Robert Downey Jr. in Talks for 'Avengers' Sequels, But It's Not Easy

May 8, 2013
Source: Heat Vision

Robert Downey Jr

During the press rounds for Iron Man 3, the charismatic Robert Downey Jr., was hinting that it might be time for him to retire from Iron Man as he nears age 50, and his contract with Marvel expires, prompting a need for renegotiations. As of now Downey is not signed on for The Avengers 2, but Heat Vision reports he has entered negotiations to join the sequel in addition to The Avengers 3. However, there is no discussion about Iron Man 4 right now, which goes hand-in-hand with what Gwyneth Paltrow said last week. However, these negotiations are pretty tense, because the rest of the cast of the ensemble superhero movie doesn't want to be lowballed by Marvel anymore, and Downey is making sure that doesn't happen.

For those who don't know, Downey's deal with Marvel includes a slice of Marvel’s first-dollar gross from every movie in which he plays the character. Because of that deal, Downey has made $50 million from The Avengers alone, and some sources say he could get even more. As Downey explained it to GQ, "Isn’t that crazy? [Marvel is] so pissed. I’m what’s known as a strategic cost.” Because Downey gets people in the seats, they've kept him happy, but now that it's time to renegotiate, Downey is fighting a battle not just for his new contract, but for the other stars of the ensemble who see how much Downey made on the backend.

Deadline reports that Downey is acting as sort of a big brother for the rest of the cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. The actors apparently want at least a $5 million paycheck and a small slice of the backend grosses for The Avengers 2. Marvel has said their frugal spending came because they determined that the film would have to hit $1.1 billion in box office to be profitable. But one unnamed executive wondered if the film needed to be that successful to make a profit, why the hell did anyone want to make it?

The fact is Marvel is cheap, and they're starting to care more about their properties than the actors who help bring them to life and make them so successful. They had the same problem in the comic book industry years ago when they didn't value their writers and illustrators as much as their properties. But this isn't something new. When any of the Marvel heroes first started, the properties weren't established and they were risky, especially with lesser known names like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans in lead roles. But now that these heroes are a box office draw, it's time to give credit where credit is due, and the actors just want to be recognized for the talent they bring to the set.

Thor: The Dark World

Supposedly Marvel has threatened to sue or recast roles when negotiations come back around, and some of the talents have not budged. In fact, Hemsworth supposedly wasn't too keen on getting back in insanely fit shape for Thor: The Dark World when Marvel only offered a $500,000 raise and another $500,000 when the movie hit $500 million. This comes after Hemsworth was paid $5 million for Snow White and the Huntsman. But a deal was finalized with better backend gross numbers and bonuses with more attainable box office goals to make them happen. The same can be said for Chris Evans and his negotiations for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

However, other stars like Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow will have a more difficult time since her options are a little more frequent as a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. who can pop up in any given Marvel movie with ties to The Avengers. Supposedly Johansson isn't going to cut her quote for these movies anymore and expects full compensation. In addition, Downey is behind his co-stars all the way. One rep says Downey is helping out these younger actors in the ensemble saying, "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." Another rep talks a big game by saying, "I have four words for Marvel – 'Fuck you, call Robert.'" Sounds like this is pretty tense.

At the end of the day, Marvel Studios has to realize that once they get a successful property, they can't be cheap anymore. Just because they didn't spend as much the first time around, doesn't mean it's going to be the same the second time around after all the movies in the Marvel Studios banner turn out to be international blockbuster hits. These are actors bringing their characters to life and making people believe in their superheroes on the big screen, and recasting them isn't going to make loyal fans very happy. Yeah, Marvel deserves credit for making this happen, but without these actors, all you have is a stack of comic books, a script and childhood wishes of superheroes on the big screen. Here's hoping Downey can talk some sense into Marvel and get The Avengers happily assembled again.

