The fine people at Forbes have made their calculations (we like to imagine them shifting around abacus beads with lightning speed) and the results are in: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has topped 2016’s highest-paid actor list. The erstwhile wrestler made a small fortune ($64 million) this past year thanks to his roles in the Fast and Furious and San Andreas.
Coming in second was Jackie Chan, who amassed $61 million, owing in part to his producer and investor roles in Chinese films like the upcoming action-thriller Bleeding Steel. Matt Damon’s $55 million earned him the bronze, while Robert Downey Jr., who’s held the number one spot for the past three years, fell to ninth place with a paltry $33 million earned. The Iron Man’s salary was dwarfed by that of Tom Cruise ($53 million), Johnny Depp ($48 million), Ben Affleck ($43 million), Vin Diesel ($35 million) and Shah Rukh Khan (slightly above $33 million). Khan’s fellow Bollywood superstar, Akshay Kumar, rounded out the top ten list, having raked in $31.5 million.
As we suspected, the list throws Hollywood’s gender wage gap into sharp focus. When the men’s and women’s lists are combined, only two actresses feature in the top ten: Jennifer Lawrence, who comes in sixth with her $46 million salary, and Melissa McCarthy, who earned slightly more than Khan, and thus takes ninth place. Combined, the top 10 highest-paid women pulled in approximately $205 million. In contrast, their male colleagues’ collective earnings amount to a whopping $457 million. Obviously, action stars like Johnson and Chan (who made a name for himself doing all of his own stunts) worked hard for their money. But still, a triple-digit disparity? Come on.
It’s fitting that Lawrence, the only twenty-something to make the women’s top ten list, would come closest to matching the Rock’s sizable salary — the gender pay gap is known to grow with age. Even so, the Joy actress, despite having earned Oscars and Oscar nods for her work, made a startling $18.5 million less than Johnson. So much for 79 cents on the dollar. (It’s Friday, stop doing math! She made about 71 cents to his dollar.)
As Natalie Robehmed of Forbes pointed out, “There are simply more big budget roles for men that pay the high fees and cut of profits needed to score multimillion take-homes. In fact, there are more roles for men, period.” A recent study showed male characters make up 71% of all speaking roles in movies. While eighteen actors made over $20 million this past year, only four actresses hit that mark.
As with the women’s list, the men’s top 10 chart was noticeably whitewashed, with the exception of Chan, Khan and Kumar. While Will Smith did make the top 20 (with $20.5 million), these rankings highlight just how far Hollywood, like the fashion industry, has yet to go in terms of diversity.
What a crazy, twisted world we live in. One of Hollywood’s brightest stars got called a “spoiled brat” for demanding fair pay and still made far less than her peers, and Adam Sandler pulled in more than Leonardo DiCaprio. Nothing makes sense.
[ via Forbes ]