‘Avengers 2’ Salary Standoff to Pit Robert Downey Jr. Against Marvel

Avengers 2: Robert Downey Jr. Salary

With “Iron Man 3” already collecting $711 million at the global box office in its first two weeks, the question everyone wants to know the answer to is not only “when” but “if” Robert Downey Jr. will suit up as Iron Man for the planned sequel to “The Avengers.”

Though Downey would appear to have a lot of leverage when negotiating a new deal to star in “Avengers 2,” given the original pic grossed $1.5 billion worldwide, Deadline Hollywood reported Tuesday that the star and cast of the pic could be in for some hard-fought negotiations in the coming months. Marvel hopes to start production next year for a Dec. 2015 release.

Negotiations have not yet begun, and most of the cast were already in place for a sequel as part of their deals for the first film and previous Marvel projects. But Downey has hinted in numerous interviews, including a recent segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” in which he says his days of playing Tony Stark are over. He also added that if he were to return, he made clear he wasn’t about to take a pay cut.

But Downey could opt to move on, forcing Marvel to replace him. Marvel co-president Kevin Feige has said publicly he would replace Downey if need be.

SEE ALSO: ‘Iron Man 3’ Earns $175 Million Opening Weekend

If Downey walks away from “Avengers 2,” that could in turn spur a new round of renegotiations for the remaining cast, though they would not have much leverage considering whoever replaces Iron Man will not get close up to what they got from the previous installment.

And if Downey doesn’t suit up this time around, that doesn’t necessarily leave much room for renegotiation for other “Avengers 2” cast members, either. Marvel has imposed a hard line on this front in the past; when Terrence Howard held out for more money after the original “Iron Man,” Don Cheadle was brought in to replace him.

Most insiders believe it would be very tough to have anyone fill Downey’s shoes given how important he was not just to “Iron Man,” but to sparking other Marvel franchises in general. But the same could also be said when Andrew Garfield was asked to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker after Maguire had built a billion-dollar “Spider-man” franchise.

For all the attention the Downey-Marvel faceoff is getting, this really isn’t an anomaly as studio-star negotiations go these days. When the contracts for the main cast members of “The Hunger Games” were being negotiated, most of those main players were receiving quotes of $1 million or less upfront, with a lot of emphasis being put on the back-end results.

When the pic became a smash hit, the cast returned to the negotiation table expecting more money upfront. Lionsgate didn’t put up much of a fight; most of the cast came out with a higher quote including Jennifer Lawrence, who raised her salary from $1 million upfront to $10 million.

But at this negotiation table, Iron Man may find Marvel has nerves of steel.

VIDEO: Downey Jr. Talks ‘Iron Man’ Future With Jon Stewart

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 51

Leave a Reply

51 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. voldo2006 says:

    Dump him already and get a replacement. The problem with these actors is that they get a big head when it comes to these comic roles. I don’t care if Ironman was a “D” type of character. Actors think they can’t be replaced. Turn him into another Tobey Maguire.

    If he’s willing to ripoff his friend Terrence Howard, that should tell you what type of person he is.
    http://screenrant.com/why-terrence-howard-didnt-return-for-iron-man-2-salary/

    • Fred says:

      Well you’re suggestion is over a year too late seeing that RDJ is signed on for 3 more movies now. Even if you don’t care that Iron Man wasn’t an “A” list hero before you can’t argue the fact RDJ has elevated this character on the big screen, he just has and that speaks volumes my friend. Now if rumors are true about RDJ negotiating for the rest of the cast to get salary increases as well with their blessings from what I hear, than you can’t argue about unity among actors like that. Now I’ve heard Howard’s claims and perhaps he’s right, but when you’ve heard one side and not the other side of the coin it’s foolish to jump to conclusions and believe everything before you hear all the facts.

  2. RJ says:

    All actors have enormous egos when they become popular! Downey needs to remember he was flat broke before Iron Man 1. I hope he doesn’t allow his ego to tank the rest of his career, as has happened to so many other actors. 1 thing is for sure, Marvel will do fine without him, but these guys get it into their heads it will fall without them, making them believe in their heads they’re invaluable. History tells us all, they’re not! Just ask guys like Toby Maquire and Edward Norton how easy it is to be gone and forgotten.

