The Million Dollar Reason Netflix Is Landing Hollywood's Biggest Stars

If Netflix is known for anything — it's a big budget. The streaming giant releases 90 original films a year, some with individual budgets of up to $200 million. Last year, Netflix spent $12.04 billion on content — and that figure is expected to grow $15 billion this year.
What's also staggering: how much Netflix pays its actors compared to more traditional studios. With most film projects, actors make a percentage of the film's profits in addition to their initial take-home pay, but in the case of Netflix films, which aren't syndicated or released theatrically, actors' salaries stay the same no matter how many times a film is streamed. Netflix films don't make money in the box office, and the company rarely releases any ratings data. So to compensate for this discrepancy, Netflix pays its stars more. Plus, because they are both a production company and a distribution company, they can pad their actors' salaries with the money they save by not having to share profits.
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Today, Variety released the salaries of the stars of this year's biggest blockbusters — including Ryan Reynolds, who is making $27 million to star in Michael Bay's next film coming to Netflix, Six Underground, and Will Smith, who will likely earn $35 million for his role in Bright 2 on Netflix, despite the original Bright (for which he was allegedly paid $20 million) getting roasted by critics.
Also on the list: Gal Gadot, who famously made a disproportionately low amount of money for Wonder Woman, but will be paid the much more appropriate figure of $10 million to reprise her role in Wonder Woman 1984, as well as Margot Robbie, who will earn $9 to $10 million for her upcoming film, Birds of Prey, and Emily Blunt, who will make $12 to $13 million for her upcoming role in A Quiet Place 2. But despite the somewhat comparable salaries across gender in Variety's list, it's worth noting that as recently as last year, George Clooney, the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, made more than the 10 highest-paid actresses across the board combined — and we're still a far cry from parity when it comes to paying men and women equally for their onscreen roles.
But with Shonda Rhimes set to produce eight upcoming Netflix series and Netflix's ever-growing influx of romcoms with their very only Netflix-founded star system, Netflix has a unique opportunity to help close this gender wage gap — especially when it comes to co-stars, like in the case of Claire Foy, who earned less than her co-star Matt Smith in The Crown — firmly in the past.
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