When the highly anticipated “Ant-Man” movie comes out Friday, July 17, it is expected to earn as much as $60 million during its opening weekend alone, reports The Wrap. If pre-release tracking is accurate, the long-awaited flick about a tiny superhero could be Marvel’s 12th No. 1 opening in a row.
Another No. 1 movie would be a nice accomplishment for Stan Lee, Marvel icon and co-creator of Ant-Man as well as many other superheroes, including The Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, The X-Men, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four. For the “Ant-Man” movie, Lee is an executive producer.
Is Stan Lee’s Net Worth Really Millions of Dollars?
With a slew of top-grossing films, countless successful comic books and a popular comic convention, many assume the 92-year-old Stan Lee has amassed a large fortune. But that might not necessarily be the case.
ComicBook.com reported in May that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” made Lee the highest-grossing movie producer of all time, beating even Steven Spielberg. In domestic sales alone, the second “Avengers” movie grossed more than $455 million; in global sales, the film generated $1.4 billion, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. The first “Avengers” movie grossed approximately $1.5 billion worldwide.
But in a 2012 interview with CNN, after the first “Avengers” film hit theaters, Lee said he didn’t bask in the profits the first movie grossed — even though he was an executive producer.
“I hate to admit this, but I do not share in the movie’s profits,” he said. “I just share in the interviews, in the glamour, in the people saying, ‘Wow, I love that movie, Stan’ — but I’m not a participant in the profits.”
He added that the executive producer role for “The Avengers” was “just an honorary title.”
Lee also told Playboy in 2014 that despite Disney paying more than $4 billion for Marvel in 2009, his fortune is not as high as some might think. In fact, he didn’t get any of the profits from the sale.
“My daughter was looking at the internet the other day and read that Stan Lee has an estimated $250 million,” he said. “I mean, that’s ridiculous! I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that.”
Net worth sites like CelebrityNetWorth.com and TheRichest.com report Stan Lee’s net worth is $50 million and $200 million, but it’s difficult to pinpoint Lee’s exact net worth and fortune. And, it’s unknown if Lee will get a share of the profits from the “Ant-Man” movie.
How Stan Lee Makes and Spends Money
Lee currently serves as chairman emeritus of Marvel as well as chairman and chief creative officer of Pow! Entertainment, which deals with developing and licensing intellectual properties for entertainment media such as films, television, merchandising, video games and more.
According to The Charlotte Observer and other media outlets, Marvel reportedly pays Lee $1 million per year for life “whether he does anything or not.” The writer for the newspaper griped that although Lee’s net worth might be in the $50 million range, he was recently seen selling autographs for $100 a pop.
But expensive autographs might be Lee’s way of making up for the fact that when it comes to real estate dealings, he is no superhero. He sold his $3.6 million home in the Hollywood Hills for a loss of nearly $1 million, reports Forbes. The setback didn’t exactly break him, however — Lee reportedly bought a new mansion off the Sunset Strip for $4.4 million.
Beyond the ‘Ant-Man’ Movie: Stan Lee Goes Global
Lee told Fortune that he wants every single one of his characters to get their own movie franchise — and many already have. More importantly, Lee wants his superheroes to be known worldwide.
After founding Pow! Entertainment in 2001 with Gill Champion, Lee has created characters specifically for audiences in Latin America, India and China.
Stan Lee is an icon for legions of young and old comic book fans across the globe. He has experienced several major financial setbacks and triumphs, including a lawsuit with Marvel — which he won in 2005 — and bankruptcies with Marvel and Stan Lee Media. But, he enters his mid-90s with the admiration of millions of adoring fans everywhere, which one can argue is worth more than a $50 million or $200 million net worth.
Expect to see Lee make a cameo appearance in the upcoming “Ant-Man” movie.