    • Fred says:

      Marvel probably would indeed do well without ‘RDJ’ in the long term, but in the short term they would be screwed without him. You have to remember that ‘RDJ’ has taking what was considered a ‘B’ level character in ‘Tony Stark/Iron Man’ and has brought him to ‘A’ level status along with the likes of ‘Spider-Man’ & ‘Batman’. Yes ‘RDJ’ should definitely be grateful to Marvel, but it goes the other way as well my friend, remember that.

  3. Carly says:

    I am pretty sure Robert Downey Jr. said he’ll do it. He’s a main guy. They CANNOT recast his character. They did that with Mark Ruffalo’s character and he’s the best guy out of the ppl before him. Still, Robert Downey Jr. is the BEST Tony Stark/Iron Man Marvel’s got. It would be a mistake on their part to replace him!

  4. Ms Belinda says:

    Tony stark I’d a main character, and it is going to be virtually impossible to trade Downey for anyone. I believe the film will lose money as a result of not negotiating with Downey. if Downey wants to negotiate his contract no matter the reason, they should. He is very valuable to the movies success.

  5. junjou05 says:

    “Marvel co-president Kevin Feige has said publicly he would replace Downey if need be.” Lol, just try it. Even with a good poker face, I’m gonna call your bluff on the franchise being ok if you re-cast. RDJ is practically carrying this franchise on his back. You lose him, you lose a lot of fans and their money. The whole Spider-Man thing doesn’t even compare. I never even liked Tobey in the role that much, didn’t think he captured the character fully. RDJ on the other hand EMBODIES Stark to a T. As someone mentioned earlier, it was ok re-casting Hulk because it was done early. But RDJ has been Stark for so long and is so well established already that it’d practically be suicide to try to replace him right now.

    • Ms Belinda says:

      And I agree for the comment, It would be suicidal to try and replace Downey, I live him as well, and I am a huge fan!

    • Fred says:

      Yeah Feige may consider himself a hardass, but he’s not stupid or crazy. That’s talk and nothing more.

  6. gdug says:

    Robert Downey Jr. needs to take a step back and remember those days when he was a strung out druggie. Hollywood gave him a second chance. You make movies buddy. You don’t work on the side of freeways for Caltrans where real work is being done. Take what you can get and shut your pie hole.

    • Fred says:

      I get what you’re saying, but dude ‘RDJ’ is past those get what you can get paydays, be serious and think man. Yes Marvel took a chance on him, but Jon Favreau is the real person to thank, hell he had to talk Marvel into giving ‘RDJ’ a chance, because they wanted no part of him, so keep that in mind. And ‘Downey’ is one the biggest reasons these Marvel studios films are where they are today, so show the man more respect than that. To be honest I think both ‘RDJ’ and Marvel should be grateful to each other, dig what i’m saying. But perhaps a reasonable deal can be worked out between both sides, which I believe will end up happening most likely. Another thing you didn’t mention that you must keep in mind, ‘RDJ’ is also negotiating on the behalf of his fellow cast members in “Avengers’, and they all seem to have each others backs from what I can tell. To me that’s highly commendable and shows true loyalty and teamwork, I guess they really are assembling, lol.

  7. Fido says:

    I thought Terrence Howard wasn’t after MORE money, instead he objected to his salary being dropped from $7mill for the first one to ~$1mill for the second (or something like that).

    • Fred says:

      Yeah I heard that rumor, don’t know how true it is. If that’s true Marvel won’t be able to pull low balling crap like this now, these characters and actors in the roles that play them have gotten too established and become too beloved by the general audience for Marvel to simply think they can replace them. Marvel is good, but even they’re not that special to pull off something like that now and survive, they’re just not.

  8. Look here’s the way I see it! Disney, who owns Marvel Comics, have nothing to complain about with the success of The Avengers & the on-going success of Iron Man 3! As being the greediest corporation on the face of this Earth, they can afford to give Robert Downey Jr. & all the returning cast members all their demands! No matter how big the budget & the concessions made at the negotiation table, they will “catch lightning in a bottle” with this great cast returning for The Avengers 2! Do the right thing Disney! because if you re-cast key roles because of your “sense of business”, you will lose!
    So do the right thing for everyone!!!!

