Has the Day of the Hollywood Superstar Passed?

If there’s one thing I don’t have time for, it’s talk about the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Did you know Gal Gadot made less money to film her children’s comic book movie than Ben Affleck got to star in his, despite the fact that no one had ever heard of Gal Gadot before Wonder Woman and Affleck had been a box office draw for two decades? I can’t find it within myself that one millionaire is slightly less rich than another millionaire when they both made millions of dollars for three months of work. And neither of them actually worked as hard as the poor sod holding up the boom mic for 12 hours a day.

But according to Variety, the real winner of the Hollywood wage war isn’t men or women, it’s computers. While big stars still get big paydays, salaries for actors are down across the board, mainly because films have to spend so much money on post-production special effects. Look at how many of the three hundred and twenty seven stars of Avengers: Infinity War were computer animated, that money doesn’t grow on trees.

It’s also worth considering that movie stars don’t have the same kind of, well, star power that they used to. Hollywood doesn’t really have a Clark Gable or a Mel Gibson (you know, before all the anti-Semitism came out) today. Does Mark Wahlberg really evoke the same emotions in an audience that they did?

And who are today’s action stars? I love The Rock as much as the next guy, but does he really measure up to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime? Robert Downey, Jr. is great as Iron Man, but he’s not Jackie Chan.  Most of his action scenes are just him sitting in a chair talking to a disembodied Paul Bettany with some light effects on his face while computer animation does the work.

There’s also a much cheaper class of celebrity out their now: social media influencers. Yes, any dink with a Twitter account can make a profession out of selling crap to their followers, and if they’re good enough at it they get to hang out with Taylor Swift. Why would you pay an actor a premium to be in your film when a better way to get people into seats is to have Jake Paul take a break from… you know, I have no idea what Jake Paul actually does, but millions of idiot kids watch him do it and it’s not going to take much to get him to tell them they all need to see Corporate Sequel 3: The Rebootening.

So is it any surprise that where Jim Carrey used to make $20 million a picture, Jack Black and Kevin Hart are getting paid less than that put together for the new Jumanji picture? Even though they’re both probably funnier than Jim Carrey, studios don’t need to superstars to sell movies anymore, which means there are fewer superstars, and most of them became superstars in the 1980s and ’90s.

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3 years ago

You know things are bad in the movie industry when you see a Blemish article with the movie title “Corporate Sequel 3: The Rebootening” and you wonder for a moment if it’s an actual movie.

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