The Avengers' Salaries Through the Years
With twenty movies in the pipeline, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one cash cow that isn't drying up anytime soon.
The studio is one of the most lucrative in the world, smashing box-office records and pulling in billions of dollars in the process. So it goes without saying that Marvel Studios has cash to splash, especially with each film now costing upwards of $200 million.
But what about the stars of this infinite galaxy? Although many of the actors enjoy hero-sized paycheques, the up-front deals between Marvel and its stars show that it's the movies, not the stars, that are considered the draw.
Just take a look for yourself. We've not done a comprehensive list, but here are nine MCU stars who got paid less–initially, at least–than you think to be superheroes.
1| Paul Rudd, Ant-Man
As an actor who’d already made a name for himself in Hollywood, you’d assume he negotiated a worthy salary for his lead part in Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man. On the contrary, Paul Rudd reportedly signed a deal that outlined a $300,000 payout for his efforts – a slap in the face when you consider the film’s budget sat between $140 and 170 million.
But don’t get your tiny violins out just yet, as the actor would’ve taken home a decent chunk of the profits when it raked in well over $500 million worldwide. And you can bet on him making bank for his role in the follow-up feature, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
2| Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers
Many of the MCU’s stars were not household names when they started out. Tom Hiddleston went from zero to hero (well, anti-hero) thanks to his turn as Thor’s Loki.
Early on in the game when he was cast as the main villain in The Avengers, Marvel didn’t have to throw much money his way, offering the actor just a reported $160,000to play the part in a movie budgeted at around $220 million.
3| Chris Hemsworth, Thor
Speaking of Thor, Chris Hemsworth was pretty low down the Hollywood ranks before joining the MCU. And he (at first) received the salary to match, reportedly earning just $200,000 for playing the God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 film.
But as is the case with most on this list, the actor would have earned a pretty penny from the "back end" as they say, given the film has amassed almost $450 million at the international box office. Again, no need for those tiny violins just yet.
4| Chadwick Boseman, Captain America: Civil War
He might be the King of Wakanda, but his starter wage was anything but royal. Despite Chadwick Boseman entering the MCU as one of the more critically acclaimed stars, his debut as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War apparently only earned him $500,000.
That said, since the success of his breakout role in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the actor’s estimated net worth has jumped from $5 million to an estimated $8 million, and this will only continue to grow as he maintains his reign.
5| Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger
Chris Evans is another caped crusader whose stock has risen (along with his salary) with every Marvel movie he’s featured in. As the titular character of the first Captain America film, he took home a reported $300,000. This jumped considerably to $2 million for Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, a reported $3.2 million for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and a whopping $6.9 million for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
6| Zoe Saldana, The Guardians of the Galaxy
Zoe Saldana has built a name for herself as the alien assassin Gamora in The Guardians of the Galaxy films. Despite her popularity, the star hasn’t made as much as some of the other actors in the franchise, and reports claim her upfront salary for her role in the first instalment was only about $100,000 before profit sharing.
Fast-forward to the present day and her net worth is estimated at around $20 million, a figure that has increasingly been brought up in debates surrounding the race and gender pay gap.
7| Anthony Mackie, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Actor Anthony Mackie has been protecting the world as Sam Wilson (aka the Falcon) since 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and has gone on to become one of the most understated heroes of the franchise. But his starter wage was pretty tight, sitting at a reported $280,000 for Avengers: Age of Ultron AFTER profit sharing.
Here’s hoping that figure increases for his turn in the upcoming Falcon/Winter Soldier mini-series.
8| Karen Gillan, The Guardians of the Galaxy
Although Karen Gillan went all out for her role as the Luphomoid assassin Nebula, it’s rumoured that she only took home around $140,000 after points for The Guardians of the Galaxy—peanuts when compared with the film’s $775 million in box-office sales. Even now, the actress’ net worth is around the $2 million mark, making her one of the ‘poorest’ performers in the MCU.
9| Chris Pratt, The Guardians of the Galaxy
Aside from his role in Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt wasn’t all that well known by the world until he was cast as Peter Quill in The Guardians of the Galaxy. Since then, his participation in the MCU has seen the actor enjoy worldwide acclaim as Star-Lord.
Although Disney’s managed to hide the numbers well, Pratt’s rumoured to have only signed on for about $300,000 to $400,000 up front for his turn in the first film.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.