In a story whose larger topic is the penny-pinching being seen in Hollywood, The Daily Beast’s Kim Masters uses Marvel Studios, and the casting of Iron Man 2 as an example of the belt-tightening that is affecting all movie studios.
Masters confirms that both confirmed Iron Man 2 co-stars Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson were originally offered $250,000 for their work in the upcoming sequel to 2007 blockbuster, and both negotiated their fees to somewhere north of $400,000.
The days of the $20 million star may be over, Masters reports, adding that from what she’s heard, more and more, studios will offer half the regular fee, and if the star balks, move on to the next option rather than negotiate.
Masters’ article quotes an agent who does not represent either Rourke or Johansson as saying, ““On certain movies, they feel like whoever they put in a part is fine. Once they lock down Robert Downey, Jr., on Iron Man 2, everything else is fine. I don’t think they give a shit if it’s Mickey Rourke or Scarlett Johansson.”
On the Marvel side, Masters talks to COO of Marvel Studios, Tim Connors who says, “We don't like to be portrayed as being disrespectful to talent, notwithstanding the fact that we are very budget-conscious and can't always meet an actor's initial asking price. We say, `We wouldn't normally ask an actor at this level to do this but we'd be thrilled to have them."
For comic book fans and those familiar with the industry, the approach sounds very familiar to the “ladder” of exposure creators are faced with to gain the opportunity to work with the most popular characters.
As many have pointed out, such belt-tightening will become a necessity in Marvel movies as they march on towards Avengers, an ensemble piece that will star Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson as well as the actors who will be cast as Thor and Captain America in those upcoming films, not to mention sequels to films become successively more expensive to make as actors demands usually increase as successful projects see larger and larger box office grosses.