Sharknado 5: Global Swarming star Ian Ziering is receiving a more substantial paycheck for the film than Gal Gadot's base pay for Wonder Woman. The Asylum and SYFY's Sharknado took the world by storm when it debuted on television in 2013. The made-for-TV movie was a viral sensation, inspiring more than 5,000 tweets a minute during its premiere airing, and Sharknado even received a one-night theatrical run. The Asylum has since churned out four sequels, with the latest hitting TV screens across the nation this Sunday. Sharknado 5 will see the film series' protagonist, the aptly named Fin Shepard (Ziering), battling shark-infested tornados all around the world.
The writing and directing team of Thunder Levin and Anthony C. Ferrante return for the fifth installment in The Asylum's Sharknado franchise, which has become somewhat of a pop culture staple over the last four years. The concept has even branched out into other realms, with a tie-in video game, novel, and mockumentary all being released, as well as a crossover with Archie Comics - not to mention the Sharknado franchise's crossovers with fellow SYFY fare, Z Nation and Lavalantula. While Sharknado and its sequels are obviously successful for SYFY, the film series' star's paycheck may still surprise some - especially when compared to that of the star of this summer's biggest movie.
According to a report from THR, Ziering is earning $500,000 for his turn as Fin in Sharknado 5, which Vox compared to the base pay of Gadot in this summer's smash hit, Wonder Woman. Earlier this year, Gadot's paycheck for Wonder Woman made headlines because her $300,000 base pay for the film was compared to the $14 million Henry Cavill earned for previous DCEU entry Man of Steel - though it has since been established the Superman actor's paycheck was almost certainly bolstered by bonuses from the film's box office and its followup, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Similarly, the $300,000 Gadot earned for Wonder Woman was part of a larger deal the actress struck with Warner Bros. when she joined the DCEU as Diana Prince. She earned a base pay of $300,000 per picture for her first three appearances - Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman, and the still upcoming Justice League - but that doesn't account for her own bonuses based on box office. (Wonder Woman far exceeded projections and has so far earned $791 million at the worldwide box office.) Additionally, the base pay Gadot received is comparable to that of Marvel Cinematic Universe actors Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth, who all received less than $500,000 as the base for their respective first entries in the superhero universe.
In terms of why Ziering's Sharknado 5 paycheck is so high, it's difficult to know for sure. Certainly, it's his fifth installment in The Asylum's most well-known franchise, and his character Fin - along with his trusty shark-killing chainsaw - is the face of the series. Additionally, it seems unlikely Ziering would receive any bonuses based on box office returns since the film isn't expected to screen in theaters. Plus, while we know the box office earnings of Wonder Woman, and can compare it to the film's reported budget, it's unclear exactly how profitable the Sharknado films are for The Asylum.
So, the $500,000 Ziering is receiving may be all he's paid for Sharknado 5. Comparatively, Gadot's $300,000 is only the start of what she earned on Wonder Woman. It's difficult to compare the two since their roles are so different, and Sharknado 5 is an entirely different beast than a theatrically released DCEU entry. Still, it's interesting to take a peek behind the curtain of Hollywood - especially with the ongoing to discussion of the pay gap in Hollywood.