Now that Marvel has succeeded beyond everyone’s dreams and The Avengers is a billion dollar property, the real troubles are going to start for the franchise. People know just how much the movie made, but money is the problem. Deadline posted an excellent report on the monetary differences that are currently beset Marvel, and it sounds like there could be a divide between the cast and the executives.
The most expensive member of the cast is Robert Downey Jr. Downey was paid a staggering sume of $50 million to appear in the Avengers alone, and he’s expected to earn even more with Iron Man 3. He’s already netted $35 million and it appears that sum will grow the longer the film stays successful. Downey has already implied in various media outlets that he’s ready to retire the character, but he is currently negotiating with Marvel for the Avengers 2 and Avengers 3. Downey has a ton of leverage here since nobody wants to see him leave.
Along with the uncertainty of Downey Jr. returning for the Avengers 2 and any further sequels, there are also other issues of money with the rest of the cast. Deadline’s reporter mentioned how Chris Hemsworth was paid more for his role in Snow White & the Huntsman and he seemed to enjoy working for Universal more. Hemsworth is also currently unsigned for Avengers 2. Now there have been several times that Thor was absent from the team in the comics, but it wouldn’t be right for one of the Avengers’ golden trio to be missing after only one film.
However, Downey has apparently become a sort of big brother to the younger cast members and it sounds like he’s done his best to have their backs. Here’s a quote from an unnamed source in the Deadline article.
“He’s the only guy with real power in this situation, and balls of steel, too. He’s already sent a message that he’s not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like shit,”
Deadline also points out some previously unknown facts about just how stingy Marvel has been.
- The article points out that they were furious that Downey netted such a huge sum for The Avengers, even though he has been essential to their success thus far.
- They have only offered $500,000 raises for their leads for the sequels, and
- Apparently, both Bob Iger and Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn are scared of Marvel’s CEO, Ike Perlmutter, who is a notoriously frugal executive. Apparently, some representatives have appealed directly to Bob Iger of Disney to try and appeal to him on behalf of their clients, but Iger is staying completely clear on that issue. Perlmutter is Disney’s third largest shareholder, after The Steve Jobs Trust and George Lucas.
- Apparently, the real reason why The Avengers received only one Academy Award nomination was that they didn’t actively pursue a campaign because they thought it was too expensive. They still refused when Disney offered to pay for it!
This report is certainly a bit of a bitter wakeup call about just how much money is really wrapped up in this franchise. It’s easy to forget about just how important the money is when you’re focusing on seeing your favorite heroes and villains fight on the silver screen, but projects like this aren’t cheap, and there’s a lot of people who want a taste of the green.
The old proverb says that money is what makes the world go round. I guess it was a bit stupid to think superheroes were immune to that.
What do you think about this new information regarding the monetary disputes? Are you amazed that so much money is involved with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Why don’t you just tell us what you think in the comments below?