'The Witcher': Henry Cavill Makes Major Sum for Playing Geralt

Henry Cavill is best known for roles in blockbuster movies, but even on the small screen his salary is nothing to sneeze at. A recente report by Variety discloses the actor's compensation for playing Geralt of Rivia on the Netflix original series The Witcher — a staggering $400,000 per episode. To some, this is a sign of the increasing value of TV in comparison to movies, while to others it is a sign of the impending "streaming bubble."

Cavill was reportedly paid nearly half a million dollars per episode for The Witcher Season 1, meaning he earned about $3.2 million for the production altogether. Season 2 of the epic fantasy saga is coming soon, which means Cavill is enjoying another substantial paycheck. The numbers still pale in comparison to his paydays from playing Superman in the DC Extended Universe, not to mention movies like Mission Impossible. The Variety report mentioned above gives the average reader a sense of scale by describing the general conventions for paying movie actors in recent decades. It says that $20 million is a general starting point for big theatrical releases — but the age of streaming could change that very soon.

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.