Marvel Cinematic Universe has had its hiccups throughout, no matter how seamless its journey appears to be now that it is by far the biggest film franchise in the world. One of its hiccups was the pay scale of the actors.
As per a Deadline report from 2013, Robert Downey Jr, easily the biggest star of MCU, was considering moving away from the role if Marvel Studios did not meet his salary demands. The report claimed that the actor had earned about $70 to 80 million from MCU’s first team-up movie, The Avengers, and was looking to exceed that after the huge success of Iron Man 3.
He hinted to Jon Stewart, then the host of The Daily Show, that he may think about retiring. “I don’t know. I had a long contract with them and now we’re gonna renegotiate,” he said.
Naturally, Marvel Studios could not afford losing likely the biggest box office draw for their movies and had to bow down.
While Downey Jr felt he was not paid enough, others were paid pittance in comparison for The Avenger. The report quoted an insider saying, “Some received only $200,000 for Avengers and Downey got paid $50M. On what planet is that OK?”
Thankfully, the Iron Man star was more than willing to stand-up for his castmates as well. A representative said he is the “big brother” for other, less experienced actors. He used his strong position to convince Marvel to pay the actors as per their talents, particularly when Marvel was raking in untold amount of money with each entry.
One source told Deadline, “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 s***.”
The article had specifically mentioned Scarlett Johansson and and Chris Hemsworth were not keen to return if they didn’t get their ask. “Marvel already has threatened to sue or recast when contracts and/or options are challenged. That prompted a few cast members to respond, ‘Go ahead.’” the publication wrote.