‘Stranger Things’: The Cast is Blowing the Salaries of Other Child Actors Out of the Water

Stranger Things started out as nothing more than an experiment for Netflix. The series played on 80s nostalgia and audiences’ love of all things paranormal. But it was still a risk. A show with a cast of children could have bombed.

But somehow, not only did the show do well, it turned out to be a bonafide success.

By Season Three, the show was garnering over 40 million viewers.

@Stranger_Things 3 is breaking Netflix records!” Netflix’s official Twitter account wrote. “40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch — more than any other film or series in its first four days. And 18.2 million have already finished the entire season.”

If you want to compare that to other series, in April, Netflix’s show, The Umbrella Academy was viewed in 45 million member households in a month, in January, Sex Education and You were both on track to reach 40 million global views in a month, as well. Stranger Things did more than that in a week. 

And with lots of views come big paychecks.

How much did the cast make for the first season?

Before the show aired, Netflix wasn’t doling out the big dollars for a cast they weren’t sure could deliver.

The biggest name on the roster, Winona Ryder, originally made $100,000 per episode. David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper, only made $80,000 per episode. All of the kids made $20,000 each per episode of the hit show for the first season.

How much did the cast make for season three?

For Season Three of the show, the cast’s salaries were separated into tiers. The majority of the actors made the same amount. Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), and Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), all earn $250,000 per episode.

Newer members of the cast like Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery, who play Max Mayfield and Billy Hargrove, only make $150,000 per episode.

Ryder, Harbour, and Millie Bobby Brown all fall into the highest tier. They each earn $350,000 per episode of the iconic series.

How much do other child stars make?

Since there were eight episodes in Season Three, Wolfhard, Matarazzo, McLaughlin, Dyer, Heaton, and Schnapp all earned $2 million for the season.

Brown earned a whopping $2.8 million for her portrayal of Eleven in the last season of the show.

That’s a lot for a child actor.

In comparison, Miley Cyrus only earned $15,000 per episode of Hannah Montana and Miranda Cosgrove was earning $180,000 per episode of iCarly by 2012.

Even if you look at more recent child actors, the paychecks still don’t match those of the Stranger Things cast.

Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould are both a part of the wildly popular show, Modern Family, which has been running for a lot longer than Stranger Things. Yet, the two boys were only making $100,000 per episode in 2017.

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists or SAG-AFTRA has a standard minimum that children must be paid for films. In 2018, the rate was between $1,166 and $3,403. For half-hour television shows, the minimum payment was $5,258 per week.

The kids of Stranger Things surpassed that rate long ago and with the success of the show, it doesn’t seem like the checks will stop coming in anytime soon.