Actor payment for movie merchandise?

How much do actors make for the toys, shirts, etc. with their image on them ? For example the Star Wars actors or Marvel actors . I assume it’s a flat fee and also maybe a small royalty for each item sold.

I have an acquaintance who is an actor. He was in a quite popular TV show in the 1980s. There was merchandise connected with the show and there was in fact even an action figure of himself. He said that due to the typical studio accounting shenanigans, he never got a penny from the merchandise.

I would think(hope?) a big name actor would be able to get money up front to avoid the accounting tricks. For example Robert Downey Jr. as Iron man. Of course he also gets a big salary up front too.

In addition to whatever royalties his agent negotiated, Mark Hamill gets one of every single Star Wars toy made anywhere. He has large storage units full of the stuff, in addition to all the toys he gave to his kids to play with.

Back in 2012, cast members from Happy Days won a lawsuit for money not paid for merchandise.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the article I read did say this:

To save costs, some toy licenses don’t include the rights of the actors’ likenesses, which is why sometimes you get an action figure that looks like a generic take on a particular character, not just lazy sculpting on whoever made the figure.

In those cases, no the actors would not get anything from it.

The story I heard was Fox gave George Lucas toy rights because they did not think they were worth anything. Maybe the actors got rights too.

Tom Selleck on Letterman once came out with a coffee cup in his likeness so he had to explain the deal.

In the early days of Magnum, P.I. people would send him demo items with his likeness and offer a deal for a percentage or whatever. He would generally turn these down. Once it became known he wasn’t interested, people stopped sending him stuff … but still sold the items without paying him.

The cup was one of the demo products.

If you keep your image licensing rights, it is really, really hard to crack down on all the bootleg stuff and get a fair share.

As an example of the above, Bill Watterson has never licensed Calvin or Hobbes. How many C&H t-shirts, car decals, posters, etc., have you seen? Tons.

The answer to the OP is: It depends on what their agents were able to negotiate. And xizor’s post is the answer to silenus’s — a percentage of the gross is great, but everyone in Hollywood knows that a percentage of the net is useless. I’ve hear the phrase a dozen times at least: There is no net. Ever.

In one of her interviews, Carrie Fisher said the deal they signed was so bad every time she looked in a mirror she had to send George a quarter.

I thought of Jack Nicholson’s deal for Batman, and this article cites other deals as well.

Actor deals

George Lucas got nothing in terms of merch for “Star Wars”. He successfully negotiated a better financial deal- and ALL of the merchandising for the subsequent films.

THOSE tens of millions bought Skywalker Ranch. And other nifty things…

Fair to say that LOTS of actors have lost a ton of income due to poor deals and sketchy studio accounting…

In music, the Beatles got ripped off on the rights to toys using their images. It was all Brian Epstein’s fault: he came into a meeting and the first thing he said was that he would accept nothing less than 20% of profits. Contracts for those rights normally granted a far higher percentage, plus the second rule of negotiating is to avoid setting a number (The first rule is to do your research, which he clearly broke there). Though the Beatles made millions, they could have made millions more.

Alec Guiness famously got a percentage of either profits or merchandising rights for his role in Star Wars. I dont know if any of the others did for that film or the sequels.