Vanity Fair has fact-checked the recent viral outrage over Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot supposedly being paid 46 times less than Man of Steel star Henry Cavill for their work on similar films.
“It was a jaw-dropping stat that swiftly went viral Tuesday morning: Gal Gadot, the magnetic star of the summer hit Wonder Woman, was paid just $300,000 for a film that had already made $573 million worldwide. Meanwhile, Henry’s Cavill had been paid $14 million—46 times as much!—for his own first outing as Superman in Man of Steel.
It would be perfectly indicative of the gender pay gap that lingers in Hollywood. . . if it were at all true. As the Elle article that sent the stat viral said itself, Cavill’s $14 million earning include bonuses for box office performance, while Gadot’s $300,000, per a 2014 Variety report, is just the base salary for each film she’s made thus far in the DC Universe,” they continued. “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.’
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.) Cavill, like Hemsworth and Evans and Gadot when their franchises started, was more of an unknown, and likely to have signed the same lowball salary contract with a promise of future returns.
Despite Vanity Fair’s explanation, the exaggerated facts, which were pushed by Elle Magazine, have since gone viral, with Teen Vogue‘s Lauren Duca receiving over 10,000 retweets and 20,000 likes on an outraged Twitter post, which was also shared by Piers Morgan, who responded, “Now THIS is sexism.”
Now THIS is sexism. https://t.co/F8wn4GuIAb
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 20, 2017
You can read the full report at Vanity Fair.