One of the hallmarks of superhero filmmaking in the modern, post-Marvel Studios model is to find a lead actor to portray the main character and grossly underpay them in their first film. You get away with that, of course, because there aren’t many credits for the actor and thus, no reason to pay them tens of millions of dollars. And you also avoid the Robert Downey, Jr. scenario, where the per-film payday can reach ridiculous highs. That’s exactly what happened with Gal Gadot and her early appearances as Wonder Woman in the DCEU. But thankfully, that apparently has gotten (much) better for “Wonder Woman 1984.”
According to a report from a recent Vanity Fair profile, Gal Gadot was only paid $300,000 to shoot the first “Wonder Woman.” Of course, when we talk about a film that earned more than $821 million worldwide, you can see WB got Gadot at a pittance compared to what her acting ability and charisma brought to the table. But then again, prior to that film, the actress’ largest role was in a ‘Fast and Furious’ sequel, where she was well below leading lady status. But for “Wonder Woman 1984,” Gadot reportedly earned $10 million, a 33x increase from her previous salary. Quite a nice jump, to say the least. But definitely still a steal for WB.
Sure, when we talk about actor salaries, there’s always going to be the person that says, “But, they just play pretend on screen and make millions of dollars, how can they be underpaid?” No, Gadot isn’t curing cancer, and she’s not working at a widget factory under terrible conditions. However, when you consider that Gadot’s name and face are plastered all over almost an entire film as well as the marketing (including merchandise, naturally), paying only $300,000 is absurd and $10 million seems like downright highway robbery. There’s a reason why in the final few MCU films, Robert Downey Jr was reportedly earning upwards of $75 million or more, with his backend perks being accounted for.
So, while it’s great to know that Gadot is earning $10 million for ‘WW84,’ it’s clear that her real big paydays are yet to come. In fact, we can already see that happening, as Gadot reportedly is set to earn $20 million just for her role opposite Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming Netflix action film, “Red Notice.” You have to assume that her deal for “Wonder Woman 3,” which is all but assured at this point, is going to be her biggest yet. At least, we can hope so. It’s clear that she deserves it.