Here's some shocking news: Putting women in lead roles sells tickets at the box office.
Need proof? Please, take a look at Wonder Woman, which grossed over $400 million domestically and nearly $800 million worldwide.
You might think, "That's to be expected; she's a superhero, and superhero flicks always perform well." To that, I say: "LOL, did you see Fantastic Four? Right, no one did." Besides, action films aren't the only ones that bring in the big bucks. Comedies like Ghostbusters and Bad Moms did pretty well, too, with both grossing over $100 million, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Of course, a film's success on the big screen doesn't necessarily mean that the actors take home a whole lot of money. Gal Gadot, for instance, only took home $300,000 for Wonder Woman, while she helped make millions of dollars for others. So, why doesn't the math add up? According to Bad Moms actresses Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, it's a lot more complicated than many people think.
The trio spoke with the LA Times in anticipation for the release of Bad Moms Christmas, out on Nov. 1, and revealed the ugly nature of negotiating in Hollywood. When asked if they had any say over their salaries for the upcoming sequel, Bell responded: "You think you have the power, but you never do. The studio does."
"Listen, as grateful as I am, so is STX who made $100 million. Let's just be real here for a second. As grateful as I am, they made a lot more money than I did," Kunis added. "I think that people need to realize you have deals set in place from previous negotiations...And so you can only go so far up above your quote for a sequel. I negotiate from that point. This is a sequel quote. Let me tell ya, [Bell's] Frozen franchise is gonna pay off her cachet more than this franchise."
Although, Kunis' last point might not be entirely true. Bell then added that because Frozen is animation and doesn't actually feature her face, she can't really use it while negotiating quotes in the future.
"Nobody cares about that one because it’s not live-action. That will never be my quote," Bell said.
Let's put that in perspective for a moment. According to Forbes, Frozen grossed over $1.3 billion in box office sales and another $107 billion in retail sales. Sure, kids might not know who sang "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" but doesn't mean the person singing the massive hit is unimportant. At the end of the day, Bell's talent was marketable and earned Disney a lot of dough. If she can't use her successes to negotiate, then what's the point?
It's no secret that Hollywood has an issue with pay equality. Women are paid fractions of what men make — even less if you're a person of color — and they're expected to be "grateful." Yes, these actresses are bringing in much more money than the average American, but that doesn't mean that they (or anyone) should have to sit back and smile as studios take advantage of their hard work.