Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone has succeeded Jennifer Lawrence as the highest-paid actress in the world. Stone snagged an Oscar for her role in the Damien Chazelle romantic musical, La La Land, in February 2017, and much of her pay came from the whimsical film. At just 28 years old, Forbes has given the Hollywood starlet the title of the highest-paid actress, with a total of $26 million earned from June 2016 to June 2017.
In 2016, Lawrence topped the list, making a whopping $46 million dollars. This year, she’s at No. 3. And yet, the success of these actresses does not negate one massive issue. While the tide for women in Hollywood is slowly changing for the better, the gender pay gap is still extremely concerning — even for top tier actresses, like Stone and Lawrence.
Though Stone is currently the highest paid woman in Hollywood, the Battle of the Sexes star still made far less than the 14 highest-paid male actors. Here’s a closer look at Hollywood’s salary disparity problem and what causes it:
Numbers don’t lie
With $68 million earned, Mark Wahlberg sits at the top of the list for the highest-paid men in Hollywood. He raked in a massive sum that nearly tripled Stone’s earnings.
In fact, when you combine all of the earnings of the 10 highest-paid actors, you get a sum of $488.5 million. For the top 10 actresses, the sum only totals $172.5 million dollars.
Blockbusters and superhero flicks keep men front and center
Massive franchises, like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fan favorites like the Fast and the Furious, boast roles that are dominated by men.
According to Forbes, “In release schedules dominated by superhero movies and brawny blockbusters, there are simply fewer parts for women that pay the sizable backend profits that result in leading men’s large paydays, or the franchise sequels that permit aggressive negotiation for favorable deals.”
Asking for what you’re worth
Demanding equal pay is another way that Stone earned a major payday this year. In an interview with Out, she spoke about transparency and how her male costars have aided her in her quest to close the gender pay gap.
In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.’ If my male costar, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.
Negotiating a salary can stir up anxiety for anyone. In 2015, Lawrence penned an essay entitled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?” about her struggles when it came to asking for equal pay.
She wrote, “Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale,and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.”
Competiton among actresses
Powerful and commanding roles for actresses are popping up In Hollywood, although there has been some animosity and pushback. However, despite the positive change that is occurring, there is still fear that there might not be enough room for all of the talented women in the entertainment industry. Recently, Stone, in an email to Vanity Fair, expressed her fears about her own career as she watched Lawrence soar on the big screen and at the box office. She wrote:
[Jennifer] may not even know this but there was definitely a time early on when I was like ‘OH HEY MY EGO IS GOING NUTS SHE’S SO GREAT AND VIBRANT AND TALENTED I’M SCREWED I’LL NEVER WORK AGAIN GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD.’ Then I chilled the f*ck out — and remembered we’re completely different and there is room for everyone, even if it’s an industry that doesn’t really seem to support that idea up front. We both really do love each other and care about each other as people, beyond being actors. I support her completely when it comes to work and I feel the same from her, but I know we’d be friends even if we didn’t do the same job.
The modern era making of movies
Though women in Hollywood still aren’t garnering the massive paychecks that their male costars are earning, some actresses have come up with alternative ways to get their dollars. Many actors, like Sandra Bullock, and even some directors, like Clint Eastwood, are accepting smaller paychecks in exchange for a significant percentage deal on films.
However, this only works out if a movie racks in the dough at the box office. An insider told Vanity Fair, “There’s still a lot of money to be made, but only when the movie works.”
Paychecks beyond the big screen
Gracing the big and small-screens aren’t the only ways that actresses can climb the ranks on the highest-paid list. Friends alum Jennifer Aniston came in at No. 2 on Forbes’ list in 2017 with $25.5 million earned.
However, a great chunk of Aniston’s earnings came from her lucrative sponsorships with Emirates Airlines, Smartwater, and Aveeno.
Getting paid upfront
Though Lawrence has dominated the Forbes list in the past, the 27-year-old has slowed down just a tad since the Hunger Games franchise came to a close. However, the Passengers actress still came in at No. 3 on the highest-paid actress list this year with $24 million earned.
According to Vanity Fair, Lawrence had upfront fees in her contract for forthcoming films, Red Sparrow and Mother!. She also has a contract with a little company called Dior.
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
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