    • Fred says:

      Krishna I could not agree with you more, Marvel has to pay up now, it’s that simple. They have been a great company since they’ve opened up shop to film their own films exclusively in ’08, and they have made a ton of money since then. They have also be known to underpay their actors. When the company was breaking into the movie business that strategy was fully understood by me, but now that they’re a powerhouse company back by an even bigger powerhouse like Disney, it’s time for them to come up out of them pockets and share the wealth a little more. Obviously ‘RDJ’ is getting the biggest paychecks and rightfully so, but his cast members need to be shown a little more love by Marvel as well. I believe in the end it will all work out and Marvel will pay up, hell even with all the pay increases Marvel will continue to rake in the big cash. “IM3” has shown a huge increase in it’s box office take, and “Thor: TDW” & “CA: TWS” will as well, all of those films are going to reap the benefits of post box office bumps from “The Avengers”. And “Avengers 2” could very well end up topping 2 billion worldwide in my honest opinion.

  9. Ty Brn says:

    anyone can be ironman, hell their has been 4 different Bruce Banners, 2 Steve Rodgers, 3 Frank Castles, and 2 Peter Parkers

    • fred says:

      In the long run a few years down the road yes. If you’re saying Marvel could replace ‘RDJ’ right now before “Avengers 2” and not take big hit, you could’nt be more wrong. Marvel will obviously survive in the long run without ‘RDJ’, but not today as we speak.

  10. John says:

    I think Ed Quinn would make a great mature Tony Stark.

  11. Daniel Fisher says:

    I was a Marvel Fan before most of you kids were even a gleam in your mother’s eye. Shoot your momma was probably not even born back then. As for IM agreed RDJ IS IM.”Nuff said on that. As for Spidey, after seeing Garfield play him, Maguire can’t hold a candle to him. Garfield caught the very essence of Spidey, and Gwen Stacy was played exactly like the comics. And with The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver coming into Avengers 2 all kinds of scenarios can be played out.

    • Emilio says:

      You’ve gotta be kidding… Garfield has the essence of Spidey.. I THINK NOT… Spidey is not an angry hero who stops bad guy just so he can cut loose to rid himself the the deep negative emotion he holds and Peter Parker is certainly not a loner anti-social skateboarder….. and if you tell me the new Spider-man is more par of the comics then the original movies then I know your NOT a marvel comic reader because aside from him having web shooter instead of organic shooter the story has been twisted to the point of being unrecognizable to the comic source..

  12. Bruce Fienstein says:

    Just use James Franco to play Tony Stark, he looks like Tony in a pencil-thin mustache.

  13. Rachel says:

    RDJ IS Iron Man, hands down. I love Tony Stark because of Robert’s brilliant acting. If he’s replaced then I’ll not be going to see Avengers 2.

  14. Think it’s great! That DISNEY — NOT MARVEL — is on the hook for these increases! Now,, do I believe that any number of past and current HWD stars are worth huge paychecks? No. Like I feel with producers, directors and stars wanting big money up front and huge gross points: not one is worth it. Not…one. Successful movies result from tons of talent coming together. Do I like seeing another multi national global corporation known as…DISNEY…being raked over the coals? Goddamn ass right I do. Especially after their recent lower level personnel layoffs while their top dogs of bullshit are kept on and given millionaire bonuses.

  15. Spirit Equality says:

    The storyline I see Marvel going with if they lose Downey is having “Iron Man” get killed in the opening sequence and the film being about avenging him. Don Cheadle/War Machine would take his place in this scenario (although having Pepper suit up to avenge him would be even more awesome). The first film was an ensemble piece, removing Downey still leaves a lot of great scenes/character interaction. I think Pepper will have to play a larger role just to replace the “ordinary person POV” that Agent Coulson provided in the first film. I expect Ant-Man to be brought on, since his film is coming soon from Marvel and he will need to be introduced to audiences.

