Update: We're unable to verify whether Henry Cavill earned $14 million from Man Of Steel, so while there absolutely is a gender pay gap within Hollywood, Gal Gadot and Cavill's salaries can't be confirmed as an example of it.
The Hollywood gender pay gap has long been an issue that's received a lot of attention, with numerous actresses opening up about their personal experiences with pay inequality. Yet it remains an ongoing struggle for women within the entertainment industry. Sadly, we've received another disappointing example, this time from Gal Gadot for her starring role in mega-blockbuster Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot Has Been Criminally Underpaid For Her Involvement In The DCEU
When the actress was cast as Diana Prince in 2014, Variety revealed she had signed a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. –– a deal that's now been fulfilled through Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, #WonderWoman and the upcoming #JusticeLeague.
That same year, the Israeli entertainment show Good Evening with Gai Pines revealed that #GalGadot would be paid a mere $300,000 per film, which means she earned less than $1 million for three movies –– including one in which she was the protagonist.
Now, keep in mind that it's understandable for Gadot to have earned $300,000 for Batman v Superman. At that point in her career she was far from a household name and the movie marked her first appearance as Diana Prince, with limited screen time. However, that shouldn't have been the case for her solo turn in Wonder Woman, which begs the question:
Did Gal Gadot Get A Fair Deal?
Short answer: Not really. Other superhero actors have received similarly small pay packets in the past. Indeed, Chris Evans received $300,000 for his first appearance as Steve Rogers in #TheFirstAvenger, while Chris Hemsworth received a paltry $200,000 for 2011's Thor.
The thing is, Gadot can't be put in the same playing field as either of those actors. Neither Evans nor Hemsworth had appeared as their characters prior to their solo movies, while Gadot, on the other hand, had already appeared as Diana Prince in #BatmanvSuperman. To top it all off, her performance earned her critical acclaim and is regarded by many as the best part of that film. This alone should have been the leverage she needed for more zeroes in her paycheck.
Now, let's compare Gadot's pay with that of another heavy hitter in the DC Extended Universe: Henry Cavill. According to Forbes, #HenryCavill was paid $14 million for Man of Steel, the movie that kicked-started the #DCEU. That price tag included box office bonuses, but the sum indicates his paycheck was much bigger than Gadot's from the start. (Update: Vanity Fair quotes a source denying the rumored $14 million figure for Man of Steel: "It certainly isn't for one picture. That's insane. ... Entry level actors in franchise films are paid an initial rate. As a franchise takes off, they stand to make more money. … If you do an apples to apples comparison, she was paid at least as much as he was.")
Many actors often have it written into their contracts that they'll be rewarded with bonuses after their movies pass certain financial milestones. Wonder Woman has broken box office records since its release, so Gadot will likely receive some kind of compensation. But her need for that compensation so her pay equals that of her male co-stars highlights how big the gender pay gap is between the female lead and her DC contemporaries.
Since hitting the silver screen as Wonder Woman, Gadot has become a highly sought-after talent, which will surely boost the fee she commands in the future. But that's not the point. Equal pay should not be a matter of seeing how things turn out later on.
The gender pay gap will continue if situations like this aren't openly discussed. We're talking about Gadot, an international actress who has access to media outlets that give her a platform. But the reality is, there are millions of women in all kinds of jobs who experience a similar situation, but who don't have a voice or a platform to speak on their behalf. While things won't change overnight, hopefully this exposure will help things evolve in the near future.
Justice League hits cinemas on November 17. Wonder Woman is currently in theaters, so go catch it.