ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, if there's one thing you can fairly safely say about major Hollywood actors, it's that they're extremely well paid. Whether it's a $2 million dollar salary, or a $20 million one, there's relatively little chance of any current Hollywood star heading to a bread-line anytime soon.

For the vast majority of actors, though, there's a stark contrast between what they're now earning, and what they were earning when they first started out. After all, box-office bankability is king in Hollywood, and it's tough to get without a couple of low-paid early leading roles to your name.

For some, though, that contrast is even starker than for others. Or, perhaps, Stark-er...

After all, the stars of Marvel's Avengers movies are incredibly well remunerated for their acting services, right?

But How Much Were the Avengers Paid For Their First Leading Roles?

Well, let's take a look...

First up:

Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: Due to his having signed a multi-picture deal, Evans 'only' made around $7 million for Age of Ultron, though that's likely to have gone up with a decently sized back end deal.

First Leading Role Salary: Even so, though, that likely seems like an insane amount of money to Evans - after all, even for his first Marvel role back in Captain America: The First Avenger, he was only paid $300,000.

Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: Being ever-so-slightly less bankable, it's perhaps not too surprising that Chris Hemsworth reportedly made slightly less for Age of Ultron than his Cap-playing co-star - but still netted over $5 million, plus back end points.

First Leading Role Salary: While Chris Evans had at least a series of (largely unsuccessful) leading roles under his belt by the time he became Cap, Hemsworth's first major leading role was, for all intents and purposes, Thor - which was reflected in his reported $200,000 paycheck.

Mark Ruffalo, a.k.a. The Hulk

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: Despite the sheer quantity of motion capture work required for the role - or, perhaps, because of it - Mark Ruffalo reportedly 'only' pulled in around $3 million (plus add ons) for Age of Ultron.

First Leading Role Salary: Well, seeing as the entire production budget for his breakout role in 2000's You Can Count On Me was $1.2 million, it's likely safe to assume that his salary was a tiny fraction of that...

Jeremy Renner, a.k.a. Hawkeye

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: After taking on leading roles in the likes of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Bourne Legacy, Renner's salary was believed to be around $5 million for Age of Ultron, along with the (now traditional) percentage of the back end.

First Leading Role Salary: Things have changed fast for Renner, though - for 2008's The Hurt Locker, the movie that broke him through to the mainstream? He made just $65,000...

Scarlett Johansson, a.k.a. Black Widow

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: She may routinely miss out on appearing on Marvel merchandising, but Johansson is actually among the better paid Marvel cast-members, with here reported $6 million salary for The Avengers rising, according to some reports, to $20 million for Age of Ultron.

First Leading Role Salary: Well, since her first major leading role came in 1998's The Horse Whisperer, it's safe to say that it was a whole lot less than $20 million...

Robert Downey Jr., a.k.a. Iron Man

Avengers: Age of Ultron Salary: Very much the big kahuna of the MCU, Downey Jr. reportedly made upwards of $70 million for The Avengers, once his substantial box office points are factored in, so it's probably safe to assume that his earnings for Age of Ultron will end up being similar, if not even higher.

First Leading Role Salary: Downey Jr. was actually on a pretty big salary back when most of his Avengers co-stars were still in diapers, but while the '80s boom in actors' salaries did pretty well by him, his career largely fell apart during the '90s and early 2000s, and by 2005's Game 6, he was reportedly willing to work for just $100 a day.

That willingness to take interesting work for a low salary paid off, though - with his taking only $500,000 for 2008's Iron Man quickly transforming him into one of the best paid actors the world has ever seen...

What do you think, though?


Which salary gap surprised you the most?


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