Robert Downey, Jr. has been having great fun this past week with his ideas for the Iron Man franchise. First, he was quoted saying he’d only come back with Mel Gibson as director. The quote was taken out of context but it made a bit of sense as Gibson and Downey are friends and the Iron Man star has his own experience at being redeemed in the public eye.
Downey is of course attracted to entertainment headlines like a moth to a flame so when he saw the hullabaloo is comments were creating, he went all in and suggested Howard Stern be hired to lens the flick. Ha ha. Good times.
So of course, during an appearance on Ellen today to promote his upcoming release The Judge, Downey got asked about Iron Man 4. At first, he played coy saying he knew “there was going to be a bunch more Marvel movies” and that he was in negotiations. But when pressed, he let out an “Okay, yes” on whether another sequel was coming.
First, it is worth noting the actor did not come out and say in absolute terms there will be an Iron Man 4 (and please, for the love of Odin, do not let it be called Iron M4n). It was more of a “You’re saying there be a sequel so… fine I’ll go along with that” response to Ellen’s prodding.
Assuming it is accurate that Iron Man 4 is coming, it makes a lot of sense for all parties. RDJ pulled down a reported $75 million for Iron Man 3, a ridiculous sum of money for any actor in any role. He’d be an idiot to say no to that kind of cash again, right? And on Marvel’s end, the actor remains their biggest star by a mile. Iron Man 3 is the second highest grossing of the studio’s films with $409 million domestic. Guardians of the Galaxy did well, but it’s still $80 million behind that. And Captain America: The Winter Soldier made a full $150 million less than Iron Man 3. In fact, Guardians is the only film of Marvel’s top five grossing movies that does not feature Tony Stark.
So the math according to a crazy what’s-$30-million-between-friends logic does make sense. The only question is whether there is really a deal and where does this slot into the voluminous release schedule Marvel already has moving forward.