When you need something done, sometimes you just got to do it yourself. That's what Netflix has done, taking the television world by storm with their original programming. Their deep pockets have become a major threat to both the studios, and the television networks and the quality of their shows and films have been excellent since the start. When it comes to them paying the stars of their shows and movies, however, Netflix seems to be all over the place. They have some stars locked in at the very high end of the financial spectrum as well as those on the very bottom rungs. Since they're so secretive about their finances, it is difficult to get detailed information on everyone, but we have managed to dig up some numbers that you all might find interesting.
Since they started pumping out original programming, Netflix has upped its game in a big way. They had a great run of consistency. For a long time, they even refused to cut any of their shows, but that's all changing now. They're now planning on taking more risks on unique content. But, with risk comes more failure and more cuts. For the most part, Netflix's shows spend the bulk of their budgets on production value, which has paid off huge. That's led to some big-time stars taking haircuts, agreeing to smaller salaries for the greater good, or to get their foot in the proverbial Netflix door because the streaming service has shown that they take care of their own. Early on, most of the stuff we saw on Netflix starred lesser-known actors, so the pay reflected their status properly. Even there, however, it is weird to see stars of incredibly huge shows making peanuts. As the promise of original programming grew, Netflix started nabbing some of the biggest names in the business. Now, many of them have starring roles on Netflix and, as expected, these stars are bringing home gigantic paychecks. So, not everyone is taking home pennies on the dollar. Let's take a look at the biggest extremes of the bunch.
Here are 15 Netflix Actors Whose Net Worths Will Shock You.
15 Millie Bobby Brown
It wasn't long ago that Millie Bobby Brown was a regular little girl. Then, when there was a glimmer of hope that she could be a successful actress, her family sold nearly everything they had to move to Hollywood and give their daughter a chance. That was before the now 13-year-old starred in Stranger Things and became one of the industry's real "it" girls. As soon as the show was released, Brown instantly became a star. Today, she's worth about $3 million. That's not the big news, though. Since she's become such a colossal star in the industry, there's a price tag that comes with that sort of notoriety. Moving forward, Brown will command more than $3 million per film. That means that her next film will double her current net worth.
14 Taylor Schilling
With a paltry net worth of only $1.5 million, Taylor Schilling is more ordinary than most on this list. She came in to her big fame with Orange is the New Black, and despite the huge following the show has received, the stars are still locked up relatively cheap. Schilling, who is paid at one of the highest rates on the show, makes only about $35,000 per episode. Since her character is also one of the most annoying on the show, this salary makes sense to us, but some think it's too low. It's unclear how Schilling's fame will translate in other roles. We bet that she commands a great deal more money after OITNB, but she could revert back to anonymity? Nah. She's blonde and beautiful. She'll do alright.
13 Stranger Things Rugrats
Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Will Byers, and Caleb McLaughlin were total unknowns before they showed up in Stranger Things. These days, each of these kids has a net worth around $2 million and never pay for their own drinks. Well, they won't pay for their own drinks when the time comes. Either way, their net worths are increasing daily. During the first season of the hit show, these little guys only made $10,000 per episode. That's a far cry from each of the adults on this list and even less than the other kids. The Duffer brothers should consider themselves lucky. Even after the show blew up and became the phenomenon that it is today, these kids still aren't demanding a whole lot. Perhaps their contracts for the second season were already drawn up because for season two, they're only making $20,000 per episode. Yeah, that's a lot of money for an average Joe, and it's double what they made last season. But that's considerably less than they're worth. To put it in perspective, that's not even enough to money to pay for the ink to be able to write all the zeroes in the Big Bang Theory's cast's paychecks. Something's amiss here.
12 Fuller House Rugrats
The actual net worth numbers for the kids on Fuller House are not readily available, but these kids made a killing on the once-popular show's less-popular revival. While we've shown that the kids from Stranger Things basically made peanuts to lead one of the most popular shows in television history, the kids on Fuller House made more money to be the background noise in one of the year's more overrated television shows. Take 14-year-old Sonia Bringas for example, the little girl who plays Kimmy Gibbler's daughter, Ramona. She made $15,000 an episode. Michael Campion, the kid who plays D.J. Tanner's son, made $12,000 an episode. And then, there's 9-year-old Elias Harger, who played D.J.'s other son. He made $10,000 an episode. While each of these kids were pretty good in a vacuum, they were just as unknown as the other kids on this list when they started, but they earned considerably more money. That's all changed now, however, as some of these kids will draw a lot more than others. We'll leave the predictions up to you from here.
11 Jane Fonda And Lily Tomlin
Jane Fonda is worth a crazy $120 million. Her friend and co-star, Lily Tomlin, is worth about 15 million. There's a big disparity there, but that's not what concerns these women. They both star on Grace and Frankie and make a ton of money (if the reports of Netflix salaries are consistent). Still, the two stars were not happy with the fact that their male costars, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, make the same amount as them. In an interview, they said that doesn't make them happy. "No," they said. "The show is not ‘Sol and Robert’—it’s ‘Grace and Frankie.'" Apparently, the actresses said that these remarks were taken out of context, which is the classic "foot-in-mouth" response. Context or no, the point was made. They want Sheen and Waterston to be paid less.
10 Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts has been one of Hollywood's leading ladies for a long stretch. She's one of the most talented and one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, and she's paid handsomely. Worth about $30 million, which sounds less than it should be, Watts is about to add to that wealth. Netflix signed the blonde beauty for the show Gypsy and has paid her $275,000 per episode. Although the show is not getting the reviews it would early on, Netflix pays guaranteed money upfront, so Watts has nothing to worry about. No takesie-backsies.
