From the Time’s Up movement to increased demands for equal pay, there’s no denying there’s a gender bias in Hollywood. It’s a town where Harvey Weinstein‘s memory still lurks and women age out of their careers faster than they were able to establish them. And as we take a look at the top acting salaries in 2022, we can’t help but notice a painfully familiar trend.
Tom Cruise Tops Hollywood Salaries In 2022
In a new report, Variety compiled a list of the highest movie salaries for actors and actresses in 2022. It probably won’t surprise moviegoers that Tom Cruise topped the list, dwarfing the others at a whopping $100 million in earnings from Top Gun: Maverick. Following behind him are all the familiar names.
Will Smith is bringing home an impressive payday of $35 million for his film Emancipation. Tied at third are Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt at $30 million for their upcoming films. And in fourth place is Dwayne Johnson at $22.5 million for Black Adam.
The next ten names are all ones you’ve seen before. Most of them are box office veterans, and 8 of the 9 films listed are sequels whose predecessors were already major blockbusters. But it isn’t until we get 15 names down the list that we see the first woman.
We can’t say we’re surprised that the highest paid actress of 2022 is the talented Margot Robbie. Her salary for the highly-anticipated Barbie film is said to land around the $12.5 million mark, the same as her co-star Ryan Gosling.
Where Are All Of The Women?
Here’s the deal: $12.5 million for a single film is an extremely impressive figure, there’s no doubt. But it’s hard to ignore the major disparity between Robbie’s salary and the other top dogs in the industry. Robbie has held her own in major films with actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. And yet, she’s reportedly only getting half of what her former co-stars will rake in for their latest films.
And Robbie is still a relatively new face at the box office. Even further down the list are actresses like Emily Blunt and Jamie Lee Curtis who are reportedly being paid $4 million and $3.5 million respectively for their latest roles. Once again, these are the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. That means plenty of other beloved leading ladies will be settling for far less this year.
Why Aren’t Actresses Being Paid More?
It’s a complicated problem that doesn’t have just one answer. One explanation is that Hollywood still isn’t writing roles for women. In 2021, women only made up 31% of major characters in top-grossing films released that year. The statistics only get lower behind the camera where women only made up 11% of directors.
The gap gets even larger when talking about women 45 years of age or older. One of the biggest elephants in the room with this list is the fact that actresses like Margot Robbie and Millie Bobby Brown are bringing in the biggest paychecks. Robbie and Brown are still relatively new faces around Hollywood, which pessimistically means they’re still profitable.
But the highest-paid actors in the business are names we’ve been seeing on this list for over a decade now. All the way back 2012—before the world even knew who Margot Robbie and Millie Bobby Brown were—Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dwayne Johnson, and Will Smith were still among the top six highest-paid actors in the world.
It can’t help but feel like we’re moving backward. Last year, three women were among the highest paid stars in Hollywood, but this year Margot Robbie barely championed 15th place. Here’s hoping 2023 brings more roles for women because this year was a pretty harsh wake-up call for the industry.