Image: Alex Bailey
Gal Gadot will not be attending this bogus internet pity party.
The real-life Wonder Woman is enjoying time with her husband and 3-month-old daughter after wrapping Justice League and a grueling global press tour for the sensationally successful Wonder Woman. No small part of that win: Its worldwide box office, now at $574 million, a powerful result that is surely already pumping bonus dollars into the Gadot family budget.
There are tens of millions of reasons to celebrate this, but you'd never know it from the bummer headlines that surfaced these past couple of days:
Superman Got Paid More Than Wonder Woman (Elle)
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman paycheck was surprisingly small (Daily Dot)
Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot Got Paid Shockingly Little for Her Lead Role (Teen Vogue)
Gal Gadot got paid WAY less for Wonder Woman than Henry Cavill got for Superman (Cosmopolitan)
The gist of these inflammatory headlines: While Gadot only made $300,000 for Wonder Woman, her Justice League co-star Henry Cavill made $14 million for Man of Steel. That would be shocking indeed — were it not patently false, journalistically unsound and downright irresponsible.
The entertainment industry's gender pay gap is a real issue, just one part of Hollywood's stubborn equality problem that has women in all roles walking into a stiff wind. Salaries and contracts are particularly murky, as they are complex and secretive (just like in real life); it's extremely rare and powerful to see examples come out into the open.
The gender pay gap is a real issue, and just one part of Hollywood's stubborn equality problem
Jennifer Lawrence did it, when she confirmed that she and Amy Adams had been paid less than their male counterparts for American Hustle; and Gadot's Wonder Woman co-star Robin Wright recently revealed that she demanded equal footing with Kevin Spacey for House of Cards. Both came directly from the source, and represent just the tip of the tip of the iceberg out here. It's tough.
But there is something troubling about using unsubstantiated numbers from dubious sources to cobble together outrage bait — which is exactly what happened here — at the expense of someone's success.
The Gadot/Cavill story seems to have originated with Elle, which took the $14 million figure from an old Forbes post citing a third-hand online source, then matching it up against a Variety story written when Gadot signed her initial contract back in 2014.
Those headlines smelled funny when they went viral on Tuesday morning, but now they really stink.
That's because by all accounts, including folks who've been briefed on negotiations, Gadot's $300,000 contract is industry standard for first-timers in a franchise — Chris Evans reportedly made roughly that for Captain America, Chris Hemsworth about half as much for Thor — and is laden with box-office bonuses and percentage points that dwarf that amount (if the film is a hit).
As for the $14 million estimate for Cavill — that's just standard hogwash. It's certainly possible that he's getting up into that range, if you gather up all his earnings for the three DC films he's made so far, including all that backend. But for his first film? Laughable.
Cavill and Gadot have identical deals — Gadot might even be making out a little better
So what's the truth? Pretty simple, really: The same folks who know about the franchise's talent compensation structure say that Cavill and Gadot have nearly identical deals — in fact, Gadot might even be making out a little better for her first film by the time you're reading this.
It's only going to get better for Gadot, as her agents are certainly busy re-negotiating the terms of her inevitable sequel — those three-picture deals never withstand a hit as big as Wonder Woman — not to mention the next action franchise she'll be heavily recruited to be a part of.
And she's going to be way more expensive this time. Wonder Woman didn't just launch a franchise — it minted a movie star, making a bona fide action hero out of an actor whose name we're still learning to pronounce.
So why drag her down into this vat of hot nonsense? Using sketchy sources to create a false scenario doesn't help anyone — it only makes Gadot seem weak, diminishing her accomplishment right at the moment when we were all enjoying the celebration of it.
Making someone out to be a victim who's not is its own form of victimization, and let's not. Gadot is no victim. She's a victor, fair and square.