Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Pay Gap Is a Viral Misunderstanding

Still via Warner Bros.
Still via Warner Bros.

The astounding success of Wonder Woman has made Gal Gadot a household name, and both she and director Patty Jenkins stand to make a lot of money during negotiations for the inevitable Wonder Woman 2. But how much did they make for this blockbuster to start with?


While I was personally willing to be outraged by any number as too small, presented a very compelling case for my rage when they wrote that there was a discrepancy of $13,700,000 between Gadot and Superman Henry Cavill’s paycheck:

Gal Gadot reportedly earned $300,000 for Wonder Woman, while Henry Cavill, as Superman, earned $14 million for Man of Steel. Aside from movie stars, there are regular people who make more than Gadot did for Wonder Woman. Your average anesthesiologist makes more than that in a year.

Whu-whu-whut? How could this be? The statistic Elle cited was on Forbes, in an article that discusses “the Batman/Superman pay gap,” the most pressing wage issue of our times. They also mention a post from 2014 from Variety which announced Gadot’s DC Universe contract. Supposedly, she would be paid $300,000 for every film she picked up the lasso for, but it must be remembered that Wonder Woman’s first appearance is in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gadot’s role in that film was much smaller than those whose names were in the title.

As Vanity Fair reports, while trying to unwind this tangle, most superheroes make around the same amount when they’re just starting out. Unbelievable as it may seem, taking the career path of “superhero franchise lead” is now a job with standards and history:

For superhero franchises just getting started, though, the process is usually simple: find a star on the rise, pay them 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.)

Stories of women actors being paid shockingly little compared to their male co-stars are common enough that this huge pay gap seems entirely believable—but that doesn’t mean it’s true. And it’s probably not, because no one can figure out where Forbes got the number $14 million from. An insider told VF, “It certainly isn’t for one picture. That’s insane.”

In a post on the misunderstanding for Vulture, reporter Kyle Buchanan writes that a source told them that “Cavill made a six-figure paycheck comparable to Gadot’s for Man of Steel” while Amy Adams made even more to play Lois Lane, somewhere in the seven figures. That’s the Amy Adams pay gap, which only applies to Amy Adams.


There is a rumor that Forbes grabbed the wildly off paycheck number from a website called The Richest, which tells you... who is the richest:


However, much like the stat itself that remains unconfirmed.

Basically, it’s a wealth of misinformation, but we do know that Gadot is in a good position to earn a lot more very soon. After catching flack for their wild claims, Elle added an update:

Update: Though Forbes reported that Cavill made $14m for Man of Steel, is unable to confirm that number. If anything, Gal Gadot’s salary is opening up the conversation about who gets paid what in Hollywood. And, again, it’s all probably more than you make.


Hey, that’s true. Glad I found something to be mad about after all.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin


Masshole James, Unstable Genius

You explained this well; Gal Gadot was unknown so she made nothing compared to Cavill. If Wonder Woman had starred Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps our biggest movie star, she would have earned $20 million or more against a huge percentage of the gross ‘cause Jennifer is a proven box office star that brings people into the theater. Gadot is not. Gadot will get paid for the sequel, tho, because WW is a smash.

(I would agree that it’s a crime and proof of Hollywood’s sexism that Cavill even makes close to what Lawrence makes because outside of the Superman movies, all his films bomb. He’s not a movie star. Lawrence makes a hit out of everything she’s in, including that garbage fire of a movie Joy, which made over a $100 million just because she’s in it.)