Do you want to see "Iron Man 4" some day? If so, Robert Downey Jr. wants you to pony up.
Well, not really, but Downey had some fun with the looming question of whether or not he'll be returning as Tony Stark when he appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Tuesday night, suggesting he might be crowdsourcing the next installment in the "Iron Man" franchise.
After talking about Downey's recent international press tour for "Iron Man 4" and showing pics of him eating unusual food in China and wearing lederhosen in Germany, Kimmel asked Downey, who was in typically charming but wise-ass form, about the future of the "Iron Man" franchise. At first, Downey gave what seemed like a serious answer.
"The funny thing is, you have this kind of weekend, and then instantly Monday morning, you think there's going to be the next announcement," Downey said. "But you know the economy really is weird, and I was thinking if we were going to do another one, maybe we would tentatively call it 'Iron Man 4' …"
"Oh, that's a good idea! I love that title, I really do like it," Kimmel interjected.
"Yeah, it seems like a logical progression," Downey replied. He continued, "But I wasn't getting a lot of support, so I decided, my buddies told me there's a Kickstarter thing. So as of now, yeah, if you want to see a sequel, please go to Kickstarter.com and put in your vote."
The camera then cut to a screen grab of a mock Kickstarter page headlined "The Iron Man Fund," with a $200 million goal and the sub-headline "You can never have too many Iron Men." "Every little bit helps!" Downey shouted just before Kimmel went to commercial.
The good news is, when Kimmel and Downey returned a few minutes later, they gave fans a status update on the fake funding drive. The second screen shot of the Kickstarter page revealed 800,127 backers had pledged $1.8 billion (with a B) so far, which would be what they call "fully funded."
In between jokes, Downey did offer a few less comical hints about his future as Tony Stark. He spoke with admiration at how Marvel Studios had handled the series, saying, "Particularly with these superhero movies, I realized pretty early on that the audience really drives the success of the movies. That's what we've been kind of chasing, and I think Marvel's been really smart. They really include what the folks at Comic-Con think, who's really excited about this casting announcement. I think it's also really the birth of interactive entertainment in big-scale movies."
And when Kimmel directly asked if Downey would make another "Iron Man" movie, the actor was unambiguous. "Yeah, it's been one of the best things in my life professionally and people really like it …" Downey said.
Kimmel cut in, saying, "I think you should just beat it to death! Just 'til everyone is just sick of it! Keep going! I'd never take that Iron Man costume off. They'd bury me in it. That's how I’d go out."
With a slight grin, Downey replied, "Well, that's definitely one approach."
Downey's comments on Marvel and the franchise come at an interesting time for the major players concerned: Downey's contract with Marvel is up, and he's told the press more than once he wants to re-negotiate. Downey presumably wants a larger cut of the action, not surprising since "Iron Man 3" has already earned a word wide gross of over $680 million. But as Marvel has earned a reputation for being tight with a dollar when it comes to actor's salaries, so it's an open question how much they'll pay to keep the actor who has become synonymous with one of their most profitable characters.
Whatever happens, Downey might just want to chat with Rob Thomas and Zach Braff about Kickstarter, just in case.