I thought something sounded fishy about the claim that the star of Wonder Woman made 46 times less than the star of the new Superman movies.
It would be perfectly indicative of the gender pay gap that lingers in Hollywood . . . if it were at all true. As the Elle article that sent the stat viral said itself, Cavill’s $14 million earnings include bonuses for box-office performance, while Gadot’s $300,000, per a 2014 Variety report, is just the base salary for each movie she’s made thus far in the DC Universe.
For superhero franchises just getting started, though, the process is usually simple: find a star on the rise, pay him or her relatively little, and then offer more if the franchise takes off. Marvel pioneered the effort with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth, all of whom were reportedly paid less than $500,000 for their first solo superhero outings but eventually landed much bigger paydays for subsequent entries. (Downey Jr. famously made $50 million for The Avengers, and helped his co-stars negotiate higher salaries themselves.) Cavill, like Hemsworth and Evans and Gadot when their franchises started, was more of an unknown and likely to have signed the same lowball salary contract with a promise of future returns.
So while Gadot’s $300,000 is pretty small compared with the millions her movie has made, she hasn’t sold herself short; the actress hasn’t yet signed a deal for the now-inevitable Wonder Woman 2, and her agents are surely already working to net their 10 percent of her much-larger payday. (Director Patty Jenkins is also expected to negotiate for a higher payday, even though her contract doesn’t include an option for a sequel, which Gadot’s does.) Given Wonder Woman’s popularity compared with the tepid returns for Batman’s and Superman’s latest outings, it’s not hard to imagine Gadot following in Robert Downey Jr.’s footsteps as the de facto leader of the franchise. First woman to be paid $50 million for a superhero movie? We wouldn’t be surprised.