Spider-Man: Homecoming may have starred Peter Parker, but it was Tony Stark's actor who got paid the real big bucks. Robert Downey Jr. of course first earned fame in the 1980s in comedies like The Pick-Up Artist and Weird Science. Today, RDJ's known mostly as Iron Man in Marvel Studios' non-stop juggernaut MCU franchise, a blockbuster steamroller that was kicked-off with Downey's first solo Iron Man film, released in the bygone era of the aughts, more specifically 2008.
At the time, Downey, Jr. hadn't had a big hit in quite some time. His then most-recent well-known film was the Shane Black thriller Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang; the title itself a James Bond riff, the movie was about a two-bit crook who finds himself in Hollywood and teamed up with a P.I. trying to solve a murder mystery. It was critically well received but did lackluster box office. The lack of big hits for RDJ had Marvel understandably hesitant about featuring him in what was going to be, and indeed became, their flagship superhero franchise. The movie earned over $500 million worldwide. Since then, the Marvel franchise has continued to grow, with budgets and cast ever expanding in picture after picture. So what does arguably Marvel's biggest movie star make per film?
According to Variety, RDJ earned $10 million just for his supporting role in last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming. The role, which cast Tony Stark as a mentor and ersatz father figure to teenage hero Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, gave him only a little more screen time than the Aliens in Covenant. Approximately 15 minutes of time onscreen is the total for Downey's character, both in and out of his metallic costume.
While the Variety piece doesn't detail RDJ's take for the Avengers films, it has been previously reported that he was expected to be paid $200 million for the recent Infinity War installments and made $80 million for Iron Man 3 -- and all of that is before his profit participation kicks in. The same report stated Downey made a cool $40 million for his featured supporting role in Captain America: Civil War, the third installment in that franchise.
Avengers: Infinity War, the third film in the superhero team-up series, has broken box office records, and a continuation of that story in a fourth Avengers film is due out May 2019. Downey's current commitment to the Marvel Universe is expected to end with that next movie. What his, or Iron Man's, role will be in the Spider-Man sequel, which will be released just two months later, remains to be seen.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019