Sony Salary Leaks Making It More Difficult For Studio To Lowball Employees And Stars

Jonathan Vankin - Author

Oct. 18 2017, Updated 3:35 a.m. ET

The leaks of salary information for Sony executives, employees, and stars of Sony films have already had an impact on the company, according to reports surfacing Saturday. The once-secret information about who earns how much is now widely available, stripping Sony of its leverage as it attempts to negotiate contract terms with everyone from its top execs to rank-and-file employees, reported the show business site, TMZ.

With the film The Interview, a comedy depicting the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, apparently at the center of the hack attack which has been officially blamed on North Korea, one of the first salary leaks involved the two co-stars of that film.

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Comic actor Seth Rogen was paid $2 million more for his work on the film than his friend and co-star James Franco, the leaked documents revealed.

The $3 million salaries of Sony CEO Michael Lynton and studio chief Amy Pascal were also among the leaks, as was salary information on many more top Sony executives.

The leaked emails and documents also revealed a sharp disparity in pay between men and women employed by Sony. In the most prominent example, an email leaked as part of the Sony hack showed that the male stars of the Oscar-nominated movie American Hustle — Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner — each received more in “back-end” pay than their female co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams.

Back-end pay refers to the profit-sharing percentage points allotted to each star. The disparity was shocking in particular because Lawrence, as the star of 2013’s top-grossing filmThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was a bigger box-office draw than anyone else in the movie.

But the disparity did not apply only to big movie stars. An examination of the Sony leaks by the online publication Slate showed that of the 17 full-time Sony U.S. employees earning more than $1 million annually, only one was a woman. And of the company’s 100 top-paid employees, only 15 were women.

Sony will have a difficult time imposing such disparities now, and is also in a weakened position with all of its contract negotiations, the TMZ report said.

One source told the online publication that as employee contracts have come up for renewal in the past month, “Sony’s getting nailed to the wall.”

While movie stars and their agents are thrilled to have information from the salary leaks at their disposal in negotiations, according to the site, at least one Sony exec has already branded those actors and agents “shameful” for using allegedly stolen material.


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