As one of the biggest names in Hollywood, it’s not surprising that Jennifer Lawrence will be joining the $20 million club when she gets her paycheck for Sony’s Passengers. What is surprising is that the long-developing project is spending a significant portion of its entire budget to ensure that Passengers is a Jennifer Lawrence movie — possibly up to 25 percent of it. Maybe this is a response to the ongoing discussion about income inequality, spurred by last winter’s leaked emails?
As a reminder, last year we discovered that Lawrence was paid less for her Oscar-nominated work on American Hustle than her male costars despite being considered at the top of the bill. It’s a badly-kept secret in Hollywood that women are paid less than men for equal roles, but this was pretty solid proof. And Sony probably didn’t want to make the same mistake again, especially with a huge star such as Lawrence. There’s no doubt that she was well on her way to commanding such a salary, but in the case of this particular movie, it seems like a bit much.
To compare, Lawrence’s costar Chris Pratt will be making $10 million (though Indiewire says that if Jurassic World is a huge hit, he could try asking for more) and director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) will be getting $3 million; the cost of shooting is expected to be $40 million, pushing the entire budget to $80-95 million total figuring all additional costs. Jennifer Lawrence would be a solid quarter of the low end of that budget, and that’s massive for a non-franchise film like Passengers.
There is always a question of stars being worth these multi-million dollar paychecks and Hollywood has gotten so infuriatingly excessive. But at least in this case, we’re getting infuriated by an increasing number of millionaire women too.