Robert Downey Jr. earned a lot in his time playing Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes Avengers: Endgame.
Robert Downey Jr. has been paid a lot for his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man over the years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including in Avengers: Endgame. Downey Jr. is the one to start the legacy with his film Iron Man in 2008, and since then, he has been a prominent figure in subsequent movies in the franchise. He’s one of the six core Avengers actors alongside Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremey Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo. Downey Jr. also heavily features in both Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. His character’s backstory and choices are central to the plot of these films, from the death of his parents to his creation of Ultron. It’s not enough to say that Downey Jr. as Iron Man is a very big part of the MCU.
Over the years, Downey Jr.’s pay on each Marvel film has fluctuated. While there is no definitive confirmation on how much he earned in his debut as Tony Stark in Iron Man, the rumored pay for his role in the first-ever MCU film is $500,000. In Iron Man 2, Downey Jr. allegedly negotiated for $10 million, with his price point hiking up to $50 million by The Avengers when including the back-end film profit. This impressive figure was upped some for Iron Man 3. His pay is said to be up to $80 million in Avengers: Age of Ultron, with his appearance in Captain America: Civil War garnering just a little bit below $64 million. Even Downey Jr.’s small part in Spider-Man: Homecoming was rewarded with $10 million. Finally, for Avengers: Infinity War, his earnings equate to a minimum of $75 million.
Likewise, Downey Jr. earned at least $75 million from Avengers: Endgame. Per Forbes, this breaks down to an upfront payment of $20 million and then an 8% back-end profit from the film rounding up to $55 million in monetary gain. Compared to Downey Jr.’s comparatively measly $500,000 from Iron Man, the evolution of his pay clearly showcases how integral his character became to the world built by Kevin Feige, as well as Downey Jr.’s role in successfully launching the MCU. This heavily reflects in his increased pay throughout the years and even more so when comparing each Avengers-titled film against another.
While his castmates have been well-compensated for their work within the MCU and helping Downey Jr. build the franchise, their earnings do not come nearly as close to that of the man who kicked things off. Evans reportedly earned $15 million for his time in Avengers: Endgame, with a similar ballpark for other Avengers veterans such as Hemsworth and Johansson. The disparity between these three’s earnings for the final film against Downey Jr.’s is somewhat surprising, especially considering Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff also meets her demise in Avengers: Endgame and is very important to the plot. Earnings for Renner and Ruffalo are currently not known, but one can imagine they don’t come close to how much Downey Jr. made for the film.
Why was Downey Jr. paid so much? Considering he was part of the initial launch of the franchise and its subsequent success, it’s only fair he reaps the rewards and benefits that come with all of that. His performance as Iron Man is a big part of the franchise’s world-building. With his work, Downey Jr. made a legend out of one of the lesser-known superheroes in Marvel comics, paving the way for others such as Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, and Black Panther amongst other names. His legacy will continue long after the death of Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame.
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