The Outrageous Truth About The Way Hollywood Actors Are Paid

15Jennifer Lawrence attends the Premiere of 'Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian)' at The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2013 in Cannes, France.
Source: Denis Makarenko

Actress Jennifer Lawrence brought the issue of the Hollywood pay gap to the world stage in 2016 by calling out the difference between pay for male and female entertainers. In a scathing letter to the industry, Lawrence called out the unfounded and absurd difference between pay for male and female actors doing the same work.

Lawrence, known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise, famously wrote a letter to her male costars on American Hustle asking them to stand up for the female actresses who earned much less. While Lawrence has been one of the most vocal critics of the wage gap, she is far from alone.

A 2014 study found that female movie stars see a dramatic drop in pay at age 34, while male actors reach their earning peak at 51. Despite the fact that actresses earn less, movies with female stars earn more money than movies led by men.

To illustrate the severity of the pay gap, Jennifer Lawrence is currently the highest-paid actress, making $52 million in a single year. While impressive, this figure is significantly less than the highest-paid male actor was Robert Downey Jr. who earned $80 million in 2015.

Amy Adams made only 7 percent of the profits from American Hustle, a figure significantly less than the 2 percent her male co-stars earned. While anecdotal, these differences show what a significant problem the wage gap is.