You can already hear the stentorian social justice battalion storming the lawn of actor Chris Pratt’s Los Angeles mansion – armed with pitchforks and armored in pussyhats – after it was discovered that he collaborated with Hollywood executives to oppress Jurassic World co-star, Bryce Dallas Howard. He better warp speed to another galaxy if he plans to survive the wrath of feminists on Earth.
According to Variety’s new Hollywood salary report, Pratt was paid $10 million for his role in the forthcoming sequel to the box office smash hit motion picture, earning $2 million more than Howard. The media progressives are already pointing to this as an example of the gender pay gap, while the Twitterverse is declaring this as another instance of the patriarchy.
The moviegoing public is demanding action.
One Twitter user writes:
“Agents and Managers need to be held accountable for the disparity in what male and female actors are paid. #fireyouragent because they KNOW what the male actors on their rosters are getting paid for comparable roles #showmethemoney.”
Another person complained:
“Bryce Dallas Howard was as much the lead of the first Jurassic World movie as anyone else, it’s not unreasonable to expect her to be paid as much as Chris Pratt.”
The manufactured outrage and all the virtue signalling was bound to happen. It’s a day ending in Y, after all.
Pratt Draws – Howard Who?
Chris Pratt is one of the biggest Hollywood stars on the planet. He has become a household name because of his work in Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, The Magnificent Seven, and Moneyball. If he were still starring in box office busts or bland projects like Take Me Home Tonight, The Five-Year Engagement, or Strangers with Candy, then Pratt would not be commanding $10 million, out-earning his colleagues, or even landing the lead part in one of the biggest Hollywood films.
Aside from the Jurassic World franchise, the daughter of director Ron Howard hasn’t garnered top billing in too many commercial successes, though she has been involved in multiple critically-acclaimed movies. The average cinemagoer is unlikely to know her by name.
People didn’t flock to picture houses to see Jurassic World because of B.D. Wong, Irfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, or Omar Sy. They went because of Pratt and the movie brand.
Legendary thespian Henry Fonda regularly told interviewers that in order to make the big bucks and be selective in what projects you choose, you need to draw. He couldn’t star in passion films like The Ox-Bow Incident or The Best Man if he didn’t also star in Rings on Her Finger or The Lady Eve.
In other words, Pratt is an international draw, while Howard is likely just becoming one. It takes time.
Pay Varies Across the Industry
But the report, and many others like it, show just how much actors make per film and the numerous nuanced discrepancies. For instance, Leonardo DiCaprio will be handed a $10 million check for his work in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is the same amount Robert Downey Jr. received for only 15 minutes of screen time in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Is DiCaprio more tyrannized and exploited than Downey Jr.? Hardly.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Meryl Streep will be paid $825,000 per episode for a new J.J. Abrams mini-series, while Robert De Niro will get $750,000. Streep is also out-earning Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is receiving $450,000 an episode for the HBO series, Ballers.
Angelina Jolie made far more than all of her Tomb Raider co-stars. Jennifer Lawrence earned $10 million per sequel in The Hunger Games franchise, far more than Josh Hutcherson. In 2016, Scarlett Johansson was named the biggest box office draw. Dating back to the golden age of cinema, Rita Hayworth out-earned Anthony Franciosa and Gig Young in The Story on Page One.
Where’s the outrage? Where are the accusations of sexism? Is the matriarchy at play here?
Economics Dictates Hollywood Salaries
Think about it this way: are you going to watch LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers or Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx slam dunk a ball? Are tens of thousands of people going to pack stadiums to see John Cena wrestle The Rock at WrestleMania or Nikki Bella grapple with Carmella? Do you want to see Joe Kelly of the Boston Red Sox toss a 103-mph fastball or a women’s softball team throw a 77-mph ball?
For all of Hollywood’s hypocrisy and iniquity, Tinsel town isn’t at fault. It’s basic economics at work here. There isn’t a malevolent conspiracy being waged against Bryce Dallas Howard’s salary – if she doesn’t like making $8 million, then she can just quit, but that won’t happen. It’s all about drawing power. The moaners and whiners need to quit getting outraged and offended on behalf of others by every report that doesn’t conform to how they think the world should act.
To paraphrase the eminent Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon: When the world slaps you, you’ll take it and like it!