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It’s no secret that Robert Downey Jr is the highest paid member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Tony Stark, he kicked off the Iron Man franchise back in 2008 and laid the foundation for an entire world the Marvel heroes now inhabit. The real question is: who takes home the second most money when all is said and done? As it turns out, the answer to that question is a member of the MCU who hasn’t even gotten her own movie yet: Scarlett Johansson.
The salaries for Avengers: Age of Ultron have just been released, and they are incredibly telling. The rankings are as follows:
Robert Downey Jr. - $40 million
Scarlett Johansson - $20 million
Chris Evans - $6.9 million
Jeremy Renner - $6.1 million
Chris Hemsworth - $5.4 million
Mark Ruffalo - $2.8 million
While RDJ took home a whopping $40 million to don the Iron Man suit once more, Johansson came in second with a $20 million salary to portray Black Widow. After those two, however, the salaries reportedly drop considerably, with Chris Evans taking $6.9 million to portray Captain America, Jeremy Renner taking $6.1 for the role of Hawkeye, and Chris Hemsworth earning $5.4 to portray Thor, as per Comic Book Movie. Mark Ruffalo earned the least out of the major MCU players with a comparatively paltry $2.8 million; perhaps that’s why Hulk is always so angry. They say money is the big issue that couples fight about, so we’re wondering if Scarlett Johansson’s massive earnings played a role in Hulk leaving at the end of Age of Ultron.
It makes sense that Johansson would earn so much for appearing in the film. She’s a prolific actress with a strong resume even outside of the Marvel franchise. She also is one of the MCU’s oldest members, having made her debut appearance in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Despite never getting her own solo film, the actress has appeared as a supporting character in numerous other films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, making her a fundamental presence within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If nothing else, seeing Johansson’s earning should instill some degree of confidence in those who wish to see a closing of Hollywood’s gender wage gap. Jennifer Lawrence has notably spearheaded a movement for equal pay amongst actors in Hollywood – regardless of gender. The movement expresses concern over the fact that men can aggressively negotiate their contracts for appearing in films and be commended for their ability to make a deal, while women come across as "brats" for employing the exact same tactics. There's still obviously a long way to go until everything is fair in Hollywood, but it's nice to see Marvel rewards those who deserve it.
In the end, the lowest amount of money made by a headlining Avenger was $2.8 million, so we doubt anyone was really complaining. Despite not getting her own solo adventure yet, Scarlett Johansson and her character Black Widow have become essential to the very fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and her earnings most certainly show it.