In a recent article, Upworthy claims Scarlett Johansson is a victim of the wage gap. Their evidence? She was not the top paid actor in Hollywood, despite “her” movies having grossed the highest profits in 2016.
Their assumption is ignorant, at best. Not only is the wage gap itself a myth, but they’re not even attempting to correctly analyze the data.
Let’s break this down real quick.
If we take a look at the only four movies in which Scarlett Johansson acted in 2016, the vast majority of the overall gross profits were from two of the movies: ‘The Avengers: Civil War’ (coming in at number three on the top grossing movies of 2016) and ‘The Jungle Book’ (number five).
First of all, both ‘The Avengers: Civil War’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ were going to be huge hits unless something very unusual happened, like some politically correct shenanigans or some really horribly produced trailers. These movies already had a huge following. The Avengers is one of the most popular superhero comic books to ever have existed, and ‘Civil War’ was the third in that series. And the Jungle Book animated Disney film was wildly popular from the late 1960’s, all the way to the early 2000’s.
Secondly, Johansson was not one of the top two main characters in either of these movies. She was a the snake, Kaa, in The Jungle Book. This is an important role, but not the main character. The snake was also animated, so she didn’t even have facial recognition to help her be noticed. As for The Avengers: Civil War, she was Black Widow. Not only does Black Widow play a significantly smaller roles than Iron Man and Captain America, she also doesn’t have any super powers…in a superhero movie.
It’s quite clear that whether they chose Scarlett Johanssen or some other chick with a creepy sexy voice, both of these movies were going to gross massive amounts of money. Only an insignificant percentage of people wouldn’t have gone to see those movies if she was not chosen to play those parts. In fact, if any actors had an influence on sales it was the main characters. The Avengers, for instance, already had two huge stars in the leading roles, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) and Chris Evans (Captain America).
Additionally, when looking at her other two films from 2016, ‘Sing’ and ‘Hail Ceasar!,’ she was not listed as one of the top three main characters on IMDB.
Saying Scarlett Johansson was responsible for the gross profits of the movies for which she played roles during 2016 just doesn’t make any sense. She really didn’t play in a single film in which she was the star. She didn’t even have a role as one of the two most important characters in any of her 2016 showings.
Did Scarlett Johsenson help to boost some small, insignificant percentage of sales that another well-known actor wouldn’t have? Maybe. Is she responsible for the high gross profits of movies for which she played secondary roles and of which already had a massive following? No, absolutely not.