Several sources are calling BS on Internet reports that Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot was paid a paltry $300,000 for the movie and that she was grossly underpaid compared to Justice League counterpart Henry Cavill. I’ve heard that might have been the figure she was supposed to get but that Warner Bros agreed to double it to around $600,000 before her movie began production. Add in the bonus checks she already has earned once Wonder Woman became a global blockbuster, and her payday is already in the multiple seven figures.
Salary specifics are hard to come by and Warner Bros isn’t commenting, but sources tell me Cavill got a comparable amount, certainly under $1M, to play Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel. That is a far cry from the $14M reported on the web.
Before this gets twisted into a narrative about gender discrimination, the truth is it is mostly about leverage. Warner Bros derived Cavill’s Superman quote based on what he made for The Tudors, and the studio based Gadot’s Wonder Woman quote based on her salaries from her recurring role in the Fast and the Furious movies. Whether it was Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man or Chris Evans in Captain America, many actors make six-figure salaries for the first superhero film, and salaries escalate from there. Word is that Downey (whose superhero paydays are now tens of millions of dollars) made as much as $5 million a day for three days of work on Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The exception to the low starting salary norm is someone like Will Smith, who came in a big star name and got around $13M for Suicide Squad against a cash-break backend. Ben Affleck also would have started at a higher salary because he was a star with an eight-figure quote before he put on the Batsuit.
There is a long tradition of actors who’ve built toward big sequel paydays after they burn through options. That is coming for Gadot, whose reps certainly will renegotiate her deal. She might not even have made more than co-star Chris Pine, because of his Star Trek quote. But she’ll bring her Wonder Woman character to several Justice League films and her own sequels and might be shoehorned into other DC movies like Aquaman, after her character scored so strongly in a solo debut that will soon cross $600M worldwide. She will be among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood for her superhero turns, soon enough.