The Sony hack and subsequent email leak occurred late last year, and the ripples are finally starting to splash against the spray-tanned calves of Hollywood. Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly demanding $20 million for her role in Morten Tyldum’s (The Imitation Game) sophomore English feature, Passengers, a “space drama” with a budget of somewhere in the ballpark of 80-95 million dollars. If you are a mathmagician like I am, you might note that 20 million out of 80 million is an awfully large chunk, especially when you consider that her co-star on the upcoming film, Chris Pratt, is a fairly big star in his own right. Pratt is reportedly signed for “only” a $10 million payday, but can (and most likely WILL) receive more if Jurassic World is a hit/performs to expectations. Interestingly, The Hollywood Reporter also notes that J-Law’s role in Passengers is actually secondary to Pratt’s.
Sony Pictures brand-new chairman Tom Rothman (who replaced fan-favorite Amy Pascal, AND whom you may remember as the former head of FOX who was behind Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, Tim Story’s Fantastic Four, and Wolverine: Origins…..I know, dude) is apparently determined to keep the budget at $80 million, but come on. There’s no way. In an age where the traditional idea of the “movie star” (that is, the idea that a single actor can open a movie big, despite negative reviews, shoddy FX, whatever) is, if not DEAD, then definitely on life-support, it seems crazy to me to harken back to the halycon days of, say, Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty (salary: $25 million). Already Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are each reportedly insisting on $20 million for a third entry in the Jump Street franchise, after already being offered $15 mill. It’s fucking crazy.
However, if you’ll remember, one of the bigger stories in those leaked Sony emails was the shocking revelation that — get this — women make less money for performing the same work as men! Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams both received seven deal points off of the profit of David O. Russel’s American Hustle, while co-stars Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner each received nine. For an Oscar-nominated hit like American Hustle, that’s an awful lot of money, and you’d be hard-pressed to come up with strong argument for either Christian Bale or Jeremy Renner being a bigger star than Jennifer Lawrence at the time (hell, even now). That’s, for lack of a better word, fucked. And that’s without even mentioning that other shitty stuff that Lawrence had to go through last year.
I say good for you, Jennifer Lawrence. You’ve got an Oscar and ironclad proof people go to see movies with you in them. You’re one of the last true movie stars. Get paid.
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