Robert Downey, Jr. Just Lost “Highest Paid Actor” Title to Unlikely Marvel Star

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Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye (left) and Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man (right)

Credit: Marvel Studios

Robert Downey, Jr. is the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having started the multi-billion dollar Multiverse franchise with Iron Man (2008). The Avenger actor was the highest-paid star under Marvel’s roof for over a decade, but an unlikely co-star out-earned him.

Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, and Karen Gillan in "Avengers: Endgame".
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Every Marvel fan can scratch off Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Scarlett Johannson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow) off their speculation list of who’s the highest-paid Marvel actor.

Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner is the new top-billed Marvel actor, having out-screened “RDJ” per second throughout the Marvel collection of films and series:

RDJ is currently in second place at £11,000 (or $15,083) per second for a massive 21,447 seconds (roughly 6 hours) of screen time. But in first is none other than Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner, whose salary works out to a wildly impressive £12,160 (or $16,671) per second that he’s on screen throughout all his Marvel movies, which totals 3,018 seconds (50 minutes). And notice how we said ‘movies,’ meaning this figure excludes the aforementioned Disney Plus series.

larping hawkeye jeremy renner as clint barton
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Despite the underwhelming performance of the Hawkeye series (compared to titles like Loki and WandaVision), Jeremy Renner is the highest-paid Marvel actor at the moment.

iron man 3 tony stark with christmas trees
Credit: Marvel Studios

Coming from Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes, Chaplin) reportedly earned $1 million for every minute appearing onscreen in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). The actor has broken numerous records for his pocketbook, and rightfully so. There would be no Hawkeye Disney+ limited series or upcoming Marvel movie, Doctor Strange, in the Multiverse of Madness without Iron Man.

clint barton with pym tech arrow in hawkeye
Credit: Marvel Studios

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However, with Tony Stark’s story coming to a close in the episodic Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), Clint Barton/Hawkeye actor Jeremy Renner took the crown from the Marvel king.

While Scarlett Johannson starred in the solo Black Widow (2021) film after the events of Endgame, Renner still appeared onscreen longer than any of his fellow Avengers (2012) co-stars, allowing him to earn a higher pay-per-second of a reported $16,671 than anyone else!

tom holland as peter parker (left) and robert downey jr as tony stark (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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However, it seems that Jeremy Renner’s Marvel character is ending his adventure shortly, undoubtedly handing over his bow to the newcomer and future Avenger Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).

Soon enough, Tom Holland will likely take this payroll title, as the actor’s Marvel Universe future is burning brighter every day with his upcoming Spider-Man 4, Spider-Man 5, and Spider-Man 6 films — not to mention his involvement in the unavoidable Avengers 5 and any MCU series like Daredevil that have heavy ties with the web-slinger!

avengers infinity war iron man (left) and doctor strange (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The Marvel Universe is becoming much more than iconic characters Earth’s Mightiest Heroes like Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson).

With new rumors about Tony Stark/Iron Man variants appearing shortly, fans may catch another glimpse of Robert Downey, Jr. in the MCU again.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Here’s a synopsis of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:

After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Dr. Stephen Strange continues his research on the Time Stone. But an old friend turned enemy seeks to destroy every sorcerer on Earth, messing with Strange’s plan and also causing him to unleash an unspeakable evil.

Who’s your favorite superhero? Let us know in the comments below!

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