If being one of the biggest stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones wasn’t already enough of a coup, the lives of Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke are set to get a lot better as we enter the final run of episodes. Five of the show’s main cast members have reportedly signed record-breaking deals that will see them pocket $2.6 million per episode for Season 7 and 8 of the hit series.Other main cast members Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau also secured the same deal and a dramatic pay rise. While it may seem like an insane amount for actors to some, it is no surprise that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted to lock down their biggest stars ahead of the show’s approaching end game.
As reported by The Daily Express, it is the largest salary per episode ever, meaning that Game of Thrones manages to eclipse that previous record held by Jennifer Aniston and co. for their lucrative $1 million per episode for the final seasons of Friends.
In November, it was thought that the Thrones cast would be earning some $1.1 million per episode, but the latest claims are that “complex bonus clauses” will see them rake in $2.6 million. The rise is mainly thanks to international syndication, and with the tales of Westeros reaching 170 countries, that is quite the clause to be part of. The biggest lure, however, is in the US, where Season 6 regularly enjoyed viewing figures of up to 23 million per episode. Media analyst Mike Raia told The Daily Express:
“Cable network HBO is breaking the bank to ensure its most successful scripted program ever goes out with the kind of flourish fans all over the world have come to expect.”
The Season 7 footage shown far has featured Jon, Daenerys, and Cersei – so do these contracts confirm that all five will be at least making it into the final season on Game of Thrones? It seems pretty likely that Jaime and Tyrion will also sail through to the end, although what form that will be in remains to be seen — there are already hints that some of them could be getting the White Walker treatment.
There is no mention of other leads like Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, and Alfie Allen, but all have been tipped for a demise in the coming seasons. Could it also spell a grim end for the likes of Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams as Sansa and Arya Stark? Thankfully, the girls are sporting bold new looks and seem to be in a safer boat than some of the other actors. Being a lot younger, it was highly unlikely they would’ve been paid as much as the older members of the cast.
While there are only 13 hours of Game of Thrones left, it still means that if any of the stars who signed make it to the end, they could be sitting on a princely sum of nearly $34 million. It certainly seems like the “Big Five” will be depositing some serious coin into the Bank of Bravos when Game of Thrones returns this summer. Elsewhere, the likes of Charles Dance, Sean Bean, and Michelle Fairley must be cursing George R.R. Martin for killing them off so early.
Game of Thrones season 7 premieres on July 16th, 2017.
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