Henry Cavill earns a massive salary for playing Geralt of Rivia on The Witcher, and he is not the only A-lister raking it in. A new report by Variety reveals the exorbitant salaries of some of the biggest stars in today’s “streaming boom.” For Witcher fans, the stand-out figure is probably Cavill’s $400,000 per episode fee.
Netflix reportedly pays Cavill about $400,000 per episode of The Witcher — nearly half a million dollars for each installment. There were eight episodes in Season 1 and another eight are coming this winter in Season 2, meaning Cavill is enjoying another $3.2 million payday for the season as a whole. It’s not that surprising for an actor who has played Superman on the big screen several times and appeared in blockbusters like Mission Impossible. For reference, another report by Variety earlier this month described the salaries of today’s movie stars, setting $20 million as the general starting point for a big theatrical release.
That movie payout would be followed by back-end earnings — assuming the movie surpasses its production budget at the box office. The work required for every production can vary greatly, but it is surprising for some to see such disparate numbers between a 2-hour movie and an 8-hour series.
Still, industry insiders familiar with the old TV landscape are shocked by the size of these paychecks in today’s “streaming boom.” Some have speculated that this is a kind of economic bubble which must burst eventually, but so far it shows no signs of slowing down. Streamers are still battling it out for dominance in a growing market where they are able to keep much of their key analytics data to themselves.
In the case of Cavill, we can at least be confident that he works hard for his money. His portrayal of Geralt of Rivia is stunt-heavy, and the actor has detailed his intense exercise and training regimen in order to be able to wield his swords — the silver and the iron one, depending on his foe. He even injured himself filming the Netflix original series earlier this year, though he recovered quickly enough to avoid a major production delay.
Cavill also wears some intense costume pieces in The Witcher, including colored contact lenses that apparently cause him a great deal of pain after a while. Since he is as committed to authenticity as fans are, he bears the burden.
The Witcher Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix, along with the new animated spinoff movie The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf. The Witcher Season 2 premieres on Dec. 17 on Netflix.