What Should Robert Pattinson Learn From Robert Downey Jr. Getting Rich?

Now that Warner Bros. DC has confirmed that Robert Pattinson will be the new Batman, the actor might do well to follow in the footsteps of Robert Downey Jr. – and not just because they both played superheroes.

Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Downey is the highest paid of all the major Marvel players. That’s partly because he’s the longest-running hero, having kick-started the MCU with Iron Man in 2008. More importantly, he wisely took a percentage of profits instead of an up-front salary. As a result, he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s not a bad strategy Pattinson might want to consider if he hasn’t already.

We’ll take a look at Pattinson, how he may compare to his Batman predecessor, and how he could thrive in the role beyond a financial windfall.

How will Robert Pattinson stack up to Ben Affleck?

Warner Bros. confirmed that Pattinson was their choice, having narrowed the field to him and Nicholas Hoult, who had superhero experience playing Beast in the recent X-Men films. Pattinson has reportedly signed for three movies, with the first to be helmed by Matt Reeves, who directed two of the three Planet Apes movies in the trilogy featuring Andy Serkis.

No one knows for sure what kind of spin Pattinson will put on Batman, although it will likely be different from Ben Affleck’s world-weary take with healthy doses of bottled-up anger. At 33, Pattinson is about the same age Christian Bale was when he made Batman Begins, as opposed to Affleck being 44 when he took the role.

Although Affleck’s performance was praised as one of the better aspects of Batman v Superman, the actor told Jimmy Kimmel he never truly got a handle on the character.

“I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter but just couldn’t come up with a version — I couldn’t crack it and so I thought it’s time for someone else to take a shot at it. They got some really good people so I’m excited,” he said.

Robert Pattinson should learn from Robert Downey Jr.

Since negotiations are still in play, Pattinson’s salary has not been made public, although Pattinson might want to take a page from Robert Downey Jr.’s playbook. Downey made $300,000 for the first Iron Man, which seems like pocket change now, but one has to remember that hiring him was a gamble back then. The actor was still trying to emerge from a sordid reputation from the drug convictions that had landed him in prison.

Once the MCU was off and running, however, Downey and his team were canny about his deals for the all-star Avengers movies, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  For Infinity War, Downey got a percentage of the profits that resulted in an impressive $75 million haul. Similarly, the actor also got $5 million for three days’ work on Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Pattinson may or may not reach those heights, considering DC struggled with its all-star team-up movie, but it might still be smart to work out a deal involving a cut of the profits. Comic-based movies don’t appear to be leaving theatres anytime soon.

The underwhelming Justice League overflowed with production troubles, ranging from a controversial director change where Joss Whedon reshot a significant portion of the movie originally filmed by Zack Snyder, to Henry Cavill’s infamous disappearing mustache. In fairness, DC has shown signs of rebounding with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam.

Pattinson’s Batman may surprise

The announcement that Pattinson was a top contender for Batman sent fans into convulsions, with many of them grousing that there was no way Edward from Twilight could make a good Batman. It’s worth noting that fans are notorious for bemoaning casting choices that later turn out to be applauded, such as Michael Keaton’s Batman or Heath Ledger’s Joker.

There’s no question that Twilight is Pattinson’s major claim to fame, but those movies don’t provide a complete picture of the actor. He’s been building movie street cred working with acclaimed directors like David Cronenberg and French auteur Claire Denis. He earned particularly strong reviews for the indie thriller Good Time, and he’s about to start shooting the spy thriller Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan knows a thing or two about Batman. They can talk shop.

The Batman is scheduled to hit theaters in June of 2021.