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Scarlett Johansson's Disney lawsuit shows how much Marvel stars depend on box-office performance - here's how 6 other actors cashed in

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Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson in "Black Widow." Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over "Black Widow" getting released on Disney+ while in theaters.

  • MCU actors get big paychecks, partially based on the success of their movies at the box office.

  • Here's how other actors who starred in Marvel movies have cashed in.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Scarlett Johansson in white jumpsuit
Scarlett Johansson in "Black Widow." Disney

After starring in seven Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Scarlett Johansson was expected to have a major payday with "Black Widow."

The actress has so far earned $20 million for her long-awaited standalone movie, Disney recently told the Wall Street Journal — a far cry from the reported $400,000 she earned for her first MCU appearance, in 201 0's "Iron Man 2."

But she says she was set to pocket tens of millions more in bonuses based on the movie's box-office performance. It's a tactic Disney has used with all its Marvel stars for over a decade: Get them cheap and then build up their paydays if the movies make money.

"Black Widow" was expected to perform like the other MCU films and be a cash cow for its lead. But due to the pandemic, the movie was released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, causing this Marvel movie to not match the success of its predecessors.

Now, Johansson is suing Disney over her long-awaited standalone film's release plan, claiming in the lawsuit that her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for "Black Widow" and that she's out at least $50 million because the film simultaneously went to streaming.

(Disney, in its counterstatement to WSJ regarding the suit, maintained that the studio has "fully complied" with Johansson's contract and also publicly disclosed her $20 million "Black Widow" earnings to date, noting that she "has the ability to earn more" on the film.)

So, just how much have MCU stars earned in the past thanks to playing Disney's game and patiently waiting for big paydays? Here's a look at how six other actors have been paid during their time in the MCU.

Note: Disney's Marvel Entertainment has historically refused to confirm or deny salary reports. Most below figures are based on information provided by sources and have not been independently verified by Insider.

Chris Hemsworth - $150,000 for "Thor" (2011) / $15 million for "Avengers: Endgame" (2019)

thor
Chris Hemsworth in "Thor." Marvel Studios

Hemsworth didn't have many credits to his name when he came on to play Odin's son, so he didn't have much leverage when it came to negotiating a salary — he reportedly earned $150,000 for starring in the first "Thor" movie.

But clearly things have worked out well for him. Hemsworth earned $15 million apiece for "Thor: Ragnarok," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Chris Evans - $1 million for "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) / $15 million for "Avengers: Endgame" (2019)

captain america
Chris Evans in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Paramount Pictures

This Chris likely got a little more than Hemsworth, taking home $1 million to star in the first "Captain America" film, because he had better name recognition when he agreed to play Steve Rogers. In fact, he already had superhero cred: Evans played Johnny Storm in the early 2000s version of the "Fantastic Four" franchise.

Like Hemsworth, Evans' payday increased significantly for later MCU films. He earned $15 million apiece for "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Chadwick Boseman - $700,000 for "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) / $2 million for "Black Panther" (2017)

black panther
Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther." Disney/Marvel Studios

There's no question that Boseman, who got roughly $700,000 for his first MCU appearance in "Captain America: Civil War," scored a nice bonus after "Black Panther" had an amazing box office run. He reportedly earned $2 million for his character's standalone film.

And if not for his death, Boseman was expected to have had a major payday for the upcoming sequel.

Robert Downey Jr. - $2.5 million for "Iron Man" (2008) / $75 million for "Avengers: Endgame" (2019)

iron man
Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man." Marvel Studios

Marvel got RDJ cheap in 2008, paying him $2.5 million for the first "Iron Man" film. Already an Oscar-nominated actor at that point and arguably one of the best of his era, Downey Jr. was still repairing his career at the time following his recovery from substance abuse.

Responsible for being the actor that effectively launched the MCU, his paychecks showed that by the time he ended his run. According to Forbes, Downey earned $75 million for his role in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame."

Chris Pratt - $1.5 million for "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014) / $5 million for "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018)

gotg chris pratt
Chris Pratt in "Guardians of the Galaxy." Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Pratt, like the rest here, certainly got more in bonuses thanks to the success of the MCU titles he's been in. He reportedly got $1.5 million for the first "Guardians" movie and about $5 million for his "Avengers: Infinity War" appearance.

Brie Larson - $5 million for "Captain Marvel" (2019) / Upcoming MCU movies: Unknown

captain marvel
Brie Larson in "Captain Marvel." Marvel Studios

Being an Oscar winner and playing the first female superhero to get her own movie in the MCU likely helped Larson and her reps at the negotiating table.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Larson got $5 million for her character's standalone film, in exchange for signing a seven-movie deal with the studio. She's next set to appear in "The Marvels," due out in 2022, and it's been rumored that her payday for the sequel will make her the highest-paid actress in a superhero film ever — which would indicate she's set to earn at least $15 million.

Read the original article on Insider