There’s no denying the increase in the box-office of Marvel Studios movies. Over the last few years, the average amount earned by each movie has steadily gone up. Four out of their last five releases (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame) were billion dollar grossing movies, with the three before them (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok) topping $800 million. This increase in box-office revenues has come at an unexpected price for the studio thanks to stars negotiating backend deals to take home a percentage of the movie’s earnings.
THR reported that stars like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth successfully renegotiated their deals to earn in the range of $15 – $20 million per movie. Robert Downey Jr. on the other hand, stuck a bigger one with Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige to earn significant backend participation should the movie surpass a certain amount. According to THR, this deal could’ve let Downey Jr. take home as much as $75 million in salary for Avengers: Infinity War. While that’s a small amount compared to the $2 billion that Infinity War made worldwide, it’s still a significant chunk out of the movie’s profit and budget. THR also reports that Downey Jr. earned $5 million per day for his role in Spider-Man: Homecoming for which he shot for a total of three days.
To that end, Marvel Studios has supposedly upped the box-office threshold past which it will start paying out bonuses to actors in the form of backend participation. That threshold has increased from $500 million to $700 million for non-Avengers movies, and to $1.5 billion for Avengers movies. What this means is, an actor securing such a deal with only earn their stipulated share of the box-office earnings and bonuses once the movie crosses these specified limits. This should hopefully keep Marvel’s inflating budgets in check; both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame cost a fortune to make with an estimated budget above $350 million each.
The next phase of the MCU should look to be relatively exciting considering how little is officially known about it. We’re working on a piece covering the upcoming developments expected in the MCU (although you can already find several out there online). Meanwhile, part of this report makes me wonder if that’s the true reason Marvel decided to give Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man the fate it did.