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"Yes, sir, Captain Tightpants."
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May 16 2012

Robert Downey Jr. 'Avengers' pay set to hit $50 Million. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Robert Downey Jr is set to earn over $50 million for being in The Avengers while the other actors will 'only' earn between $2 and $6 million.

Do we know what Joss made?
No, we don't know what Joss made or will make from the movie. That kind of thing is usually kept very very private and you will notice that this article about RDJ and others is mainly conjecture and guesstimation. I'm confident Joss was and will be paid very handsomely. It's not like he went into this without a manager, an agent and probably several lawyers.
The article mentions : "Forbes reported that director Michael Bay took home $80 million from the first Transformers."

Nothing about Joss in the article but i guess it all depends on Joss's contract.
I knew he was a big star, and deservedly so, but the percentage quoted surprises me.
We'll probably never know; unlike stars, the compensation directors receive is rarely publicly acknowledged, unless they're James Cameron or something.

But I bet it's closer to $2-3M than $50M. He probably got a modest flat upfront fee + nice bonus if the movie hit certain financial benchmarks. Of course, the movie hit ALL the financial benchmarks. And there is this (joking) comment:

Also, with my percentage of "the Avengers" gross, I can afford to buy... [gets call from agent. Weeps manfully. Resumes typing.] ...a fine meal. But REALLY fine, with truffles and s#!+.

If he returns for the sequel, he can and probably will ask for the moon. i.e. RDJ was supposedly paid only $500,000 upfront for Iron Man. When that movie became a huge hit, he re-negotiated for a much bigger piece of the subsequent pies.

[ edited by dottikin on 2012-05-16 09:40 ]
RDJ is a huge reason for the success of the Marvel films post-2008. He deserves it. I hate to see the day he decides he doesn't want to play Iron Man anymore. He owns that character.
Feige was recently pressured into saying they would recast if he left, which led Robert to confirm that he will never want to see someone else play Stark. Also: cray cray money.

(And finding out what Joss makes ruins that underdog status we like him to have!).
^Really? Because in my eyes, it would just be an indication for how many projects he could fund himself or how many could fail before he'd have to stop trying.
I'm old fashioned. Talking about money in public seems vulgar.
That's still assuming he uses his money for creative endeavors, which is a similar thing. I'm sure he gives a lot to charity, but it's still his money. He can do what he wants with it, and that includes building a multiplex in the backyard.
^Oh I know that. If he never funds anything with whatever money he has, that's fine too. But knowing that he wants to just write things and get them made (and thus self-funding them, at least to an extent), I'd be curious to have an indication of the spending money he might have. I'm not saying I'd exactly encourage someone to walk up to the man and ask him, but if a number for Avengers is floating around out there, I'd be interested in hearing about it.
50 Million? I highly doubt that. He will have gotten maybe 25 million max. He is a great actor and a big star but 50 million is really unrealistic. i dont think Maguire or Jackman got that much for their roles of Spider-Man and Wolverine.
I don't think you could really describe Joss as an underdog in financial terms. I remember reading he signed a 4 year $20 million TV contract in 2000 or 2001. I doubt Joss is getting as much as $10 million for the two years he spent on The Avengers.

[ edited by Derf on 2012-05-16 12:36 ]
A half percent on the gross right now = $50m. Not too much of a stretch that Downey negotiated that, although nobody foresaw a billion WW it seems.

Joss alludes to a bonus here

"If you can make 500% margins on “Avengers,” the studio will probably be pretty happy.

[Laughs] I might even get that bonus."

I think he might ;)
That seems like a lot for an actor, even by today's standards. RDJ plays RDJ very well, but really did he contribute that much to the Avengers?
*splutter*... Before I saw Iron Man, he was the least appealing character to me. I was mystified that they chose him to make a movie of. Then I saw it, and I got it. Immediately.

RDJ IS Iron Man, he brings the same draw to this character as he did Chaplin - even more so, and on a much wider scale, and that was absolute brilliance.

Just give Downey Jr. all the monies.
Downey had to seriously work at it to come back from his troubles. He had pay withheld during filming of Gothika in case he relapsed and had Mel Gibson insure him his first movie after he returned to the scene. After his drug problems were worked out, he never starred in a commercial success until Iron Man, so I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel Studios tried to go cheap. I mean, the guy was a huge risk, especially since Iron Man and Incredible Hulk were risks anyway. But his attitude and what he brought to the character ensured the success of an Iron Man franchise and confirmed to Marvel that they could roll with this - the public was ready. To do this, though, they needed Downey Jr. He launched the Marvel Studios franchise; along with hundreds of other talented individuals, sure, but he is the face of it.

Anyway, my point is, without RDJ, could Avengers ever have been a possibility? Sure, it's just really hard to imagine how. And if it takes $50 million to compensate the guy, go for it.
(And finding out what Joss makes ruins that underdog status we like him to have!).

This. It does kinda feel weird when you think that he has been a multi-millionaire since probably before he even made Buffy.
Talk about your one percent!
I read on IMDB that other actors under consideration were Clive Owen, Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage... But I can't even imagine those (especially Nick Cage) because RDJ made SUCH an iconic Tony Stark. So much so that he's basically implied to be the main character on the Avengers poster, even though it's an ensemble film.

