The world’s most famous Lakers fan actor Jack Nicholson had Batman pay for his court side seats to watch Magic Johnson and company. Nicholson was already sitting pretty financially, making about $10 million a movie way back in the 1980s. But when the comic book movies came calling, the super savvy Jack made a deal to play The Joker in Tim Burton‘s Batman — and he’s been getting paid ever since. Nicholson reportedly cut his upfront fee to $6 million in exchange for a chunk of the profits and merchandise, plus a payment for every time they made a sequel. That’s rich, as they say.
These days Robert Downey Jr. is generally the highest paid actor/superhero in Hollywood for his portrayal of Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. You know what else RDJ is? A student of the game. He got super rich by making a deal a lot like Nicholson’s, where the back end of the Iron Man/Avengers franchises — merchandising, etc. means a steady stream of deposits in Downey’s bank account. No one time fee for RDJ.
But how far does RDJ’s grip on the Iron Man brand extend? In at least one way RDJ is even making bank on the new Adidas shoes NBA superstar James Harden is wearing in the NBA playoffs — the new signature Iron Man Adidas Vol. 3. RDJ may not be making specific coin off each pair of Harden Iron Man shoes that sell — though he just might be given his dealmaking prowess — but the heavy promotion of the new movie on Harden’s swift feet throughout the NBA playoffs does very nice work for RDJ’s investment portfolio either way.
Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26th. The full lineup of Marvel Adidas “Heroes Among Us” Mashup features Harden, Damian Lillard, Tracy McGrady, Candace Parker and John Wall. Each star is attached to a Marvel hero: respectively Iron Man, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Captain Marvel and Captain America.