9 Joel Kinnaman
If you aren't a major film and TV fan, you probably don't know who Joel Kinnaman is. Sure, he's been in several huge projects, including House of Cards, The Killing, The Suicide Squad, and more, but he doesn't have that high-profile name yet. Still, Netflix knew his name, and they felt he was worth a massive pay day when they signed him on to star in Altered Carbon. Now, Kinnaman is getting $350,000 per episode and still, nobody knows his name. That kind of money is going to take his miniscule $6 million net worth and double it, at least.
8 Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler is everyone's favorite comedian. Oh, you don't like him? Weird. Well, sadly, this type of thing isn't weird anymore. Hating on Sandler has been the trendy thing for people to do for a while now. Sure, he's made some bad films, but he also makes decent films that people pretend they hate because that's the cool thing to do. You see, Netflix doesn't care what people say. It cares about what people do. And what people do is watch Adam Sandler movies when no one's around. Worth about $350 million on a slow day, Sandler is paid $15 million for every film he does with Netflix. He's paid an additional $5 million for films he produces. That means he makes about $20 million to make Ridiculous 6. That's a good day...or days...or however long it took to make that movie.
7 Chris Rock And Dave Chappelle
When the news broke that Netflix had signed both Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle to make comedy specials, the world was delighted. Neither comedian is seen very much these days, and they're both still loved by the majority of people. With Rock's net worth of $70 million and Chappelle's at less than $50 million, these two were borderline starving when Netflix came to them with the offer. The streaming service offered them each $20 million per stand-up special. Rock took on two and Chappelle took on three. That means that both stars are doubling or nearly doubling their net worths over the course of the next couple of years, and the world gets some great comedy for their troubles.
6 Chelsea Handler
Worth about $40 million, Chelsea Handler has made her shtick into a marketable ticket. Brought on recently by Netflix to put out the first talk show on the streaming service, Handler was paid a crazy $10 million for the first season. The big thing here is that the Chelsea Handler show will be different than all other talk shows. Instead of doing an opening monologue, Handler just opens her show by talking by herself to the audience. It's kind of like a monologue but different. Also, instead of bringing on guests and interviewing them like other talk shows have done for years, Handler is bringing on guests and talking to them. Wait a minute, is she just doing a normal talk show? How the heck is this different?
5 Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore has been a major draw in the film industry for a long time. Say what you will about her movies, but she's one hell of an actress and most of the world sees that. Netflix saw that too. After a lifetime of quality work and even higher-quality partying, Barrymore is now worth about $125 million. When Netflix brought her on to costar with Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet, one of the network's more underrated shows, they decided to make her a whole lot richer. Making about $350,000 per episode for the show, Barrymore seems to have struck gold. The best part about her salary is that the Santa Clarita Diet episodes are only 30 minutes long. That means Drew is making $3,500 a minute. That's about $60 per second. That's a lot of money.
4 Emma Stone And Jonah Hill
For the past couple of years, Jonah Hill has been selecting roles as if they're passion projects. He took the SAG minimum to appear in Wolf of Wall Street, and he didn't break the bank in Moneyball before that. Still, the guy is worth about $60 million, so it's not like he's hurting. Emma Stone is similar in many ways. Although she's only worth about $18 million, she too has chosen roles lately that aren't the highest-paying jobs available to her but they've garnered her incredible critical acclaim—roles in such films as Birdman and La La Land. Neither of these two actors were underpaid by Netflix, though. When they were brought on board for their upcoming show Maniac, both were given an astounding $350,000 per episode.
3 Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey does it all. He's an actor, a producer, a director, a writer; he's everything. He's also one of the highest-paid actors on television and one of the reasons that Netflix's original programming is creating waves in the industry. Worth more than $100 million on paper, Spacey is constantly upping that value. For seasons one and two of House of Cards, Spacey earned $5 million for each season. The next season after that–number three if you're good at counting–he nearly doubled his price tag, making $9 million. These days, Spacey is earning $10 million per season. That's $500,000 per episode, plus some bonuses. Well done, Mr. President.
2 Lauren Graham And Alexis Bledel
This is a two-for-one from the ladies of Gilmore Girls. At first glance, these stars aren't worth all that much. Lauren Graham has a net worth of $15 million and Alexis Bledel is worth about $9 million, but those numbers are bound to change after the massive pay day these two just received from Netflix. In order to convince the stars to bring their fast-talking act to the streaming giant's platform, Netflix paid both Bledel and Graham a mind-blowing $3 million. Now, that may not sound like much, but the latest season (or whatever you want to call it) of Gilmore Girls was only four episodes. That means they made $750,000 per episode, the most in Netflix history. What's even more shocking is, since these actresses speak so damn fast, they're actually getting paid the SAG minimum per spoken word. No, that's probably not true, but slow it down girls. We can't understand a word you're saying.
1 Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld must feel pretty bad about himself that he isn’t worth a billion dollars. What kind of self-respecting comedian isn't worth a cool billion? This guy's sitting around with a net worth of only $820 million like a chump. Well, it appears that Seinfeld is trying to remedy his situation by signing a new mega deal with Netflix. The streaming service acquired the rights to his latest season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee for $100 million. Sure, not all of that goes to Jerry. But considering it costs maybe $14 to film one of the episodes, and it's pretty much all Seinfeld, we can be sure that he takes home the bulk of that money. If Netflix takes on five seasons of the show, we're willing to bet that Seinfeld's net worth breaks $1 billion.
Sources: Wikipedia; the Richest; Forbes; IMDB