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Over the weekend, a report was revealed that purported to show what each Avengers actor received for their work on Age of Ultron. Some of it wasn’t very surprising, like the fact that Robert Downey Jr. makes so much money he could go swimming in it, Scrooge McDuck style. Other aspects of the story, like the fact that Scarlett Johansson made $20 million, more than double what the rest of the team made, was very surprising. It turns out now that the data isn’t so much surprising as it is too good to be true.
While it appears that Johansson’s paycheck was significantly less than the reported amount, on the bright side, it doesn’t appear she was paid significantly less than the rest of the team. According to Variety, Johansson’s paycheck was not nearly that high as $20 million, and was more in line with that of Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth. If the numbers previously given for each of them is still accurate, that gives us a ballpark of somewhere between Evans’ $6.9 million and Hemsworth’s $5.4 million. Still a wide gap, but it put her more in the middle of the pack. The other Avenger who is currently sitting between those two is Jeremy Renner at $6.1 million. Hawkeye and Black Widow are a team on screen, it looks like they may have paychecks in common as well.
The pay disparity between male and female actresses is a hot button topic currently with another major star, Jennifer Lawrence, calling it out in the last month. More and more women have been speaking out on the disparity issue, which in some cases, like Jessica Chastain’s recent paycheck for The Martian, seems absolutely ludicrous. Johansson was recently ranked as number two on the list of top money-making actresses, but again, those numbers are dwarfed by their male counterparts.
Johansson, and her character of Black Widow, have been a major lightning rod over the years already. As the most prominent female character currently in Marvel’s toy box, there’s been a feeling that she’s been relegated to a second-class status. Black Widow is nearly entirely absent when it comes to Avengers merchandise and many fans would love to see the character lead her own standalone film, as most of the rest of the team has received, but nothing has ever come of it.
We will choose to look at this glass as half full. The woman didn’t automatically receive the lowest paycheck. It seems odd that this is the thing we have to celebrate, but you have to find your victories someplace. Now we can focus on the actual roles for women being better in Marvel movies.