Robert Downey Jr.'s intense Avengers negotiations

Posted by David Konow

Robert Downey Jr. has had an incredible career resurrection. It didn’t seem like that long ago he was totally gone on drugs, and it looked pretty likely we were going to lose him.

Now he’s clean and sober, and he’s currently the hottest actor in Hollywood with the success of The Avengers and Iron Man 3.

Downey has a piece of the Iron Man movies, which has made him a fortune, and the pile of money should only grow bigger with the success of the third film. But is there trouble in paradise? Reports have come in that Downey is trying to renegotiate his deal for future Iron Man films, and if this doesn’t go well, he may not be back for Avengers 2.
It seems absurd to us that The Avengers would go forward without him. Downey has indeed expressed his desire to do other things in the future, which is understandable, even Christian Bale hung up the batsuit after three movies, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, Downey isn’t signed up for the next Avengers movie, and contract negotiations have begun.
The Reporter tells us there will also be, big surprise, a third Avengers film, that will be part of the third phase of Marvel flicks, and it may be in theaters by 2017. (Avengers 2 is due May 1, 2015.) So far, there’s no talks of there being a fourth Iron Man film, and one sticking point is that Downey has an estimated 5 to 7% of the Iron Man movies, which made the actor over $50 million when The Avengers exploded. (Again, the money pile will get even bigger with Iron Man 3, possibly making Downey another $70-80 million, according to Deadline).
Another problem here is that Disney is notoriously cheap. Indeed, Deadline reports that Marvel’s similarly frugal, and although Downey told GQ he’s “a strategic cost” to the franchise, we think he’s worth the price, but we don’t run the joint. Deadline also reports that several other Avengers cast members don’t have their deals nailed down either, and as a source told the website, Marvel needs Downey, “and they don’t have him. He’s got a lot of leverage.” (Deadline tells us that Whedon’s deal is pretty nice too, a reported $100 million for the five years he’ll be making several movies, consulting behind the scenes, and putting together S.H.I.E.L.D.) 
The fact that Downey’s been cleaning up financially, while the other Avengers didn’t sign great deals, could cause friction among the cast, which actually could work in the movie’s favor because Joss Whedon hinted that this time they could be battling each other, so if they can just transfer that frustration to the big screen…
Seriously though, Deadline quoted one source as saying that Downey has “already sent a message that he’s not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like sh*t.” Now that’s superhero togetherness, and it’s good to hear that even with Downey being the big cheese he still makes time to be a mensch.