When The Karate Kid was released in 1984 Ralph Macchio and William Zabka were thrust into stardom. Nearly 30 years later they returned to the franchise in Cobra Kai.
Macchio and Zabka not only reprised their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence for Cobra Kai, but they also came on as co-executive producers, according to IMBD. Their status as executive producers allows them to make sure the show emphasizes what they find important to the story.
According to an interview Forbes, Ralph Macchio said “The number one most important thing before I signed on to do the show, was that the essence of Mr. Miyagi and his teachings, the relationship they had and how it formed and shaped his life was there.”
How Much Do Macchio and Zabka Make?
Macchio and Zabka are the two highest-profile actors to appear in Cobra Kai because of their roles in The Karate Kid. Their status as executive producers further increases their salary.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, “Both Ralph and William Zabka, who reprises his role as Johnny, earned a reported $100,000 per episode for the first two seasons, which works out to around $1 million per season per person.”
Each season is broken up into ten 30-minute episodes. According to an interview with Business Insider, Macchio likes the ten-episode season because “you can take a five-hour movie and cut it up into half-hour parts.”
Actors on Other Shows Make More per Episode
Other TV stars make considerably more money than Macchio and Zabka are making, according to Business Insider. They say “The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki make $900,000 per episode, around $20 million for the series.” The stars of Big Bang Theory are taking home nearly as much per episode as Macchio and Zabka make per season. Business Insider also notes “Game of Thrones’ leading cast members take $500,000 per episode.”
Cobra Kai was released as a Youtube Original for Seasons 1 and 2 before Netflix acquired the show for Season 3. As a Youtube Original Cobra Kai was far less popular. Since being acquired by Netflix Cobra Kai has become a phenomenon, moving to the number one spot on the Nielsen Top 10.
Macchio and Zabka could be in line for a pay increase for Season 4 due to Cobra Kai’s newfound popularity.
Macchio Was Reluctant to Return as Daniel
According to Business Insider, Macchio was reluctant to return to the franchise. He said people have pitched him ideas for reboots before, but “I have said no for 30 years. I was definitely the last guy to come to the party,” he says.
Macchio agreed to return to the franchise because the creators “really had a very well-thought-out pitch by coming in through the eyes of Johnny Lawrence,” according to Insider. Macchio says the show’s creators “listened to the importance of the Miyagi element of the show and LaRusso’s life and how that needed to be there for me to even begin to have a conversation about it,” according to Insider.
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