Deadline has published a massive piece on the behind-the-scenes drama that Marvel is facing in regards to actors’ pay, fees, and contracts for upcoming films. Long story short, Robert Downey Jr.’s contract is up and he is negotiating to sign up for another tour of duty with Marvel. He wants more money and he will get it. The problem is, the other cast members are apparently in a huff over how much more money he is making. People are taking to the ‘net and throwing Marvel under the bus for their business practices and making them out to be the bad guy here. Guess what, folks! I’m not buying it.
These actors sat down with Marvel at the start of things and signed multi-film contracts. Those contracts have payment agreements within, among the other stipulations. Does it suck if you are in a film getting $200,000 for you work while your co-star ends up making $50+ million after his fees and backend percentages? Yes, of course it does. But here’s the kicker: You are the one who agreed to that. I could sit here and go on about how Downey has been around with the company three years longer than most of the others and has practically become the face of the Marvel Movieverse, but that is neither here nor there. Chris Hemsworth (among others) is reportedly upset that he isn’t getting much more than his initial pay on the first Thor now, despite the fact that he’s getting millions to star in films for other studios. I’m sorry Chris. I like you. But that is just ego and greed talking. Why do you think you get so much more elsewhere? Is it because the Marvel films you have done so far have rocketed you to stardom and the Hollywood hot list? Again, if you have a problem with your current pay, you should have thought about it harder before you agreed to take on the role. If it is still a sore subject for you after your 6-film contract is up, then wave goodbye and go on to greener pastures. Or re-up for another round and negotiate for more money and a profit percentage. This also applies to Johansson, Evans, Ruffalo, Renner, etc.
This isn’t a case of jealously on my part. It’s just common decency and respect. I can’t sign up for satellite TV service tomorrow for $110 a month and then demand that my rates be cut in half a year from now because I am a good customer who pays his bills on time. The world doesn’t work that way. When you sign an agreement, you are bound to that until the agreement has been fulfilled. You can harp all you want about how unfair you think your situation is, but you alone are the one responsible for being in it in the first place.
You want to know why Marvel has managed to craft what will likely amount to an 18-film franchise over the course of a single decade? Frugality and common sense. The Avengers had a production budget of $220 million. At ANY other studio, that film would have easily cost $400+ million. They made it for half that. For a bit of perspective, Universal’s next big bomb will likely be RIPD this July. That is a film that shouldn’t have cost more than $90 million to make. What is the current tally on it? Almost $200m, reportedly. That’s ridiculous. There is no way that film will make money in theaters, even if audiences actually like it. Marvel saves money by cutting costs in areas that never need money thrown at them anyway. Rushing a production at the last minute to meet a per-determined start date costs $$$. Needless location shooting in expensive areas costs $$$. Paying actors to sit around for days when they are not needed because the schedule wasn’t thought out well costs $$$. And you know what? So does paying actors more and more for each consecutive film when it is the BRAND that is bringing them in, not necessarily the performer.
It keeps getting stated these days that we don’t really have MOVIE STARS anymore and its pretty much true. Take a gander at any of our current big franchises box office numbers. Now look at the numbers for the smaller films that the same actors are doing. Are they close to one another? In most cases, they aren’t. The Mission: Impossible films pull in an average of $250 million domestically at the box office. But what of Tom Cruise’s non-MI films? Well, currently they are making around $80m domestically. That is a massive gap. Hemsworth is complaining about his Marvel pay, but ignoring the fact that neither Cabin In The Woods and Red Dawn did well. Of his non-Marvel efforts, only Snow White and the Huntsman hit triple digits…….and it didn’t even break even at the box office! Why SHOULD he get paid more money than he agreed to in his contract when he can’t even really open a movie where he doesn’t play Thor? The same goes for Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansoon. Why give them more money that can be better spent elsewhere in the production and keep costs down, thereby allowing the film to do better in the long run?
Is Marvel being cheap and unflinching when it comes to deals and negotiations. Absolutely. But let’s not pretend that the actors that are whining about “unfair treatment” aren’t being extremely greedy and, honestly, ungrateful. There are two sides to every story and I’m personally not a fan of how this particular tale is being skewed in print.
Source | Deadline