How Much Money Did Sapkowski Allegedly Get from Netflix for The Witcher?

How Much Money Did Sapkowski Allegedly Get from Netflix for The Witcher?
Image credit: Netflix, CD Projekt Red

How true are the reports that the Polish author sold himself short?


  • The Witcher book series consists of 6 novels and has been translated into more than 20 languages.
  • The total cost of producing the first 3 seasons of the series is estimated to be around $400 million.
  • Author Andrzej Sapkowski previously sold the rights to CD Project Red for just $9500.

He's not broke, that's for sure

The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski has a reported net worth of $19 million, so regardless of how much he made or didn't make from the TV series, no one needs to feel too sorry for him. Still, it always feels like the brains and talent behind creative projects should be fairly compensated for their contribution to its success.

How much did it cost to make the show?

Before The Witcher Season 3 went into production, Netflix revealed that it had spent $318.7 million on the first two seasons. With an estimated budget for Season 3 of around $81 million, it's safe to assume that the total production cost to date is in the neighborhood of $400 million.

Exactly how much the streaming giant paid Sapkowski was not disclosed. But assuming he's learned from past mistakes, he should have made a tidy sum.

Author previously accepted bad deal with video game developer

In 2000, CD Projekt Red approached Sapkowski and asked for permission to create a video game based on his book series. It should be noted that this was the first original game project of the now famous Polish developer.

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For his part, Sapkowski (who isn't exactly a fan of video games anyway) didn't expect it to sell well. So even though he was offered a deal that would have given him a cut of the profits, he opted for a one-time cash payment of just under $10,000.

As we now know, the game was a huge success. As a result, in 2018, Sapkowski announced that he was suing CD Projekt Red for $16 million. This may sound strange, given that he originally opted for the lump sum payment, but there is a clause in Polish law that allows such a claim if 'the compensation remitted to the author is too low given the benefits obtained in association with the use of that author's work'.

After the lawsuit was filed, the company was quick to say that it would be happy to come to some sort of agreement with Sapkowski. The fact that there have been no further statements from either side suggests that he got a significant portion of the $16 million he was seeking (which is about 6% of earned revenues).

Sapkowski negotiated a separate deal with Netflix

Netflix was clearly happy to plow a considerable amount of money into the production of The Witcher TV series. The exact breakdown of the budget is a closely guarded secret, but of course when Sapkowski negotiated with the streaming service, he did so knowing that the game franchise based on his books was massively popular and that the show had a captive audience on the world's most popular streaming service.

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He'd already been burned when it came to his deal with CD Project Red. So it's safe to say that he probably went into this negotiation with his eyes wide open. However, suggestions that he received around $80 million seem far-fetched, considering that his net worth in 2024 is estimated at $19 million.

Still, it seems likely that he would have negotiated a percentage for the show based on his previous experience and the anticipated success of the show. TV networks tend not to publicize the commissions they pay for fear of backing themselves into a corner in other negotiations, but it's likely that Sapkowski would have held out for something in the 5-10% range.

Even at the low end, he'll have made a pretty penny – with plenty more to come as the franchise continues to grow.

Source:, Forbes, Reddit.