The Avengers, the final film of Marvel’s Phase One slate of movies, was released in 2012 and made, by conservative estimates, all the money that has ever existed. So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that, by his own admission, the film’s director made more money putting out an internet musical than he did helming one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Variety reports that Joss Whedon has revealed he earned more money releasing his lo-fi oddball Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog than he did for writing and directing The Avengers, which means it’s time for everyone to send Whedon one of those “You’re doing it wrong” memes.
The fact was revealed during a Paleyfest panel that staged a reunion of the cast for Whedon’s 2008 web series, a three-part story about a wannabe supervillain and his efforts to simultaneously win the heart of his crush and strike fear into the hearts of everyone else. While it’s not shocking to hear a studio famous for not wanting to pay people anything didn’t exactly pony up the big bucks, it’s insane that his deal was so chintzy, a $1.5 billion-plus movie netted him less than a homemade musical that couldn’t afford to pay much of its crew until after the fact. Not that we should cry for Whedon: That second Avengers movie—along with all his consulting and production work—paid him plenty. Which is fair, because it sounds like the experience of making it sucked.