In 2008, Marvel Studios released Iron Man and created the most celebrated film franchise known to humanity. After Iron Man, other films for other superheroes, such as Thor, Captain America, and Ant-Man, were produced. From there, Movie theatres sold movie tickets, and memorabilia sold out of the wazoo. And this was after Sony’s X-Men films were popular in the early 2000s, along with more recently Ryan Reynolds’ exceptionally successful go as the Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. However, it is worth noting how monetarily beneficial the actor’s performances were to their bank accounts.
10. Chris Pratt – $40 Million
During his first hit show on NBC, Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt came from Pawnee, Indiana and in Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill was born in Colorado. Pratt went from an unknown comic on a cult television show to the leader of a rag-tag batch of universal bandits hell-bent on getting paid but doing the right thing if it happens to work out. Chris Pratt’s alleged last outing for Marvel Studios is in Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 opens on May 5, 2023.
9. Jeremy Renner – $50 million
Within the Marvel Universe, several “sleeper” characters play essential roles to franchises’ lead superheroes, and Renner delivered a stellar performance as Clint Barton, better known as “Hawkeye.” First cameoing alongside Thor in 2011’s feature film of the Norse god, fans can assume to see Renner continue into Phase Five after his self-titled show on Disney+ showed the beloved archer potentially passing on his bow and arrows to Kate Bishop.
8. Chris Evans – $50 million
Chris Evans took on the role of America’s long-standing first Avenger, Captain America, the ideal American good guy out to do what’s right, no matter the cost. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, fans can safely assume Evans hung up the stars and stripes. But this wasn’t Evans’s first go with Marvel Studios; in 2005, Evans starred in The Fantastic Four as the Human Torch. Critics panned the film; however, Evans’s performance never flamed out.
7. Paul Rudd – $70 million
Initially, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man was a surprise casting to most, and by most, I mean all fans eagerly awaiting a proper Ant-Man movie, this writer included. Rudd’s career in comedy was well-established from his films I Love You, Man, and Anchorman. His performances in Ant-Man films and his problem-solving solution in Avengers: Endgame prove he is worth every penny.
6. Ryan Reynolds – $75 million
Reynolds’ first foray into the superhero genre was less than successful. Audiences and critics worldwide panned 2011’s Green Lantern starring Reynolds and, most recently, the actor during the sequel to his gargantuanly successful superhero movie Deadpool. The first film was a passion project for the actor, who was and is a long-time fan of Marvel’s Merc with the Mouth, earning $132 million at the box office.
5. Chris Hemsworth – $90 million
As Marvel’s God of Thunder, Chris Hemsworth shows off the character’s dramatic and comedic chops throughout the franchise. The first film released in 2011 set a Shakespearean tone to the franchise; however, the sequel Thor: The Dark World was found lackluster by audiences and critics, which prompted the third film’s comedic shift in Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi. Hemsworth’s recent outing as Thor was in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder.
4. Bradley Cooper – $100 million
This news may surprise most, but Bradley Cooper is within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bradley Cooper stars Rocket Racoon, the snarly raccoon space adventure from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. According to James Gunn, the beloved character will be the main focus in the third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, and with this being the final film in the franchise, many fans are on edge.
3. Hugh Jackman – $100 million
For Hugh Jackman, taking on the role of Wolverine in director Bryan Singer’s 2000 release X-Men landed the unknown actor in stardom. He starred in twelve films, not including his upcoming performance with Ryan Renolds in the third Deadpool installment. Jackman hung up the claws after 2017’s Logan, but Reynolds convinced the star to return, hopefully with a comic-accurate suit.
2. Scarlett Johansson – $140 million
Scarlett Johansson’s character of Natalia Romanoff, widely known as “The Black Widow,” is almost as synonymous with the MCU as Robert Downey Jr’s “Iron Man.” This a bold statement, but the actress starred in nine Marvel films as the Russian spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who runs alongside the Avengers.
1. Robert Downey Jr. – $300 million
First place is no surprise as Downey has been Marvel’s lead actor since 2008’s Iron Man. Robert Downey’s story of overcoming personal addiction and reviving his acting career from a film considered a potential flop to becoming the face of Marvel Studios,
even after he is no longer contracted for any more movies, is incredible. The actor assumed the role of Tony Stark; many fans simply understand Roberty Downey Jr to be a living incarnation of Tony Stark himself.