Still, the rules behind Hollywood payroll tend to bug me. I feel like the actors who carried a comparable amount of screentime and central plot significance should be paid equivalently. I read in an interview that Sam Jackson doesn't even make much money off his films, but he does so many that it's irrelevant.
Hey! it is no surprise to me, it's Tony Stark!
@bivith - 1/2% of $1 billion is $5 millon Let's not get too carried away with how much the movie is making!
WhatsAStevedore - I typically would agree with you; same work - same compensation. But RDJ brought people into the theater. First, to give the guy America loved a second chance (the older members know what I mean), then to see Tony Stark again. Plenty of people went to see Avengers just for more of "Sexy Beams". And you can't ignore he has a hundred directors and producers bugging his agent with proposals just because a part was written with him in mind or just to get people in the theater. His name is what Marvel paid for.
Sigfodr Oh, I completely agree. He is accountable for many of the butts in those theater seats. I understand the rationale... that's just how Hollywood works. Bankability. That's why actors often get paid obscenely more to appear in their sequels. You're right, he probably does get a crazy amount of offers, but he has managed his comeback beautifully - he hasn't had a bad movie since his post-rehab return to the screen.

It does feel like it was written for him, no? I heard he improvised a lot of the dialogue. Not that I don't adore Gwyneth Paltrow, but it was a little obvious that Pepper Potts was written for Rachel McAdams.
The franchise wouldn't exist if Iron Man (and its sequel) hadn't been a success, so it's obvious that Marvel realized how crucial RDJ is to the entire Avengers movie franchise. OTOH, Sexy Bean-counting aside, there's a huge difference between net and gross points. Hollywood accounting is notorious for finding ways to make successful films look like losses on paper. Even if RDJ's deal is for points off the gross, there are lots of other fingers in the pie.
I was just sorry to see that Tom Hiddleston wasn't named in the 'people making lots of money' list in that article! I hope it was just an oversight. He did a fantastic job.
RDJ getting clean has been one of the most awesome things for the entertainment world. As long as he uses his money well, I don't care how much he makes.
lbowman, right?

I'm certain Hiddles, if he didn't THIS go-round, will make piles and piles any future time he's Loki.

He does what he WANTS!


Lol, at my maths fail.

5 points on the gross, then :)
In Hollywood it doesn't matter how good you are or how much screen time you have, it matters how well your lawyers negotiate. RDJ has great lawyers. That's why he gets the money. Lawyers. More power to him. He's a smart guy who thinks about the business side of the, you know, business.
I wonder if the sources for these numbers really meant, "between The Avengers, the past two Iron Man movies, and the next one... in the ballpark of $50 mil."
Personally I think he deserves it, he is making huge money for the studio and they owe him a substantial cut. The success of the first Ironman movie was because RDJ was amazing as Stark, and it was that success that led to Marvel being able to build toward making Avengers. If Robert Downey, Jr. hadn't ever played Ironman then I doubt if Avengers could have ever been made. And if RDJ had walked away and they had to recast Ironman? I think it would have been a fatal weakness: recasting the Hulk after two failed Hulk movies was a no brainer, it had to be done, but recasting Ironman? Who could possible bring the snark without seeming like a pale copy?

Now of course I think Joss is worth as much, but really Joss had only ever directed one film ever.... Marvel was really paying him a huge compliment by entrusting this project to him, he couldn't really hope to command the big bucks too!
Or, converted into storytelling currency, one and one quarter Serenity budgets. :0
I'm very uncomfortable knowing this. But happy for him anyway.

WhatsAStevedore - Pepper was written for Rachel McAdams?! ...I am so glad that didn't happen.

alice said:
That seems like a lot for an actor, even by today's standards. RDJ plays RDJ very well, but really did he contribute that much to the Avengers?

alice, if you really mean that RDJ merely plays himself, I'm assuming you don't know his work very well. He's not playing himself in Iron Man/Avengers. If anything, he's sort of playing Tony Stark in real life. And both of those performances are brilliant.
All I know is that RDJ was born to utter Jossian dialogue.
only 2-6 million. Wow, what a hardship:)
To be fair, rent is like really high here in LA.
I guess, what we really want to know, is that the humble writer is being looked after. Not that they're SO important...
I wonder what RDJ is payed for Iron Man 3 then :P 70 million? Or what he would earn on Avengers 2.

I wonder if RDJ has a higher salary then Bale on Batman
RDJ probably got a normal healthy/mega star salary upfront (maybe around $10m). The rest is because he has a great lawyer that worked it so he gets a portion of the profits. If these Marvel movies weren't wild successes he wouldn't be getting that kind of money. If the movies simply broke even he wouldn't see a dime in profits. And most of what he does get in profit participation won't be paid to him for years and years.

No one at Marvel agreed to give RDJ $50M in salary upfront to be in Avengers.
prettymaryk said:

alice, if you really mean that RDJ merely plays himself, I'm assuming you don't know his work very well. He's not playing himself in Iron Man/Avengers. If anything, he's sort of playing Tony Stark in real life. And both of those performances are brilliant.

Assume nothing, I know all of RDJ's work and I also know his ego. He was very talented before, during, and after his drug problems. Since his incarceration I have seen the same character in everything he plays. RDJ, plays RDJ is all I am saying. Oh and that I just think it is ridiculous that actors are paid so much for so little screen time. Just saying...

[ edited by alice on 2012-05-17 13:45 ]

[ edited by alice on 2012-05-17 13:47 ]
RDJ having little screen time in The Avengers? Then you and me havent seen the same film. And you´re acting like you know the man personally is dumb as hell. You dont know the man, you only know the celebrity. And Tony Stark sure as hell is not like everyone else he plays. Tony Stark is unique. Dont anger the Marvel fans like that
Spike the Avenger - Don't insult other posters, consider this your first and final warning.
I didnt insult anyone. I didnt say that she is dumb, I only said that I think pretending to actually know RDJ when you dont is dumb. There is a difference.

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