Opportunity

Hollywood Actresses Robbed of $220 Million

Actors are making more money than ever. Sadly, actresses aren’t.

Let's Patricia Arquette this for a moment: According to stats from The Hollywood Reporter, the salaries of male movie stars continue to astound, while a few women are name-dropped in the discussion. So it's no wonder the "Boyhood" star made a rallying call during her Oscar acceptance speech on behalf of equal pay.

Big-name stars today are raking in huge paychecks. At the top is Leonardo DiCaprio, who pulled in an astounding $25 million for “The Wolf of Wall Street" alone. Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Denzel Washington aren't far behind in the $20 million-per-picture range.

Then, the women finally come in. Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie are name-dropped in the same $20 million window (with Melissa McCarthy and Jennifer Lawrence following behind).

While Bullock topped Forbes' List of Highest-Earning Actresses, hauling in an estimated $51 million between June 2013 and June 2014, the publication did a 2013 study of pay numbers revealing that top-paid actors for that year made 2½ times as much money as the top-paid actresses. Translated, that means that Hollywood's best-compensated actresses made just 40 cents for every dollar that the best-compensated men made.

While Hollywood's 10 best-paid leading ladies brought in a combined total of $226 million in 2014, that was versus the $449 million Hollywood's 10 highest-earning actors raked in over the same time period. And last year's Sony Pictures Hack blew the lid on the gender pay gap between men and women, often co-starring in the same film, such as "American Hustle," in which Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than co-stars Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper. Even Jeremy Renner, who played a smaller role in the same film, was given a larger paycheck than the leading actresses.

“Women are still earning less than men in Hollywood," the Forbes piece noted. “Hopefully the women on our list can start to change that as female-led blockbusters bring in just as much money as action films starring men."

There is some hope. Take Charlize Theron, who used the Sony Hack to her advantage when she negotiated a deal worth more than $10 million — equal to her male co-star, Chris Hemsworth — for Sony's upcoming “The Huntsman." One small step for women, one giant leap for equal pay still to go.