Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Age of Ultron” smashed the box office this weekend, pulling in $191.3 million in the U.S. and giving it the second-best domestic opening weekend ever.
It’s no surprise, then, that a T-shirt with an image of Bruce Lee that Robert Downey Jr. wears in the movie is selling out. And it’s no accident that the T-shirt is in the movie either — Downey Jr. is such a fan of the shirt that he single-handedly got it into “Avengers.”
Created by Peter Lee (no relation to Bruce) for his Los Angeles-based company Bow and Arrow, Inc., the gray tee, called “Gung Fu Scratch,” sports an image of a shirtless, DJing Bruce Lee that’s been heavily Photoshopped. Lee was never a DJ, but he’s shown standing behind a turntable while wearing a gold chain, sunglasses, headphones and a gold bracelet — all accessories added to the original Lee image.
“I really wanted to see Bruce Lee relevant in today’s age.”
The company has an exclusive licensing agreement with the estate of Bruce Lee to sell his likeness on T-shirts. Downey Jr. discovered the T-shirt during a meeting with Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon. He liked it so much that she gave him the tee, which retails for $34. After that, Lee built a relationship with Downey Jr.’s entourage, who started requesting more of the shirts. Soon thereafter, Downey Jr. was seen sporting the shirt everywhere, from “Late Show with David Letterman” to Jamie Foxx’s daughter’s birthday party.
Peter Lee estimates that during an average weekend, his company does around $600 in web sales. Since the release of the “Avengers” sequel, Lee said he’s seen an increase of about 10,000% in sales. That’s 1,000 orders for a variety of shirts featuring the image of Bruce Lee, totaling about $60,000 in sales. Downey. Jr. is not the only celeb to have been seen wearing the Lee tee. Nick Cannon, Snoop Dogg, RDJ, Will Smith and NBA star Jeremy Lin have all also been spotted wearing the shirt.