for their superhero films – Mickey Rourke was offered just $250,000 for his role in Iron Man 2 – however, the studio does seem to be lavishing cash on Downey Jr. Following the success of Iron Man in 2008 (it banked $585 million worldwide); the actor’s agents renegotiated his deal so that he would receive profit participation in any future movies where he played Iron Man – allegedly 5 to 7 percent of the box office gross. It must have seemed like a sweet deal then but even sweeter now when the grosses are doubled.

The rest of the cast aren’t so lucky. Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson are said to be scoring an estimated $4 – 6 million apiece – once their upfront fee and box office bonus is combined. It’s still a lot of cash, but nothing compared to that of Robert Downey Jr. Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo will probably bank around $2 – 3 million each for their work on The Avengers. Again this is serious money – but not much when you take into account the billions of dollars the film will make once other ancillaries are added.

Usually, studios prefer not to give away any “first dollar points,” meaning that if a film makes, say $100 million at the box office, a “first dollar” person will score a percentage of that number. They usually prefer to pay out “net points,” meaning that the person will only get paid once it goes into profit after all deductions and costs have been taken away. Coming to America writer, Art Buchwald once famously filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures after the studio claimed that the Eddie Murphy starrer hadn’t made any net profit-even though it grossed $288 million worldwide. In 2010 Warner Bros, claimed that Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix was still $167 million in the red, after it had grossed $938.2 million globally.

Those who do manage to get first dollar gross participation often reap rich dividends. Johnny Depp is said to have made $250 million from the four Pirates of the Caribbean films, Michael Bay made $80 million from the first Transformers, while Jack Nicholson pocked $60 million for 1989’s Batman and Tom Cruise regularly takes home $75 million for his Mission: Impossible role.

They say that money makes the world go round. Well, it certainly keeps things going in Hollywood.

Source: THR

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  1. While i do find understandable the part of not giving extra money to the actors I don’t think it’s quite fair to pay 50m for Robert, he might be the most popular whatsoever but if you look at the numbers this basically implies that he’s worth like x23 times more than CA, Thor. So I’ll stick with the statement previously said, they should had of distribute the money on ALMOST equal parts among the actors with Robert being the most paid if you please, but not such a big gap among the pay numbers…

    • He got paid more, not because he was more popular, but because he already had a deal with marvel or whoever stating that he will make a certain percentage of revenue in the movie. So his base salary probably would have been in the 5-10 million range had he not had this contract before the movie was started.

    • It’s not about fairness, it’s about being in the industry, knowing his worth and having good agents, Marvel has billions from the franchise, so those are crocodile tears Marvel is shedding.

  2. Robert Downey Jr has worked in Hollywood his entire life, even after multiple Oscar noms and awards, he never was able to captalize on his popularity until Iron Man, and his success made the MCU possible. If he had not been able to get a front end deal at this point, he should have sued his agents! Let’s not cry over Marvel (or anyone saying) oh he’s paid too much, put yourself in his shoes, would you say, oh no, I’ll just take what you give me. No one is even considering the REAL CASH COW here, MERCHANDISE – the actors have their likenesses all over everything, and they don’t get a single penny, not even RDJ.

    What RDJ is doing is using his leverage for more films to get more compensation for his fellow Avengers, and advising Chris Evans for one, to stick to a 6 picture deal instead of going for the 9 or 12. No one in their right mind should suggest one actor getting his worth means the others are worth less.