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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Contrived Argument of Equal Pay in Hollywood

Last night was the 87th Annual Academy Awards and to be completely honest, yours truly was in deep-sleep throughout the entire telecast.  I had to find out the winners via a news site.

One thing that did struck me and felt was worthy of writing about was the acceptance speech of Patricia Arquette who won Best Supporting Actress for something or another..

And it seems she was on quite a toot, using her 60 seconds acceptance speech time to vent about the lack of pay equality between men and women, both in Hollywood and nationally..

She also didn't seem to like that the US Constitution was written by white men and other silly ramblings that caused all the ultra-liberal multi-millionaires in the audience like Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep to stand up and cheer loudly..
~ "I'm J-Lo.. Please stare at my breasts.. It mkes me feel younger.."

Let's put aside the stupid comment about the Constitution, the greatest and most important legal and political document in the history of the world and written by quite learned, honorable white men of great distinction in 1787..

Let's address the issue of equal pay...

In everyday life, should there be equal pay between men and women for equal work?

Yes.. Absolutely
~ "I Truly do not deserve to be here.. Mooo.."

Should there be equal pay between men and women in Hollywood?

Absolutely Not.

Truth is, in the business of movie making, women have not proven to consistently be the same box office draws that men are.

We're not talking about talent or ability-- this is an Important distinction...
For instance, even though I personally do not like anything Meryl Streep is in, she is obviously a very brilliant, acclaimed award winning actress, but she is Not a consistent box office draw

We will use the website BoxOfficeMojo.com for all the monetary statistics we provide below..

So let's look at Ms Streep's career the past 9 years an an example..

She has appeared in 15 films from 'The Devil Wears Prada' in the summer of 2006 to this winter's 'Into the Woods' and 4 of those films have grossed $100+ million -  'Prada', 'Mamma Mia', 'It's Complicated' and 'Woods'
Let's look closer at those figures

'Prada' was a big success because the paperback the movie was based on was a Huge best-seller.  Streep played a supporting role.. Anne Hathaway was the star.

The real star of 'Mamma Mia' was the ABBA soundtrack used throughout the film --  Everyone loves ABBA..  And 'Into the Woods' is an ensemble musical based on a work of Sondheim so its not accurate to say its a Streep picture.

The one $100+ million film that I will say Streep gets credit for is 'It's Complicated' because she is the female lead and her co-stars Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are not strong box-office draws any more.

Now let's look at the reality of Streep as a box office draw..
In 2013, she was nominated as part of an ensemble for the film 'August: Osage County"..The film domestically generated $37.7 million.

Two years prior to that in 2011, Streep won Best Actress for 'The Iron Lady' about Margaret Thatcher..  That film grossed just $30 million.

Sometime in 2014 she did a film with Jeff Bridges called 'The Giver'..  It earned $45 million at the box office..

Meryl Streep may be a great actress to many but she's overall a Terrible box-office draw and not worth the same pay check as someone like Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt who can get people's butts to the seats.
BTW, I tried looking up Patricia Arquette on BoxOfficeMojo but she's such a very poor audience draw and not looked upon as a movie actress (most of her success is based on TV), the website didn't even list her.

Now just to prove my point again, I looked up each of the films the 5 nominees for best Actress were in to see how much they've made to this point, especially with all the Oscar hype behind it:

'Gone Girl' --  Rosamund Pike was nominated for this film..  It has grossed $167 million since its release six full months ago but I will say straight out, few went to see this film because Pike was in it.  Credit more goes to Ben Affleck for generating ticket sales
In her career, Pike has appeared in 7 films (almost half the films she's been in) that have each made less than $10million and her only other $100mil film was a supporting role in a James Bond film (Die Another Day)

'Wild' -- Reese Witherspoon starred in it..  The film has made $37 million in the US

Not counting voice-over work for 'Monsters v Aliens', in Witherspoon's entire career she has only made 4 films that grossed $100+ million and the last film was in 2008 (the terrible 'Four Christmases')  
~ Psst Reese.. You're not taking your mug shot photo.. Smile..

Even the two 'Legally Blonde' films she made did not crack $100m domestically..

Maybe she was a box office draw 10-15 years ago but Reese is not one now..

'The Theory of Everything' -- Felicity Jones was nominated..  I've never heard of her either..
~ Don't feel bad, I had no clue what she looked like until I just keyworded her to find a photo

For this film, Eddie Redmayne took home Best Actor last night..  It's also made only $35 million.  Not counting 'Spider Man 2' which Jones is in but not the star, her highest grossing film prior to 'Theory' made $6 million..

Is she really worth the same salary as a man?

'Two Days, One Night' -- French actress Marion Cotillard was nominated..
 This film has only made $1.25 million in the US..    That's it!  

If the average movie ticket is $7.50, it means about 167,000 people in a nation of 315 million went to see it..

'Still Alice' -- Julianne Moore won Best Actress for this film.. It has made just under $8 million in ticket sales in US theaters.   Its budget is $5million so it still makes a 'profit' but no way in hell it can if Moore is paid what leading actresses normally make.
If you put aside her being in the latest 'Hunger Games' film, the last time something starring Julianne Moore grossed $100 million or greater was pre 9/11 ('Hannibal') and I bet more people went to see Anthony Hopkins reprise his role as Hannibal Lecter than go see Moore.

If you keyword her name on BoxOfficeMojo, you will see she's actually a Horrible box-office draw but she is a good actress so she gets Awards.

If you combine the box-office of all the nominees excluding 'Gone Girl' it adds up to around $82 million..
Show me a female actress other than Jennifer Lawrence who generates healthy box office receipts and I will show you someone who deserves if not equal, then Greater pay than her male counterparts..

Otherwise, its a contrived argument in Hollywood and Arquette should shut the Hell up...

Guess that also explains why Hollywood pretty much only makes prequels, sequels, remakes, spin-offs, comic book films and money-losing 'Oscar' pictures..
~ Grace Kelly..  A real actress