Nearly a decade after she made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2, actress Scarlett Johansson is only just now finally getting a salary competitive with many of her male costars. Per THR, the performer will pull in a whopping $15 million for the Black Widow movie, which has been rumored for years but is now finally getting off the ground as part of Marvel’s post-Avengers 4 slate. The $15 million is equal to what Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth pulled in for this year’s Avengers: Infinity War, and the two Chrises also nabbed $15 million each for Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers 4.
Johansson, it appears, did not receive that same level of salary even though she’s been in the MCU longer, is one of the most in-demand actresses, and is one of only very few female performers studios will bank on to lead an action movie (see: Lucy, Ghost in the Shell). Granted Evans and Hemsworth both had their own franchises to lead, but Johansson was a co-star in The Winter Soldier and has been a fan-favorite anchor of the MCU for years. Better late than never I suppose.
Back in the day when Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige reported to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, Marvel was known for being cheap with its actor contracts. Robert Downey Jr. made only $500,000 for the first Iron Man movie, and Samuel L. Jackson famously balked (initially) when presented with a 9-picture contract for his role as Nick Fury. But the MCU is almost a guaranteed brand in and of itself now, where even the “minor” movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp still pull in over $600 million.
Johansson reportedly pulled in a low seven-figure salary for the first Avengers movie, but Downey Jr.—who kicked this whole shebang off—had negotiated for a whopping $50 million payday on that movie. Now that the MCU has a track record and Feige doesn’t have to sell these salaries to the notoriously stingy Perlmutter (Feige now reports directly to Disney’s Alan Horn), things are going smoother. Chadwick Boseman made a reported $2 million for Black Panther and is expected to receive a significant raise for the sequel, while Brie Larson—whose Oscar win raises her quote—reportedly made $5 million for Captain Marvel, but in exchange her deal locks her in for multiple Marvel movies.
Infinity War pulled in $2 billion and its sequel, the untitled Avengers 4, will no doubt bring in a similar gross, so Marvel isn’t exactly hurting for money. At long last, it’s nice to see Johansson’s salary comparative to that of her male co-stars.