No one could claim that The Avengers are an evenly matched team of superheroes. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are more-or-less indestructible — Thor can even fly, for Odin’s sake — whereas Captain America (Chris Evans) is just the most fit human being ever with a seemingly shatterproof shield. And while Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are supremely talented, they are very much earthbound mortals. Then there’s Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), who can fly and shoot rockets and such, but is embodied by a highly flawed man who’s always just a hair away from death.
But what about the actors playing all of these roles — are they as lopsidedly matched? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Downey stands to make upwards of $50 million off The Avengers‘ billion-dollar success. The eye-boggling payday is reportedly due to some ingenious work by Downey’s reps after the first Iron Man hit big and won the actor some considerable backend percentages and bonuses pegged to box office benchmarks. That deal stands in, ahem, stark contrast to the remuneration for Ruffalo, Hemsworth, Evans, and Renner, who reportedly will each make just $2 million to $3 million off The Avengers. Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) fare just a bit better, banking somewhere between $4 million to $6 million.
Downey’s star shines a bit brighter than his colleagues, certainly, and Iron Man did play a central role to the storytelling in The Avengers. But was he really 10 times more valuable than anyone else in the movie?
Let’s play studio mogul and decide for ourselves: What are all these actors really worth? Vote in the utterly subjective polls below, and then weigh in on why you made your choices in the comments!