Scarlett Johansson Was the Second-Highest Paid ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Star
The gender wage gap is an issue that affects women in almost every single career field, but it’s recently become a more high-profile issue as actors have been speaking out about their income disparity. Jennifer Lawrence recently penned an essay on the subject, with actors like Emily Blunt, Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain and even Bradley Cooper chiming in. And while the wage gap battle rages on, here’s one you can add to the winning column: Scarlett Johansson made more money than the majority of her male co-stars in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
No one will top Robert Downey Jr. when it comes to income — not only did he net $40 million for the Avengers sequel, but he topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood this year. Comic Book Movies has more data on the Age of Ultron paychecks, reporting that Scarlett Johansson earned $20 million for her return as Black Widow. That’s kind of a big deal.
Marvel and Disney have given Black Widow the short end of the stick when it comes to officially licensed merchandising, and they still refuse to develop a solo film for one of the MCU’s most beloved superheroes. (Which could change now that Marvel Studios has disengaged from Marvel Entertainment and the authority of Ike Perlmutter, who’s been rumored as the reason for the lack of female-centric films and merch.)
So it’s great to see Johansson raking in some serious cash and out-earning most of her male co-stars in one of cinema’s biggest franchises. That paycheck is especially noteworthy in light of the ongoing wage gap issue in Hollywood, which has become a prominent topic over the last year — particularly after leaked Sony e-mails revealed that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams made far less money than their male co-stars in American Hustle.
Lawrence recently penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s newsletter, in which she blamed herself for failing to negotiate for more pay and lamented the enduring gender inequality that extends to our paychecks. The essay inspired Bradley Cooper to reveal that he’ll begin sharing his salary offers with his female co-stars in an effort to help them better negotiate for equal pay.
And sure, we’re talking about people who make millions of dollars either way, so it may be difficult to empathize — but here’s the deal: given their fame, these actors should be using their high-profile platforms to set an example and help inspire change on a much larger scale. Women in every field are paid less than their male peers, often for performing the same work (except for pornography and sex work, which speaks to how we perceive the value of women).
It is deplorable that industries are still finding ways to legally pay women less than men, and we need more transparency if we ever hope to effect real, meaningful change.
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