If Netflix is known for anything other than its incredible assortment of classics and originals, it’s the shocking yet respectable budget that the platform is willing to spend on its productions’ cast members. With Netflix series and original shows becoming increasingly popular worldwide, many fans and aspiring professionals may wonder just how much Netflix actors make.
Netflix actors generally get paid per episode for Netflix original series or per production for Netflix original movies. Child actors usually get paid less than adult actors, but actors could get paid anywhere between $80,000 to $350,000 per episode (amounting to around $1 to $2 million in total) or larger sums of around $20 million or more for celebrity actors starring in Netflix original productions – depending on the role, experience, and other factors. According to Glassdoor base pay sits around $114,135/yr.
These figures may seem surprising, especially considering that many salaries are actually much higher than that of actors working for traditional production studios. Stick around to find out everything you need to know about the different factors that influence how much an actor would make while working for Netflix, as well as how much Netflix actors make.
How Much Do Netflix Actors Make?
In the past, most people might have believed that Netflix actors would naturally make far less money than Hollywood actors working for larger production studios – being the underdog for many years with a comparatively low net worth. But, Netflix has really risen to the occasion over the past few years, now being seen as one of the most successful companies and platforms of all time – even when putting Netflix up against other platforms like Disney Plus and HBO Max.
Back when Netflix was first getting the hang of the ropes, originals and unique productions were not as common, and the cast members were never seen as handsomely paid for their work – mostly being either aspiring or novice actors and young professionals. However, things started taking a turn when Netflix began recruiting some of the most infamous actors and actresses of all time – leading many Netflix viewers to wonder what the fuss is all about.
Assuming that iconic Hollywood actors had already been making tons of money in their standard roles, it just wouldn’t make sense for all of these professionals to join the Netflix team. But, the amount of money that Netflix pays its actors and actresses is absolutely staggering when compared to the payout made by traditional studios.
The average salary for an actor is approximately $43,583 per year in the United States, according to the Netflix Salary FAQ on Glass Door, with the base pay being $114,135 However, while there is a notably large gap, the average Netflix salary is still somewhere around $159,260 per year – which is approximately %73 higher than the average reported salary for an actor working for traditional studios. However, the average figure for both of these positions could be far higher depending on the individual cast member’s experience – although, even in these cases, Netflix still seems to have higher payouts.
But, generally speaking, there is no specific figure for how much Netflix actors get paid, as it can range anywhere between the high 5-figure mark to the 7-figure mark with salaries in the low millions – although some celebrity actors may see higher payouts more akin to what they’d get paid for Hollywood films. Similarly when working for massive titles and industry-leading production companies, it all comes down to how much Netflix is willing to pay a specific actor – combined with how much-renowned actors might ask for in order to accept the role in question.
What makes things vastly different between Netflix and traditional production studios is the fact that actors may typically make a percentage of the total profits made by the movie that they are cast into – in addition to their initial payment for their work. When it comes to Netflix, however, the actors’ salaries actually remain the same as the agreed-upon figure irrespective of how well or how poorly the title does upon its release.
The system of Netflix’s business framework does give them tons of leeway here, although they do have some pretty high budgets for Netflix originals – some with individual budgets of up to $200 million or even higher in some cases. But, since Netflix is technically a streaming platform and a production company, they save more money by not having to share profits and are able to pay their actors far more in turn.
Different Netflix Actor/ Actress Earnings
Considering that there is such a massive gap between the earnings of Netflix actors compared to others, it can be really tricky to pin down an estimated average. For example, the major hit Netflix series Stranger Things has seen plenty of variation in terms of how much the company has paid each actor over the series’ running.
Below is an overview of how much each main Stranger Things actor got paid for the Netflix series, as well as how these figures shifted over the series’ seasons according to Style Caster:
|Netflix Actor||Stranger Things Character||Season 1||Season 3|
|Winona Ryder||Joyce Byers||$100,000 per episode||$350,000 per episode|
|David Harbour||Jim Hopper||$80,000 per episode||$350,000 per episode|
|Millie Bobby Brown||Eleven||$20,000 per episode||$300,000 per episode|
|Finn Wolfhard||Mike Wheeler||$20,000 per episode||$250,000 per episode|
|Gaten Matarazzo||Dustin Henderson||$20,000 per episode||$250,000 per episode|
|Caleb McLaughlin||Lucas Sinclair||$20,000 per episode||$250,000 per episode|
|Noah Schnapp||Will Byers||$20,000 per episode||$250,000 per episode|
|Natalia Dyer||Nancy Wheeler||Unknown||$150,000 per episode|
|Joe Keery||Steve Harrington||Unknown||$150,000 per episode|
|Charlie Heaton||Jonathan Byers||Unknown||$150,000 per episode|
Judging by the various similarities and differences using the Stranger Things cast as an example, it’s safe to say that there is a clear link between the payouts and the production’s success, as well as that the child actors always get paid less than mature actors with experience. However, there is still variation in this area, since some child actors might get paid more per episode (or per Netflix original production in other cases) depending on their experience and role within the title.
When it comes to some of the most iconic Hollywood actors of all time being featured in various Netflix productions, things become even more complex. At times, certain actors will have a very specific figure that they are willing to accept in return for coming on board the Netflix production – but, Netflix is usually eager to hand over some generous payouts when compared to traditional production studios.
According to a report by Variety in 2019, Ryan Reynolds agreed to around $27 million to star in Six Underground, a film by Michael Bay that came to Netflix. At the same time, Will Smith likely earned about $35 million for his role in Bright 2 on Netflix, despite the original Bright (for which he was apparently paid $20 million) receiving some harsh criticism by fans and professionals.
An example that’s more relative to infamous Netflix actors’ salaries is Netflix’s The Gray Man, a Netflix original film casting the timeless heartthrob Ryan Gosling alongside the legendary Chris Evans – who’s well-known for taking the role of Marvel’s Captain America. Both of these esteemed actors are said to have agreed to approximately $20 million each for the production.
Many people may have expected the figures to be lower than those seen in classic blockbusters and cinematic hits – but, Netflix seems to be paying its best actors far more than most might have anticipated. However, there is no specific figure for any actor that works for Netflix – it all comes down to the value and talent of each actor, the role being cast, as well as the expected ratings of a Netflix original title.