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  • Fidel Reyes
    Ughh Iove their product, but I hate their greed. These actors I like them, no others!
    • Schuyler
      NEXT IRON MAN MOVIE IRONMAN & HULK, Stark & Banner.... why do they have to have stand alone movies... just have those two trying to figure out why someones destroying the planet
      • Fidel Reyes
        The Hulk & The hulkbuster side by side fighting powerhouse Thanos
  • Mark
    Great read. I hope these guys all get the cut they deserve. I have to say it was hard enough seeing Banner change actors in the same universe (though it was most certainly for the better), but it worked because it happened so early on. Now if they try to switch out Thor, who Hemsworth gets big kudos for making likable against all odds, it over. If Cap is changed, same thing. And for Christs sake don't even think about letting Downy Jr. go anywhere. You need each and every actor to return to their roles, or you're rebooting, and rolling the dice all over again. Get ready to write some paychecks Marvel, and quit belly aching you're in the top spot. Don't screw it up!
    • Schuyler
      Marvel should not ever think of rebooting again... what it should do is start James Bonding their universe up.... who cares if in real life people age... Iron man has been around for yrs in the comic book... but time has changed around him. There are so many wonderful stories to tell, do not reboot anything that has started, just changed actors when the time comes and bring someone in everyone will like and make sure the next movie was better than the last so people like the actor replacing "downey" as Iron Man... not saying that this should happen soon... but maybe when its getting around Avengers 3 and they are talking reboots... thats when they should make the Secret Invasion storyline, and have all their movies lead up to it... every movie has a secret invasion plotline.
  • Roderick
    Should pay the special effects companies more too... -_-
    • si1ver
      Yeah I was just about to say hundreds of other people are going to work a lot harder than these guys on Avengers 2 and get paid nothing but these half dozen actors are fighting for a huge chunk of the box office. . I 100% agree the actors deserve to get paid but imo the effects guys (and probably others as well) deserve raises more.
      • Duke
        No wonder the taxes are rising...!
  • I really can't see anyone else playing Tony Stark. RDJ has all but created a whole new character w/ HIS version of Tony Stark. And it works so very well in my opinion. I've seen recasts work before - Don Cheadle - who I adore & is an amazing actor. And Mark Ruffalo too. Not that I didn't love TH as Jim Rhodes or Edward Norton (so talented) as Bruce Banner. But there's no doubt both of these recasts work. But I don't see anyone else taking over for RDJ. His portrayal of Tony Stark has displayed such a range of emotions, personality traits - genius, charisma, charm, sexiness, cockiness, vulnerability, loyalty, heroism, shame, guilt, self-depreciation. And RDJ has handled them all beautifully. I feel like Tony Stark is a real person & that's what makes the movies work for me. I'd really hate to see him go.
    • Schuyler
      I just dont want them to Reboot Iron Man.... theres no point.... James Bond him
  • I think this site might be popular enough now for this post to hit the right executives desk and make a difference. I hope they can work something out...
  • MARVEL is on they're on their peek of success. It would be a shame if they let go of the actors that have worked so hard and have committed to a long project for the past 5 years. It wasn't easy for Hemsworth and Evans to become a God and a super soldier. It wasn't easy for Ruffalo to simply walk into a Universe that was already established and fill in Norton's shoes. It hasn't been easy for R. Downey Jr. to have been IRON MAN for the past 5 years. The guy's 47, and he still kicks ass and will still kick ass in "Avengers 2" and "IRON MAN 4" if all negotiations go well. Give the actors what they deserve, because after all they have done an excellent job and have kept this great franchise (MARVEL Cinematic Universe) together.
  • Castle
    Where this ends up should be interesting. I don't think Marvel will easily be budged either. They're looking long-term and don't want to run into the problem of every actor they hire eventually asking for large sums of money. As the universe becomes bigger that's more "mouths to feed" for lack of a better term. They probably think the publicity and the revolutionized acting career is more than enough. I'm not saying Marvel is right and the actors shouldn't get a raise, but many of their careers are pretty much secure from the opportunity Marvel gave them.
  • si1ver
    I agree the actors deserve to get paid but of all the movie studios in the world Marvel isn't sitting on its ass with the profits. They turned Iron Man+The Incredible Hulk+Iron Man 2 into ---->Thor+Captain America+The Avengers into ----> Iron Man 3+ Thor 2+ Captain America 2+Guardians of the Galaxy and they're also trying to make The Avengers 2.
    • Marvel opens doors
      Excellent points. The exposure that all the actors got from the Avengers opened many doors elsewhere too. I doubt Hemworth would have received offer for Snow White unless he was cast in Thor. Same with other actors. A casting by Marvel opens many doors elsewhere for which the actors can choose their own prices. If I was the Marvels guys,I would allow a small rise as well as a small slice of the profits Hope they find the right balance.
  • Don't get me wrong I love these films and think people should get what they deserve, but are these guys seriously complaining about the money they are getting? They are already getting paid millions to star in some of the coolest roles around and getting worldwide recognition and adoration for doing so, I would happily be the next iron man for free! Talk about marvel being greedy, I dunno...
    • The thing is that Downey Jr. is getting paid way more than anyother protagonist in the Marvel movies... and since he's not gonna take less money, he'd rather have everyone get more money, that way he can get even more this time around. A second Avenger Hit in Theaters would probably lock the whole cast for the Third movie... so my guess is that Downey jr. is just trying to get even more money for himself.
    • Crazy Legs