  16. Mol says:

    I just g0t paid ($)6784 w0rking 0ff my lapt0p this m0nth. I was shocked when my neighbor told me she was averaging ($)95 per h0ur, and she convinced me to try. Without any doubt, it’s the easiest and most financiaIIy rewarding j0b I’ve ever had. Here’s what I’ve been doing Rich4.Com_

  17. “including a recent segment on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” in which he says his days of playing Tony Stark are over” When does he say this? He said they were negotiating. I watched it twice, did I miss something? Or are you just doing that journalist thing where you are just stirring up the hornet’s nest? I can respect that. But no where in that interview did he say “My days of playing Tony Stark are over.”

    • Cliffhanger77 says:

      That’s true — in fact, on Jon Stewart he seemed rather upbeat when mentioning the negotiations. I never saw any moment in that interview when he said his days of playing Stark are over — far from it.

  18. Mystisith says:

    Oh, come on… I believe like everyone else that RDJ was perfect for IronMan. But let’s be honest: They don’t even need to find a new actor for the part. They can release a new Avenger movie with brand new superheroes and people will go to see this in mass because they want superheroes. Period.
    No one is irreplaceable in that industry, Studios are into cost killing and viewers just want to have fun. Do the math.

    • Fred says:

      At this time “RDJ” is pretty damn irreplaceable dude, no matter what you say man. I as well as many fans knew who ‘Iron Man’ was way before the film ever existed, but the general audience basically did not know who ‘Iron Man’ was before ‘RDJ’ portrayed him in the movies. No one actor in the history of comic book films has ever elevated a superhero so much and you know it. Before the movies ‘Iron Man’ was considered a B-Level hero by many, and now he’s up there with ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Batman’ & ‘Superman’ when it comes to popularity. And globally no singular superhero film has ever grossed as much, so don’t tell me that has nothing to do with ‘RDJ’s’ presence, because it has absolutely everything to do with him.

    • Eric says:

      Oh please, like Thor 2 or Captain America 2 will make $170 million dollars on opening weekend… Iron Man is the main attraction; more importantly, Robert Downing Jr. is the main attraction. Plain and simple Avengers would not be Avengers without Iron Man and Iron would not be Iron Man without RDJ

      • Fred says:

        “Thor: TDW” & “CA: TWS” definantly won’t be making 170 million their opening weekends, but a 100 million opening weekend for both films is certainly possible.

      • Cliffhanger77 says:

        That’s ridiculous. Plenty of superhero movies fail. People don’t want “superhero movies,” anyway – they want movies with a heart and wit and an actor they love and a great story, and if those stories happen to be about superheroes, then so be it. Hollywood is littered with superhero movies that tanked, and superhero concepts that never got off the ground. In the “Iron Man” movies, you have a once-in-a-lifetime conjunction of an attractive story and an actor who was born to play the part, and who injects all of it with his wit and joie de vivre. Iron Man without RDJ is unthinkable, and any ensuing Iron Man movies not starring him would go down in flames. And no Avengers movie without Iron Man (and RDJ as Iron Man) would be any kind of success.

  19. Cara says:

    Tf oh no! I will be one pissed off bitch if Robert is not Iron man I will be done!

  20. Leo says:

    Actors who would be disastrous to replace right now:
    Robert Downey Jr
    Tom Hiddleston

    If Marvel has to choose between outright replacing those actors or putting their characters on a bus, they’d be wise to choose the bus. They look like they’re choosing the bus for Stark, judging by the ending of IM3, which is also risky since RDJ puts asses on seats. And if Marvel find themselves forced to fork over more money for actors from the Thor franchise, Tom Hiddleston is more irreplaceable than Chris Hemsworth, who isn’t actually that big of a draw by himself. Hemsworth cannot carry a movie the way RDJ can – big-name actors who signed up for the first Iron Man did so because they heard RDJ was involved, but big-name actors who signed up for Thor did so because Kenneth Branagh was involved (Natalie Portman specifically said that she signed up without needing a script first, just because it was Branagh).

    Avengers was a large ensemble movie and I understand that Marvel can’t give EVERYONE the money they gave RDJ, and I understand that Marvel has made SOME of them big names overnight (like Clark Gregg, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston), and although I also understand that Marvel could replace some of these actors and do just as well, if they overplay their hand and try to nickel-and-dime them too much they’ll find all of their casts refusing to return for Avengers 2. And you can’t just replace entire casts without rebooting a franchise, which they definitely should not do (people are getting sick of reboots).

