It’s no secret that being a Hollywood actor is well worth your time. However, Marvel’s Avengers films seem to pay off not only for the studio but also for their actors. For the latest movie, Avengers: Endgame, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and Paul Rudd received a combined payout of $340 Million U.S. Dollar!
Actors benefit from contingent compensation
Some might question the math behind all this, considering that the total budget for Avengers: Endgame was only $356 Million U.S. Dollar. The key to this is what industry professionals call contingent compensation.
Other than film studios in the past, Marvel signs its actors for multi-movie deals including additional promotional commitments and pays them based on a revenue share model. It means that actors start on an income often in the low seven figures while making the big bucks on so-called back-end deals. The term refers to a pre-negotiated percentage of the box office profits. If the movie is a big success, so will be the actors’ paychecks.
Now, Marvel’s Avengers series turned out to be a huge success. The last four movies all made it on the top 10 list of the highest-grossing films of all time with a combined box office gross revenue of nearly $8 Billion U.S. Dollars. How much each actor earns from the profits depends on how good their agents have negotiated with Marvel. Downey, for instance, receives 8% in back-end points, which means he earned an additional $55 million for his role as Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. Smaller parts obviously receive fewer percentage points, but Bradley Cooper still received 1% of the profits from the last Avengers movie, which equals roughly $7 million of additional income for the star from the Hangover series.
MCU doesn’t just earn money from its movies
If you think that films are the only source of income for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you thought wrong. In fact, the MCU makes a staggering amount of money from its licensing deals across various industries.
MCU signed lucrative contracts with ABC, Netflix (e.g. Daredevil, Iron Fist), Disney+ (WandaVision) for its TV series, publishes some of the highest-grossing comics worldwide, and works with record labels such as Lionsgate Records, Columbia Records, and Sony on film & television soundtracks. Marvel also has a huge footprint in the gaming industry spanning from Playstation and Xbox to casino games. In fact, Marvel slots are among the ones with the highest RTP rate, which tells players how much of each $1 wagered is paid out in winnings.
Over the years, Marvel has conquered many markets, and they are even tapping into financial services now. Upon approval, you can get a Marvel credit card with the design of your favourite superhero. It’s going to be exciting to see what’s next on Marvel’s agenda, but one thing is sure; MCU is an entire universe!