Why did Dwayne Johnson earn more than Jennifer Lawrence in 2016?

Johnson beat previous champion Robert Downey Jr. to become the world's highest-paid actor this year, while Ms. Lawrence held on to her title. Lawrence has previously written about the difference in pay between actors and actresses in Hollywood.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Dwayne Johnson arrives at the ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles in 2014.

Jennifer Lawrence and Dwayne Johnson have been crowned Hollywood’s highest-paid actress and actor, respectively, as the discussion over wages for actresses continues and Mr. Johnson takes the title away from Marvel actor Robert Downey Jr.

Johnson became the world’s highest-paid actor after earning an estimated $64.5 million for 2016, according to Forbes. Ms. Lawrence, who wrote an essay in 2015 about the pay difference for actors and actresses, took in an estimated $46 million in 2016, according to Forbes

Forbes estimated that her wages from the final “Hunger Games” film, which was released in November 2015, and her advance earnings for the science fiction movie “Passengers” contributed to her earnings. 

Melissa McCarthy, who came in second behind Lawrence, had her estimated payday for the year increase by $10 million, according to Forbes, with Forbes assuming Ms. McCarthy’s earnings for the movie “Ghostbusters” contributed to this. Actress Scarlett Johansson was behind McCarthy. 

The difference of almost $20 million between that of Johnson and Lawrence demonstrates the continuing gap between actors and actresses when it comes to their paychecks. Lawrence wrote in 2015 about her time on the movie “American Hustle,” “[Co-stars] Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.”

Meanwhile, Johnson topping the list for actors may demonstrate a different way to reach the top of this list without starring as a superhero. Mr. Downey came in at number one three years in a row, including 2015, with Forbes attributing this victory to Downey’s paycheck from his work as Iron Man with Marvel.

While Johnson is reportedly set to star in a DC Comics “Shazam!” movie as a villain, that won’t be until 2019, according to Warner Bros. This year, Johnson achieved his number one spot through non-superhero projects, including, according to Forbes, starring in the comedy “Central Intelligence” with Kevin Hart and filming the upcoming eighth “Fast and the Furious” movie and “Baywatch” film.

Ranked behind Johnson on the highest-paid actors list was Jackie Chan, who came in at number two, and Matt Damon, who came in at number three.

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