Math isn’t my strong suit. But I can understand enough about the above chart to realize that Robert Downey Jr. made a butt-load of money for basically the same amount of screentime as his Avengers co-stars … and that’s helping me realize why Marvel’s having such a hard time buttoning up cast members while working out contracts for future superhero adventures.
The chart was shared via Imgur, and is in response to a lengthy Deadline article detailing the state of negotiations between the flush Marvel Studios and its stable of superhero stars. (A report that Joss Whedon recently shot down, in part.) As you can see via the chart, Robert Downey Jr. earned the $50 million that has been reported in multiple sources – and confirmed by the star. And the rest of the Avengers earned anywhere between $2- and $6 million for their contributions, with Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson presumably receiving more cash for helping build out the Marvel Cinematic Universe in previous films.
Is this what the Avengers cast agreed to? Yes. They signed the contracts. And while Jeremy Renner has griped about how his character, Hawkeye, was used in the movie (receiving only 12.44 minutes of screen time), he has to be happy with his financial compensation.
But you also can understand why the cast is banding together to seek a little more balance from future Marvel movies, leading to ongoing negotiations that – sadly – are taking place in public more than Marvel probably would like. The Avengers 2 is happening, and it will be in theaters in 2015. Who will be in it, and how much they will be paid, is still a bone of contention in the MCU, and one we’ll continue to track as Marvel paves the way for Phases Two and Three.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.