Robert Downey Jr launched the MCU in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. It was a runaway success, giving the actor the power to negotiate his salary many times over until he became the highest paid actor in Hollywood. His salary eclipsed his Marvel co-stars, but times have changed for the world’s biggest franchise, with another Avenger earning more per second. After the colossal $1.5 billion box office success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans will be surprised to learn that it’s not Tom Holland who isn’t even in the top six.
Bringing together the six best actors in the MCU, Casino Bee’s research has revealed the ultimate ranking of star salaries by the second. Downey led the list for years, but that just changed.
In last place is Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, taking home £3,479.67 for 12,300 seconds of screen time. In fifth place is Hulk’s Mark Ruffalo, earning £5,936.32 for just 5,340 seconds on screen.
Captain America’s Chris Evans is in fourth place with £5,976.77 for 14,640 seconds of screen time. His combined salary reaches £87,500,000, the second highest total salary of any Marvel actor
Scarlett Johansson, who played the role of Black Widow, takes third place by second. She received a salary of £7,545.45 for every second of screen time, totaling 6,600 seconds of footage. The actress has starred in a total of nine films, earning a combined salary of £49.8million for her tenure as a Russian super-spy.
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Downey comes next, with £11,000 per second for 21,447 seconds of screen time. That’s almost six hours of content, by far the longest running time of any other Marvel star. By comparison, Downey only received a paltry £368,000 for his debut role in 2008’s Iron Man, while Avengers: Endgame saw him take home a ridiculous £55m.
Leading the way is Hawkeye’s Jeremy Renner earning £12,160.37 for every second he’s on screen in all of his Marvel films. Renner clocks in at a miniscule 3,018 seconds (50 minutes) on screen. That screen time is split across five films, excluding his Disney Plus series, earning him a combined salary of £36.7million.
Commenting on the results, a Casino Bee spokesperson said: “It’s fascinating how actors’ salaries compare to their screen time, and these numbers show just how central Robert Downey Jr is to the franchise. Avengers. His first appearance as Iron Man in 2008 launched the entire series, and his total screen time is a third of the total screen time of all films. And his salary also reflects his importance – his salary of 254 million of pounds sterling is higher than the combined total of the five other major players in the franchise.
Renner’s time at the top appears to be short-lived, with Hailee Steinfeld stepping into her titular role during the Hawkeye series. Renner has remained deliberately vague about his future in the MCU, telling GamesRadar+ that he’s been hesitant to return.
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Renner explained, “I don’t have a crystal ball or I’m not a diviner. But the arrival of Hailee and these characters, I think it opens the door to six great episodes for this type of television event. Afterwards, I have no idea. But these six episodes are pretty exciting.
As Renner took Downey’s spot on pay-per-second, Tom Holland is taking over the Marvel Universe. During a recent interview with GQ, the director of Avengers: Endgame clarified that Peter Parker is the new Tony Stark.
Russo said, “Tom steps into the role that Robert Downey once held for Marvel, who is the favorite character and, in many ways, the soul of the Marvel Universe.”
Spider-Man is the MCU’s favorite character, as Spider-Man: No Way Home just eclipsed all other Marvel 2021 releases combined at the box office. At $1.5 billion and up, the releases of Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and Eternals couldn’t hope to hold a candle there.
Black Widow earned an overall earning of $379 million, Shang-Chi earned $432 million, and Eternals earned $401 million. The combined total hits $1.2 billion, putting Spidey firmly in control of the MCU.
However, that doesn’t make him the new Iron Man, as the upcoming Ironheart Disney Plus show will address that issue. After Riri Williams (played by Dominique Thorne), it will see her create the most advanced armor since Stark.
Not only that, but there’s a second Disney Plus series to explore the aftermath of Stark’s passing – Armor Wars. Don Cheadle will return as James Rhodes on the show, also dealing with the fact that he’s basically Iron Man, just minus the billions of dollars.