Saturday, January 10, 2015

Is Jennifer Lawrence Underpaid?

Alex Tabarrok writes:there were
The Daily BeastBusiness Insider and The Washington Post all argue that leaked information about Jennifer Lawrence’s pay on American Hustle indicates gender discrimination. Here’s the Washington Post:
If Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t get paid as much as her male colleagues for the same work, ordinary women don’t stand a chance.
Sony’s hacked e-mails have revealed a troubling truth — that even the wealthiest and most powerful women among us are burdened by the ever-present gender pay gap.
jennifer-lawrence-the-hunger-gamesThe picture these articles present is one of poor, little Jenny Lawrence being taken advantage of by powerful, male studio heads who are laughing all the way to the bank. Time for a reality check.
When it comes to business, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t a woman she is a multi-million dollar enterprise. Lawrence Enterprises is run not by Jennifer alone but also by a bevy of managers, agents, publicists and lawyers. If Lawrence is underpaid each of these people (quite a few of them men, by the way) are also underpaid. In particular, Lawrence is repped by CAA of which the WSJ recently wrote:
Within the entertainment industry, the glass-and-steel headquarters of Creative Artists Agency LLC is called the “Death Star,” a reference to its occupants’ reputation as cold-hearted Hollywood power brokers.
Do you think the cold-hearted Hollywood power brokers of CAA are leaving money on the table? No effing way. Which is one reason why Jennifer Lawrence is number 12 on Forbes Celebrity 100 list, coming in just below Steven Spielberg. By the way, 5 of the top 10 on the Celebrity 100 are women and number 1 on that list? Beyonce

Actually, it may simply be the case that  were other actresses as talented as Lawrence who were willing to take role, thus creating more competition for the female role. It also might be that she was only a secondary draw in the movie and that Sony knew it was the two lead male comedic actors that would mostly be the draws for the movie. Finally, I am sure Hollywood producers and agents have very sophisticated metrics as to determine how much a given actor will be likely responsible for audience draw. Bottom line the movie sector is a lot more complex and sophisticated in measuring net value in a movie than crazed gender equality screamers would have you believe.-RW  


  1. The sophisticated metrics involved are commitments from theatrical, TV & other distribs worldwide. How much will they pay/earn based on different available talent? Her agents and manager know her box office history in each of the major markets.
    If jennifer is unhappy with her paltry earnings she is free to join the ranks of former actresses that are producers and production execs so she, too, can laugh all the way to the bank.

  2. More left wing phoney outrage. How about they look at what the people make at the bottom of her organization compared to her take. I find it hard to take these envy driven loons seriously on much of anything. Their is always some evil power broker in all their theories about life. It must really suck to be scared like that all of the time. Its no wonder they can't fathom the thought of living in a world with out a big abusive government looking after them.

  3. Wow. Talk about missing the point. First, this wasn't a vehicle where Jennifer Lawrence was "the" commodity that allows her agency to leverage her box office value. This was an "art" film where the prestige of working with this many high caliber actors and material was one where Lawrence committed to the film REGARDLESS of what she was paid, entrusting it to the studio and her agency. The fact that SONY President Pascal KNEW she deserved a larger share and did not accommodate her is the point. To quote Daily Mail:

    "Pascal’s email response to the news of Lawrence making less than her male colleagues—despite the fact that she’s far and away the biggest star of the picture, since Hustle was green-lit after The Hunger Games—was: “there is truth here.”

    Oddly, Amy Adams had 5 Oscar nominations and Lawrence being the biggest box office draw WERE NOT EVEN OFFERED equal (or greater) compensation is just incredible for an industry that claims to exemplify the liberal mindset. (You'll see in SONY's annual financial review the absurd "carbon costs" took up almost as much space as attention as video streaming and exhibitor relations.)

    This is a film - to be a part of it - where Lawrence might have worked for scale just because she wanted to, putting her agency in an unfortunate position. As someone who used to work for one of the largest talent agencies in Hollywood, it is amazing the terrible business practices by the creative side and the intentionally immoral tactics of the business side.

    This isn't a normal supply and demand business where your point would have merit, in my opinion.

    Bottom line is that in an ensemble piece where every one was sacrificing salary and billing for the "greater art", Lawrence and Adams didnt' even warrant top financial consideration from the beginning.

    I suspect Lawrence and Adams DID end up earning the same as their male counterparts, but unfortunately the final points weren't in the dump.