The Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced multiple billion-dollar hits, some of the most successful movies ever made. The movies are also among the most expensive movies ever made, between the expense of significant digital effects, and paying the salaries of its roster of major stars. One way studios keep this latter cost down is buying offering actors money on the “back end.” Rather than paying them big money upfront, they get a share of a film’s success. It turns out that can be even more lucrative than we thought, as somebody knows what Tom Holland got paid for an Avengers movie.
Actor Tom Hollander has never been in an MCU movie, but he does have a name that is nearly identical to somebody who has. Appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Hollander revealed that he and Holland briefly had the same agents, and he was sent the younger actor’s box office bonus by mistake. Hollander explained...
It was an astonishing amount of money. It was not his salary. It was his first box-office bonus. Not the whole box-office bonus, the first one. And it was more money than I’d ever [seen]. It was a seven-figure sum.
Hollander said that the check was for The Avengers, which almost certainly refers to either Infinity War or Endgame, which were not only major box office hits, but are two of the biggest box office hits ever made. So even by Marvel standards the box office payouts were probably high. But clearly Holland, and likely others, really scored big.
For those people lucky enough to be in massive hits, this is great, but not everybody has such luck. Actors and writers were just on strike fighting over what they saw on the backend of projects because not everybody gets million-dollar bonus checks from Marvel.
Cody Ziglar, who wrote for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, revealed on Twitter that he made $396 in a residual check for an episode that he wrote. Noëlle Renée Bercy, who appeared in two seasons of the Hulu show Cloak and Dagger told Rolling Stone last summer that she had received a residual check for 14 cents.
A big part of this discrepancy is clearly the different distribution methods. Theatrical releases have an obvious, and very public, revenue stream in the form of ticket sales. It’s easy to see just how much money a given film is making. Streaming is much more nebulous. A streaming service makes money because people want to watch the shows that are on it, but just how that money should be distributed to the shows is less than clear. It was the major issue that the recent strikes were about for exactly that reason.
There's only one upcoming Marvel movie on the 2024 release schedule. Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman likely have similar deals in place for Deadpool 3 that will pay them well if the movie is a hit. Deadpool 3 would likely have to be massive for them to make whatever Tom Holland took home, but based on the success of the previous Deadpool movies, we can guess they'll do just fine.