Forbes has revealed that Robert Downey Jr. is currently the 8th highest paid celebrity in the world, with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War nearly amounting to a jaw-dropping nine-figure salary.
Forbes has revealed that Robert Downey Jr. is being paid $80 million dollars for The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, and this most likely doesn’t account for the percentage of the box office he receives due to being one of the main players. That means he’s most likely bringing in over $100 million by portraying Iron Man in two Marvel movies — that’s quite a bit of cash for one actor.
Most would probably agree that he’s worth it, considering Robert Downey Jr. turned Marvel into a money-making machine in 2008 when Iron Man hit theaters, pulling in $585 million worldwide on a $140 million dollar budget. It also resurrected Downey Jr.’s career and re-made him a household name.
What’s ironic is he made essentially nothing for his role in the first film, reports suggest less than $250k, due to the cost of the insurance being so high for him to be the lead character of the film, because of his previous legal problems. His co-star, Terrence Howard, famously made more money than Robert did, but was replaced with Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2 when Robert’s salary was rightfully increased to between $6-10 million in 2010.
Then came 2012’s The Avengers, where Iron Man and the rest of Marvel’s superheroes joined together to create a massive blockbuster. The film would end up taking in over $1.5 billion dollars, and Downey was reportedly paid $50 million. This is when things started to get a bit crazy, considering actors like Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson were only getting between $4-6 million.
Chris Evans’ salary may be the more interesting story, as he had the most screentime in Age of Ultron, totaling 50 minutes. Iron Man had 45 minutes, but Evans was reportedly paid around $10 million for his role in the sequel. So, while Captain America was the lead character in The Avengers’ sequel time-wise, Iron Man was reportedly paid more than five times the amount — it’s starting to feel like Downey’s agent has some embarrassing photos of Marvel’s executives.
This brings us to Captain America: Civil War. With his character’s name featured in the title, you’d think Chris Evans would be getting paid the most, but he’s not. Downey Jr. will still be getting more than $40 million for his role in the film, and Evans’ salary is currently unknown, but we imagine it’s at least less than half of Downey’s.
What’s interesting is fans are starting to shift towards liking the other characters more as well. Fans have been very vocal about giving Black Widow her own solo film, and there was quite a lot of huffing and puffing when it was revealed that Iron Man would be infiltrating Captain America’s sequel. The Winter Soldier was such an excellent film, everyone couldn’t wait to see what the Russo brothers had in store for us next, but now Iron Man will be stuffed into the third Cap film, and it’s unclear if that’s going to end up being a good thing or not.
Both of Iron Man’s sequels have been panned, but we do think having Captain America square off against Iron Man in Civil War will be a very interesting story. The real question remains, is Downey’s enormous salary still worth it compared to what his co-stars are being paid?
It’s unclear for now, but The Winter Soldier holds a 92% fan rating on RottenTomatoes, while Iron Man 3 is at 79%. Maybe more people went to see Iron Man 3 because Disney gave it a higher marketing budget than The Winter Soldier, because there’s no question it’s a far better movie. But, as we know, quality doesn’t always equal higher box office numbers, which is what ends up being the most important number to the studios.
Robert Downey Jr. is definitely a massive draw at the box office for Marvel, but are some of his co-stars approaching his level of stardom? We can’t say for sure yet, but we have a feeling most would agree that his pay isn’t in proportion with his fellow superheroes any longer.