  21. ellie55 says:

    To be honest I haven’t seen the last Spiderman movie at all, reason being it’s not Tobey, and if they use someone else as iron man I won’t watch it either, I have three boys, and they feel the same as I do, we like the original it just feels right.. My boys favorite super Heros are iron man, and Spiderman.. So please pay Robert what he wants and give us fans what we want to see..

  22. Michelle says:

    I have to say that as a 30-something female, these types of movies are not particularly my interest … EXCEPT for Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. I didn’t want to watch the first Avengers movie, but as soon as he was on the screen, doing his thing, I got excited and had to watch. He’s just that fascinating as the character. If they had to negotiate with one person in this franchise, he’s it. He is the Marvel franchise.

    • viki says:

      I totaly agree I havent seen new spider man eighter its just not the same when they replace the main actor!! If they do that with the iron man it will never be the same… I love RDJ playing Tony Stark he is just made for it! So mad at marvel :/

    • jugdish says:

      I’m the same (though late 20’s female)
      Its RDJ and IM that sucked me into the Marvel universe, and although I do enjoy the other movies and will go see them purely as they are Marvel Studios movies, I can guarantee I wont be rushing out to see them if RDJ goes. I’ll happily wait for home release or rent them.

      As another poster said, RDJ and HIddleston are the big draws and if either go I’ll probably walk away from their respective movies and maybe even the MCU as a whole if both go.
      The only reason I went to see Captain America in theatres was because I’d seen Hiddleston and RDJ’s prior’s. I’ll def be less likely to bother if my fave stars leave.

  23. L says:

    Robert Downey Jr is Ironman

  24. cris says:

    noo i dont think “iron man” would be the same withough downey =/

  25. Donatello says:

    Couldn’t agree more. People keep acting like DC couldn’t come by and squash Marvel…well the only thing really in the way is RDJ. This guy is Marvel’s ace in the hole. Without him they are screwed. Yeah they’ll still be making a bunch of money but c’mon, like I said before the first IM came out…he IS IRON MAN. Without him …its just a bunch of people no one cares about ruining our favorite characters.

  26. “But the same could also be said when Andrew Garfield was asked to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker after Maguire had built a billion-dollar “Spider-man” franchise.”

    Nah. Not even close. Without Downey’s charisma and ability (not to mention his improv abilities), IM 1 is garbage; Tony Stark has been re-written AS Robert Downey Jr. Raimi’s films were good regardless of McGuire (okay, not the third), sometimes even in spite of him. Raimi built the Spidey franchise; the entire Marvel film universe was built on Downey’s back..

  27. Exactly considering hes just got his career back on track after what…less than a decade. Shit i like RDJ but hes got alot to learn.

  28. Nic says:

    Just proves yet again just how much actors value $$ above all else. This man doesnt need the amount of $$ he’ll prob get for A2. This just makes him sound like a greedy a–hole.

    • junjou05 says:

      He’s fighting to help his co-stars. To want to help and stay loyal to your friends is commendable. Ya, they make a ton of money, even without the raise, anyways. But you can’t deny that Marvel is notoriously cheap and continuously lowballs actors.

    • According to reports, a good part of it has to do with how Marvel is treating the other Avengers stars.

      • Richie says:

        SPIDEMAN NEW ACTOR: OKAY
        SUPERMAN NEW ACTOR: OKAY
        BATMAN NEW ACTOR: OKAY
        IRON MAN NEW ACTOR: HELLL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
        NO IRON MAN WITHOUT RDJ!!

  29. EK says:

    Been several Batmen and Supermen too, but for different reasons. Franchises thrived all the same, largely because of the directors of the films and their visions.

    • junjou05 says:

      Ya, but in the case of IronMan, it’s not the directors and their visions. It’s RDJ and his version of Tony Stark. The director changed for IM 3 and I forgot that when I went to see it. As soon as I did though, I was reminded immediately that it was a different director (it was noticeable), but what kept it a true IM film was RDJ. He IS Tony Stark, and a re-casting would be a mistake.

More Film News from Variety

Loading