17 Female Stars Paid Less Than Male Costars

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For the highly anticipated upcoming Olivia Wilde film Don’t Worry Darling, Oscar-nominated actor Florence Pugh was reportedly paid $700,000.

Whereas her costar, Harry Styles, was reportedly paid $2.5 million — despite only having two movie credits to his name (one of which was just a single scene).


Bryce Dallas Howard was paid “so much less” than Chris Pratt for the Jurassic World films. While Pratt was a big draw (having recently starred in the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy), Howard had starred in more than her share of worldwide blockbusters, like The Village, Spider-Man 3, Terminator: Salvation, and Twilight: Eclipse. She was also a SAG winner who’d been acting since she was a little kid and gone to Tisch.

Responding to reports suggesting that she’d made $2 million less than Pratt for the second film, Howard said she was actually paid even less than that. Luckily, she said Pratt fought for her to have an equal salary for franchise-related opportunities like theme park rides.


For American Hustle, both Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper made $2.5 million upfront. Amy Adams made $1.25 million, despite also being a lead — she made as much as Jennifer Lawrence, who filmed for half the amount of time and was a much smaller character.

At the time, Cooper and Bale were both one-time Oscar nominees. Adams was a four-time nominee. Lawrence had been nominated twice and won once. Lawrence was arguably the biggest star at the time, as she was starring in the Hunger Games films.


Viola Davis, an Oscar winner with 91 IMDb credits and one of the best actors of our generation, was reportedly paid less than John Cena, Sylvester Stallone, and Joel Kinnaman for Suicide Squad.


Emmy winner and four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams was paid $1,000 for reshoots for All the Money in the World (after Kevin Spacey was replaced as the lead). Her costar Mark Wahlberg’s resume was impressive too (he was an A-lister and two-time Oscar nominee), but he was paid $1.5 million — 150 times what Williams was.


Ellen Pompeo was paid less than Patrick Dempsey despite playing the titular character on Grey’s Anatomy. In early seasons, he made almost twice as much as her.


Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as Natalie Portman for No Strings Attached — the same year she won an Oscar. She was already an Oscar nominee and had been acting since childhood. Kutcher won a Razzie that year for his performance in Killers and Valentine’s Day.


For the first two seasons of The Crown, star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth, was paid less than Matt Smith, who played her husband, Prince Philip.

The reason producers gave for why Smith made more was his recent Doctor Who fame. Over the course of their time on the series, Foy won two Emmys (and was nominated another time), and Smith won one. Foy was also nominated for two BAFTAs for her role, whereas Smith was nominated for none.


Kirsten Dunst was paid much less than Tobey Maguire for Spider-Man. Calling the difference “extreme,” Dunst said she didn’t realize how bad it was at the time. “I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, Tobey is playing Spider-Man.’ But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster? Spider-Man and me.”

Both Dunst and Maguire were successful actors since childhood, but Dunst had clearly had a much more prolific career, starring in The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Virgin Suicides, Interview with the Vampire, Bring It On, and Jumanji before Spider-Man.


After a report claimed that Jessica Chastain made $7 million for The Martian while Matt Damon made $25 million, Chastain corrected the report, saying she made “less than a quarter of that in reality.” Meaning she made less than $1.75 million to Damon’s reported $25 million.

Damon’s actual salary may have been less than the reported $25 million, though Chastain did not correct his reported salary and was talking about a huge wage gap, so there was still a huge difference.


Julia Roberts was reportedly paid only $300,000 for Pretty Woman, despite being an Oscar nominee who played the titular “pretty woman.” And while her costar, Richard Gere, was an established star thanks to An Officer and a Gentleman, it had been almost a decade since his last major hit. He reportedly made millions to appear in Pretty Woman.

Both stars were probably at about equal standing, with one notable exception: Jolie was an Oscar winner.


It’s been reported that Zoe Saldana only made $100,000 for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy. In contrast, Vin Diesel reportedly made millions to say “I am Groot.” Chris Pratt made $1.5 million, and Dave Bautista made about $1.4 million.


Charlize Theron was offered lower pay than Chris Hemsworth in the Snow White and the Hunstman sequel, leading her to ask for equal pay. While Hemsworth was a big star (having starred in Thor and The Avengers), Theron was an even bigger star, as an Oscar winner in the industry for two decades at that point.


Mayim Bialik, one of the most well-known stars of The Big Bang Theory, was paid $200,000 per episode in 2017 — along with Melissa Rauch. The other five main cast members (all male except one) were earning $1 million per episode at that point.

The other stars actually ended up taking a pay cut to support Bialik and Rauch, who were bumped up to $500,000 for the last two seasons— still $400,000 less than the other stars, though.


And finally, Melissa McBride appears to make much less than Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead, despite having been the only other cast member there from the start. Reedus makes $1 million per episode, while McBride negotiated a $20 million contract for three years — which amounts to just over $400,000 per episode, assuming 16-episode seasons.

What other female stars have been paid or offered wayyy too little? Let us know in the comments!

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