In recent days, there has been yet another case of the media taking advantage of a misleading story and turning it into profit by preying on the emotions of people. This time, they used the feminist movement to do so when an unfactual Tweet from Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca emerged claiming, “Gal Gadot made $300,000 for Wonder Woman as compared to Henry Cavill’s $14M for Man of Steel. The most compelling DC villain is the Pay Gap.”, on June 20th, 2017. Since then the media has been in an uproar of attacks against Hollywood, Warner Bros, and Henry Cavill. The reason I’m sitting down today is that like most of the time when these things occur, this is entirely out of context and spreading like a wildfire. So, today I’m going to lay out several facts and comparisons as well as point out where things went wrong. Hopefully, this shameful crime against journalism can be corrected and we may be allowed to look to the future rather than continuing to try and stay stuck in the past.
Contrary to what many now believe, the fact is that Gal did not make 42 times less than Henry Cavill did in his first outing with the franchise. In fact, they made exactly the same amount as both were paid base salaries of $300,000, which do not include performances bonuses or merchandise percentages and without those figures, it would be impossible to make a comparison. It appears that Cavill got nowhere near the $14M that Duca suggested. So how did she come up with this number? Well, after some digging it appears that Duca got her info from an older Forbes article, but what she didn’t realize is that that was Henry Cavill’s estimated net worth in its entirety as it was after the Man of Steel films release. What that means is that this $14M is an estimated sum from all of his previous work at the time, which stretches over a decade and involves over a dozen acting credits, including a 38 Episode run on The Tudors and his lead roles in The Cold of Light and The Immortals. It is also important to note that the original number didn’t even come from Forbes, but instead from a widely considered “unreliable click-bait drove” site. His actual net worth is still unknown to the general public.
At the time of Gal Godot’s contract signing for Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman and Justice League on December 3rd, 2013, – all of which were base salaries of $300,000 – she had been in nearly a dozen productions herself. This resume included three notable supporting roles in the ‘Fast and Furious franchise, in 2009, 2011, as well as, earlier that year of 2013. Gal’s credits had taken place over the course of just over a half of a decade, and you may still think she deserves a higher salary based off of this track record, but you need to keep in mind that Gal had yet to star in any notable lead roles and somehow still got paid $300K for yet another supporting role in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This once again does not show anything to the performance bonuses and merchandise percentages attached to her contract; however, I would bet that they look about the same, as they should, and with Wonder Woman being the fourth entry into this cinematic universe and now the most successful with over 570 million dollars at the Global Box Office and climbing after just less than three weeks out, she is certain to have already made more than Henry Cavill did for his first solo film. On top of all this, people have to realize that Wonder Woman was a character that had never been done before on the big screen and in fact, had only a handful of appearances on any screen; whereas characters like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man however, are as sure-fire of a mega-hit as you can get.
If you compare Gadot and Cavill’s base salaries for their first solo titles to the base salaries of the actors over at Marvel for their first outings, Gadot and Cavill actually come out above par. A lesser known actor, such as Chris Hemsworth, only made a base salary of $200,000 as compared to Gadot and Cavill’s $300,000. A more known and established actor like Chirs Evans who had at the time already appeared in a superhero franchise before, as well as, received 4 nominations on nearly 30 acting credits in well over a decade, including well-known titles like Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer, Scott Pilgrim V The World, The Losers, and Street Kings, had actually only got paid $300,000 himself. Reports suggest that for the first Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. made only $250,000 and that included all of his insurance costs due to his addictions and trouble with the law at the time.
Now let’s compare the salaries for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was the second Avengers film and the eleventh film in Marvel’s current cinematic universe. The previously established star that Jeremy Renner was able to renegotiate his contract to $6.1M for his third supporting role for Marvel and previously mentioned Chris Evans was able to renegotiate his contract to $6.9M for his fourth outing for Marvel including two lead roles. Chris Hemsworth who made only $200K for his first lead role went on to renegotiate his base salary to $5.4M for his fourth outing at Marvel including two lead roles. Let’s look at Scarlett Johansson who is not only also female and would be subject to this “pay gap”, but was a well-known actress before joining Marvel and had held three supporting roles with the franchise already, was able to renegotiate her pay for her fourth supporting role to a $20M base salary. Robert Downey Jr. in his fifth outing for Marvel including three lead roles – not including his uncredited cameo in The Incredible Hulk – was able to renegotiate his base pay to a whopping $40M, but what people need to realize here is that Downey Jr. went on from the first Iron Man to star in several leading roles that received both critical and box office success during this time including, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Due Date, Tropic Thunder and The Judge bringing him to a monstrous 81st acting credit with Age of Ultron.
At the end of the day, we learned three things. The first being that Gal Gadot not only did not get a “Criminally Low” pay for Wonder Woman nor Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but landed above the average rate on the comparable spectrum. The second thing we need to keep in mind is that franchises like these launch career’s or in some cases even revive them much like Robert Downey Jr or even Chris Hemsworth who since launching his career on the backs of Marvel has starred in several major films including Snow White and The Huntsman, Red Dawn, Rush, Blackhat, Huntsman: Winter’s War, and has even taken part in Star Trek and Ghostbusters. Gal Gadot is not new to this having experienced it already when she was thrust into the spotlight after appearing in her several supporting roles for the Fast and Furious franchise. The third and final thing to remember is that Gadot has the option to renegotiate her contract for the Justice League sequel, the highly likely Wonder Woman sequel, as well as any of the countless future appearances within this franchise, and it will be then that she will see a bigger base salary. Nothing has occurred here other than the common practice that everyone before her has dealt with as well. This is a result of jumping to conclusions without properly investigating the context that is much needed to understand any situation, and this tragedy is an ongoing and growing issue in journalism. We hope this cleared things up for everyone, as well as, gave everyone a better understanding as to the way things in Hollywood actually work.
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Written and Edited by, Jack Flowers.