      These movies make billions of dollars worldwide. In the theaters, marketing, toys, comics, on and on. RDJ makes the most out of all the actors. For Avengers he made 50 million. 50 million out of billions is nothing, pocket change if you will. Now imagine you're one of the other actors and you made 5 million. Everywhere you go your face is on buses, lunch boxes, sneakers, billboards, etc and you made less than pocket change. I'm not sure it's really greed but wanting your fair share of the pie that you helped generate.
    Just pay them. Done.
  • VFX Soldier
    Marvel doesn't seem to value their VFX artists either.
  • Nielsen700
    Let's hope all this greed doesn't lead to more characters being replaced. We've had too many all ready!
  • JBrotsis
    Just PLEASE don't recast!
    • Schuyler
      id rather them recast than reboot
  • Zade_92
    This is where i can see marvel going, they can't have Downey play iron man forever. I think they have prepared for this with Iron man 3 where they really focused on separating tony stark from the suit. It also seems that they may have used his relationship with the kid to build a kind of mentorship. it seems like that in the future avengers films or even ironman 3 that the kid could control the suit when he grows up, i mean Tony even gave him his own lab at then end.
  • Whaaat, they're all famous thanks to marvel movies. (Right, Downey jR's carreer?) I think the resources must go to people on VFX. They need a decent agreement without Robert. I think this is a power fight more than a money fight. As long as they become the only actors, the people will find terrible the replacement of cast. We'll see a similar note in the road of Avengers 3
    • ColtNoir
      Am I reading that correctly? you think RDjr's career was made because of the Marvel movies? to that I say: LOL
      • Just as Tarantino revived the career of Travolta, Tony Stark was the role who put Robert in the map as a superstar. Not make him famous, revival
  • Tim Marshall
    There's no way that it has to make that much to make a profit. Hollywood studios are notorious for cooking the books to make it seem like a film is never in the black so they don't have to pay out percentages. I call shenanigans.
    I love Fs. But read the original piece over at Deadline. A masterful piece of JOURNALISM.
  • marvelguy
    they can cut the shit out of Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson, I couldt care less, they were awful.
    • Schuyler
      Yea, its just some big names to fill up the team so that it looked bigger... hopefully with the progression of the MArvel Universe and all the Heros they are working towards adding, their need to be on the team will diminish. Hopefully by Avengers 3, we can have Ant-man, maybe even Drax the destroyer or the Star Lord helping out our earthbound heros
  • OfficialJab
    Oh Chris Hemsowrth, only a million dollar raise for the sequel? How tragic. Marvel pocketing all of the money would be weak, but I'm amazed these cast members are fishing for sympathy. If they act this well in Avengers 2, it'll be a shoe-in for Best Picture.
  • Last Son
    First it started with Recasting Ed Norton from The Incredible Hulk and then Terrance Howard from Iron Man. When push comes to shove Marvel will recast but I can tell you right now If they even try to recast Robert Downey Jnr then The Avengers 2 and any future Iron Man films will fail big time. Robert is Iron Man.
  • mistermysteryguest
    I really want to see another Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movie with RDJ.
  • Vince
    It shits me when actors up their demands for pay just because a movie they starred in, in a series becomes a success. It can (under some situations, maybe not this one) make it more difficult to actually produce a decent sequel because costs may need to be cut elsewhere. The way it should work is no actor should be guaranteed a single dollar up front. Every single person involved in the production should be given a percentage of the profit whatever that turns out to be. If it's a billion dollar film, great for everyone, including the movie studio. If it's a flop, sucks to be everyone.
  • The Splinter
    Unfortunately odds are it will not work to their favor. It is a money game, and its all about who can get the most. Downey is right in every way shape and form but it is unfortunate that Marvel , Disney or any other will always pay less so those who are at top can stay at top. There is no room for more on their level because they only make room for the money that keeps them "happy" Actors to them are replaceable but to people like us ... they are not. These actors took characters we have grown up with and made them something more. Captain America being one of my inspirations growing up and seeing Chris Evans bring him to life the way he did made me reflect even more and love what these actors have brought to the table. Even though the fans love them these actors do dedicate their bodies and time to make sure those around can enjoy a different world. Marvel when it come down to it you might want to start thanking and giving some love back. Those who work under those who sit and watch will not stand there and be a puppet forever. You please the crowd by giving them your best gladiators and taking care of them so they continue performing and love performing and the crowds will love you for it. You take them away because to you money is more important then the crowd will crucify you for it.
  • David Banner
    If Robert was a smart cookie, he'd ask for a larger slice on the next movies, and then pay the cast bonuses himself. That would have really burned Marvel/Disney.
  • avconsumer2
    Pay them. We will come. Switcheroo - and it's over Disney.
  • havoc9987
    It's time for Marvel to bite the bullet and start paying up more money hell they have Disney bank rolling these films now and Disney will cough up the dough as long as these movies make money. No more lowballin that time is over the MCU makes big dollars time to start investing in your actors no more Terrace Howard and Mickey Rourke incidents.
  • havoc9987
    Marvel can afford to pay up anyway it's not like DC is any real threat right now.
  • redskulllives
    You tell em Robert. As a contributor to your wonderful assets please make all the effort to get that slice of the cheese Marvel is holding onto.




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