Robert Downey Jr's $50m Avengers cheque

Cape Town - Robert Downey Jr stands to earn over $50m for his role in The Avengers. This pay cheque is well above what any of his Avengers co-stars are earning to appear in the blockbuster Marvel movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robert signed a deal incorporating box office bonuses and back-end compensation in addition to his salary for appearing in the movie.

The deal also relates to any future appearances Robert will make in Marvel movies as its main superhero character Tony Stark/Iron Man.

He apparently renegotiated his deal with Marvel after the first Iron Man movie grossed $585m in 2008, according to the report. The Avengers has already surpassed the $1bn mark at the worldwide box office, just 19 days after its release.

PHOTOS: The Avengers: Superhero Character Profiles

Robert's deal means that his share of the profits from The Avengers will increase as the movie grosses more money.

By comparison, Robert's Avengers co-stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk) will each make only $2m to $3m for their participation in the movie.

Samuel L Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, who signed deals to pop up in several Marvel movies, are said to be making about twice that for The Avengers with bonuses.

The Avengers is set to become the third highest grossing film of all time, if it surpasses the $1.32bn haul of 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, behind James Cameron's two massive hits: Avatar ($2.8bn) and Titanic ($2.2bn, including grosses from the re-release earlier in 2012).

This kind of backend movie pay deals are not new to Hollywood. Johnny Depp is said to have made at least $250m from the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Forbes reported that director Michael Bay took home $80m from the first Transformers movie.