There’s been a lot of talk about women-driven movies in recent months, and rightly so. In recent years studios have shirked from movies starring and aimed at women, turning away from weepies and rom-coms, with conventional wisdom saying that men are bigger moviegoers who won’t bother with big-budget films featuring female leads. But last year, two of the three top grossing movies in the U.S, “Catching Fire” and “Frozen,” had female stars, and a few weeks ago, the Scarlett Johansson-led “Lucy” made headlines by hammering the obviously testosterone-fuelled “Hercules” at the box office.
And in the last few days, film-oriented websites have been overrun with news of a possible female-driven superhero movie from Sony, and the idea of a “Ghostbusters” reboot starring a group of female comics (news greeted with predictable horror by troglodytic, sexist, close-minded, crybaby, neckbearded fanboys). So some progress is being made, but not quite enough: Forbes has released its annual list of the top-earning actresses in Hollywood, revealing that there’s still a substantial pay gap between female A-listers and their male counterparts.
The business magazine reveals that the ten top-earning male actors brought in a hefty $419 million in 2013, while the ten top-earning women took only a little over half of that sum, $226 million. A sizable percentage came from Sandra Bullock, whose two hits “Gravity” and “The Heat” helped her earn a whopping $50 million last year, but that’s still significantly less than the top-earning male, Robert Downey Jr, who made $75 million from “Iron Man 3” alone.
Behind Bullock is Jennifer Lawrence, earning $34 million by “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” while a surprising third place is occupied by Jennifer Aniston, who had a hefty profit participation in comedy sleeper “We’re The Millers.” Gwyneth Paltrow grabbed fourth place with $19 million via “Iron Man 3,“ and Angelina Jolie is right behind with $18 million (expect that to rise significantly next year with the huge success of “Maleficent“).
Cameron Diaz earned the same as Jolie, with Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and Kristen Stewart making up the rest of the top ten, earning $17 million, $13 million, $13 million and $12 million respectively. Surely nothing to sniff at, but it’s still dispiriting that there’s such a gender-based gap in Hollywood (tenth placed bro Mark Wahlberg earned $32 million, almost twice what Stewart did). Do you think the pay gap will ever close with the new power of female ticket-buyers? Or are male actors destined to rake in far more? Weigh in in the comments below.