Parents of ‘Stranger Things’ Cast Worked Together on Salary Negotiations

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The parents of the young actors from Netflix’s Stranger Things teamed up to renegotiate their children’s salaries after the show’s success. On the May 28th episode of Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, explained that while each cast member had individual contract preferences, the negotiation was mainly a collective effort by their parents, as most of the cast were minors.

Impact on Pop Culture

In 2016, Stranger Things made its debut, enchanting audiences with its fusion of supernatural intrigue and 1980s nostalgia. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the series swiftly became a cultural phenomenon. As the show’s popularity surged, so did recognition of its main cast, comprising Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, and Joe Keery.

By the third season, the young actors enjoyed substantial pay raises, with Matarazzo and his peers earning $250,000 per episode, while the older teen cast members received $150,000. Notably, Millie Bobby Brown negotiated her deal separately from the rest of the younger cast.

Parental Guidance and Negotiation

Matarazzo recalled how crucial the parents’ involvement was in securing better deals for the young actors, explaining that the parents discussed what would be best for all of them collectively as they were negotiating before the cast turned 18. This coordinated approach ensured fair compensation as the show’s popularity soared.

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Despite the financial gains, Matarazzo admitted he remains somewhat unaware of the intricacies of salary negotiations, noting that they are still the age of college juniors. He expressed gratitude for the collective support of the parents, which helped navigate the complexities of contract negotiations.

A Life-Altering Journey

Reflecting on how Stranger Things transformed his life, Matarazzo acknowledged the significant financial security the show provided for him and his family, contrasting it with the real struggles they faced growing up. He also highlighted the unusual experience of becoming a family breadwinner, noting the difficulty of understanding the impact on his family at such a young age.

Matarazzo expressed deep appreciation for the opportunities and stability that Stranger Things brought to his career. He is realistic about how the show will likely be the pinnacle of his professional life, acknowledging that he is okay with Stranger Things being the biggest thing he will ever do. He emphasized his contentment with the show’s legacy and the opportunities it created, prioritizing happiness, security, and continued work.