There’s a lot of discussion about the pay gap in Hollywood, a discussion about whether female actors are paid fairly in comparison to their male counterparts. Often times, this isn’t the case, as illustrated by that time Natalie Portman was paid less than Ashton Kutcher. Now there’s a new controversy over whether Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) was paid less than Henry Cavil (Superman).
You see, according to Forbes, Henry Cavill, who recently played Superman in the latest series, earned $14 million for “Man of Steel.” Meanwhile, Gadot is reported to have made $300,000 for the inaugural Wonder Woman film–a lot less.
But there are some complications to those figures–not that it erases entirely what they imply, as Elle pointed out. Gadot signed a contract in 2014 that agreed to $300,000 paycheck for each DC movie she does–which does not include a bonus if the film overperforms. Whereas, “Cavill’s Man of Steel earnings do include such bonuses.”
According to CBR, megastar Chris Evans made the same 300k figure for his first appearance in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Vanity Fair also pointed out that the figures are a bit misleading, stating:
“Though the details of Cavill’s reported $14 million could not be verified, a source with knowledge of studio negotiations on franchise films told Vanity Fair, ‘It certainly isn’t for one picture. That’s insane.’
The same source said of Gadot’s salary, “Entry-level actors in franchise films are paid an initial rate. As a franchise takes off, they stand to make more money.” So if she signed a deal similar to Cavill’s, the Wonder Woman bonus checks will soon be rolling in—and the sequels could be even more lucrative. Says a source familiar with both Cavill and Gadot’s contract negotiations, “If you do an apples to apples comparison, she was paid at least as much as he was.”
When it comes to what the movies earned, they’re relatively even. According to Box Office Mojo, “Man of Steel” made about $290 million in the U.S., while “Wonder Woman,” which is still in theaters, has already made up around $274 million. And there’s still plenty of time to rack in more $$$. So, you know, take that, “Superman.” It is true, this is Gadot’s first featured role, as opposed to being a supporting character, so who knows what will happen for later movies in the franchise.
In the end, while it’s clearly complicated why certain people make more than others, much less try to figure out why, it’s an important conversation to have for women and marginalized groups. Salary comparisons in industries from Hollywood to fast food to clerical jobs enable people to make sure they’re being given a fair shake. In general, people aren’t transparent when they talk about money and salary, and we need to be, if we do want to advocate for women to get paid equally. Ultimately, this isn’t just about Gadot, it’s about all of us.