SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
For years now, we’ve known that Robert Downey Jr. has made crazy money from his Marvel contract. RDJ’s contract was full of so many loopholes and backend deals that Marvel was forced to learn from the mistakes in his contract, and every other person who signs a Marvel contract will never, ever make “RDJ money” now. RDJ’s backend on Iron Man and Avengers films is so huge that he’s easily making $75 million or more PER FILM. But what kinds of deals do the rest of the Avengers have? Well… no worries, because they’re still getting paid. Massively.
After 22 movies and more than a decade, the gargantuan Avengers: Endgame was the last roll of the dice — or Infinity Stones, as it were — for several key characters. But figuring out which stars are staying in the fold at Marvel Studios or saying their final farewells isn’t as easy as a Thanos snap of the fingers. (Warning: Spoilers below.)
Take the fate of Scarlett Johansson, aka Black Widow. Her story arc is definitive in Endgame, but the actress who plays the spy heroine will be returning for a 2020 stand-alone film, earning a figure in the $20 million range for both starring and producing. Or Chris Hemsworth, i.e. Thor, who signed with Marvel for five movies in 2010, then renegotiated in 2017 for Infinity War and Endgame, putting himself in the $15 million to $20 million range and ready for the next phase of films. Captain America Chris Evans, who also had a five-picture deal, not including cameos, renegotiated in the same $15 million to $20 million range before meeting his fate in Endgame.
Meanwhile, the face of the franchise, Robert Downey Jr. — Iron Man himself since 2008 — had negotiated a unique financial arrangement with studio chief Kevin Feige that over the years resulted in massive paydays for the actor. Downey receives backend from the Avengers movies: Multiple knowledgeable sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor likely walked away from 2018′s Infinity War, which grossed more than $2 billion, with at least $75 million. Even in 2017′s Spider-Man: Homecoming, he received $5 million a day for three days’ work.
For other star deals, the math is changing. As the Marvel films have hit new heights at the global box office since Iron Man grossed $585 million worldwide, the studio is said to have raised the threshold for star bonuses. Several years ago, a bonus would kick in after the $500 million global mark, says an agent with insight into the dealmaking process. That threshold later became $700 million. Now, especially for Avengers movies, bonuses don’t kick in until the film hits at least $1.5 billion, this source says. (Marvel and the actors’ reps declined comment.)
Basically, errybody in Endgame is getting a bonus because that film is already making billions of dollars. I’m glad that ScarJo, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are getting paid too – I tend to believe that in Evans and Hemsworth’s cases, that’s why they eventually came around to playing their respective superheroes after feeling so much angst initially.
THR goes on to say that the second-tier Avengers are negotiating their own deals for the Disney+ streaming service miniseries. We know Loki/Tom Hiddleston is getting a series, but so are Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye). I imagine they aren’t getting ScarJo or RDJ money, but they will have substantial paychecks… with no backend.
Photos courtesy of Marvel & Avalon Red.