Considering the fact that box office history's fourth highest grossing movie ever was born from the mind of the legendary Joss Whedon, father of absolute cult majesty such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, you'd think the man would've made an absolute killing from directing Marvel's first foray into superteam-em-ups The Avengers.
But in reality, it turned out quite the opposite! While sitting in on a reunion Q&A session for the brothers Whedon's (that's Joss, Zack and Jed Whedon) self made musical series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog at this year's Paleyfest NY, the auteur revealed how he somehow managed to make more money from his self-financed Dr. Horrible than the Marvel caper that grossed over $1 billion!
Though this revelation may come as quite the shock, seeing as The Avengers had a production budget of over $200 million, this certainly isn't the first time Whedon has spoken out about the allegedly frugal fists of the big M.
Back in 2013, Whedon took to his personal blog, Whedonesque, to allay rumors that he netted a cool $100 million for creating Marvel's The Avengers:
I was going to let it slide, but I’ve got this sour taste in my mouth. (Mmmm, lemonade!). Some facts are not facts. I’m not going to go into the whole thing, but jeepers, I’m not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2.
If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh. I’m not making Downey money. I’m making A LOT, which is exciting. I’m not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts.
And, going off the back of the above quote, while it's not exactly known how much Whedon earned for both Dr. Horrible and The Avengers, his pay for the latter is generally considered to be considerably less than ol' Tin Man himself RDJ, who bagged an outrageous $130 million off the back of both Avengers features!
It's alleged that Whedon earned just over seven digits.
Got No Bling to Hold Him Down
Over the years the MCU has been active, Marvel Studios has prospered from its trend of hiring lesser known directors with indie movie sensibilities to carry the weight of their stunning IPs.
And with the lack of a superstar reputation, comes a lack of superstar pay. Though Whedon is a household name with his aforementioned creations, prior to creating The Avengers his only other cinematic turnout came with the seminal Serenity, the closing chapter of the cult hit Firefly. And that only managed to make just shy of $40 million at the box office.
But, allegedly after the rousing success of Whedon's golden touch, it's reported that he earned in the area of $34 million last year, I'm guessing with a big tip of the hat to AoU and Agents. That intense payday propelled Whedon to number 68 on Forbes' Celebrity 100.
So, all's well that ends well for the Nerd King? In a manner of speaking, yes! It's a damn good thing he managed to nail his job on the first go, otherwise your next trip to the drive-through could've been attended by (Lord) Whedon himself.
Though strongly I doubt that, the man is pretty well off regardless! Did I mention his previous work?
(Sources: Variety, Forbes, Whedonesque)