Scarlett Johansson has officially become the highest grossing female movie star of all-time, surpassing the previous title holder Cameron Diaz. Thanks to Johansson’s role in the Avengers films, Scarlett was the only female to breach the Top 10 of highest grossing actors according to Variety.
The number one spot on the highest grossing actor list is held by none other than Harrison Ford. That news should come as no surprise considering Ford’s most prominent roles were in the high grossing Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. And while the 31-year-old Johansson surprisingly beat out veteran actress Julia Roberts and Harry Potter darling Emma Watson, even more shocking is the fact that while Scarlett rounds out the Top 10 of highest grossing, Johansson’s income for making those high grossing films pales in comparison to both her male and female counterparts.
According to Forbes, Scarlett Johansson ranked sixty-fifth during 2015 for celebrity income falling $17 million below the top paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence and $45 million behind the highest paid male actor Scarlett’s Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr.
While no regular person would cry over Scarlett’s $35 million income, it’s important to note that Johannson, who appeared for only twelve minutes less than Downey Jr. in last year’s Avengers sequel was paid half his income. Despite that, Scarlett was the second highest paid actor for the film. While some might contend that Robert Downey Jr’s Ironman is more profitable than Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, the comparison isn’t fair considering Johansson hasn’t been given the opportunity for a series of Black Widow movies as the Ironman franchise has.
Ironically, Robert Downey Jr. isn’t even the highest ranking Avengers cast member on the list of highest grossing actors. In fact, Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Johansson’s boss Nick Fury, took the number two spot behind Harrison Ford.
In another surprising twist, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence who starred in the highly successful Hunger Games franchise didn’t even crack the Top 50 for highest grossing actors. Some have to wonder if Johannson’s box office success will translate to more money for the actress, while others have to wonder if Scarlett’s reign will be limited as the Avengers films dwindle.
Scarlett Johansson began her acting career at the age of nine in the Rob Reiner flick North. While many child actors struggle to make the transition to adult acting, Scarlett’s first adult role in Lost in Translation earned Johansson a BAFTA award and Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
A versatile actress who has performed in a variety of genres including action, drama, and romantic comedies, Johansson’s on screen appeal has translated well throughout her film career. In the May issue of Cosmopolitan, Scarlett addressed the prominent issue of the wage gap between male and female actors in Hollywood by acknowledging that as the second highest paid actress, Johannson is one of the fortunate ones.
“There’s something icky about me having that conversation unless it applies to a greater whole… I am very fortunate, I make a really good living, and I’m proud to be an actress who’s making as much as many of my male peers at this stage… I think every woman has [been underpaid], but unless I’m addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious. It’s part of a larger conversation about feminism in general.”
Scarlett had clearly paid attention to the criticism Jennifer Lawrence experienced when calling out Hollywood on their pay discrepancies and didn’t want to rock any boats. But perhaps Johansson’s box office returns will be enough to make those in Hollywood take notice that women who make the Top 10 in generating revenue are deserving of a Top 10 income.
[Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images.]