Mark Wahlberg was paid almost ten times more than Michelle William for ‘ATMITW’

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This is what I suspected the whole time: Mark Wahlberg got paid almost ten times what Michelle Williams got paid for All the Money in the World. I wrote of my suspicions as we were discussing the egregious salary bump Wahlberg got for a few weeks of reshoots on the film – he got paid $1.5 million, Michelle got paid less than a thousand dollars. That was just for the reshoots! Their salaries for the film – in which they had equal screen time and equal billing – were wildly disparate. This confirmation comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which published a fascinating look at how now, more than ever, women are discussing their salaries with each other, and how that information could lead to some big changes. Here’s part of THR’s story:

Previous lack of transparency hurt actresses negotiating film and TV salaries, and one antidote to the widespread occurrence of gender pay disparity appears to be sunshine. Take the example of All the Money in the World stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. THR has confirmed that Wahlberg was paid nearly 10 times what Williams made ($5 million vs. $625,000) despite both having roughly the same amount of screen time — and Williams is the one being pushed for an Oscar nomination.

On the day after the Golden Globes ceremony, where the issue of gender pay disparity was thrust into the spotlight as a red carpet rallying cry, Melissa Silverstein, founder of the nonprofit Women and Hollywood and director of the Athena Film Festival, tweeted about that “egregious pay gap” between Wahlberg and Williams. That prompted Jessica Chastain to retweet, adding “I heard for the reshoot she got $80 a day compared to his MILLIONS. Would anyone like to clarify?”

By Jan. 9, USA Today confirmed the reshoot disparity. (Neither star was technically paid for reshoots. Williams received a per diem of $80 vs. the $1.5 million that Wahlberg’s agent was able to negotiate as a salary bump because the actor had cast approval and could potentially torpedo the film, already reeling in the wake of the Kevin Spacey sex scandal.) The story then went viral, and four days later, Wahlberg agreed to give $1.5 million to the Time’s Up campaign; WME, which reps both actors, donated another $500,000.

“For women in Hollywood, the system was created to isolate them from each other and to pit them against one another,” says Silverstein. “Women are taking back the power by sharing the information in a way that has never been done before.”

In the past, it would have been a major faux pas for Chastain to publicly comment on another actress’ salary, especially before it had been published. But that’s what happened thanks to a recent Time’s Up meeting. According to a source who attended, the Wahlberg-Williams discrepancy was discussed at length, as was Tracee Ellis Ross getting paid significantly less than her Black-ish co-star Anthony Anderson.

[From THR]

Go to the THR link to read more about the Tracee Ellis Ross situation. Much like Michelle Williams, Tracee is the one being pushed for awards every time the nominations come out. Anthony Anderson is great, no doubt, but he and Tracee have equal billing, equal screen time and Tracee is the “breakout star” of Black-ish. Michelle is the one getting award nominations and Oscar buzz for ATMIW. Clearly, the work these women are doing is being valued, but they’re not being paid at a similar level to their male counterparts.

The last time we talked about Wahlberg was when he donated the $1.5 million to Time’s Up, and little Wahl-bots flooded the comment sections here and across the internet, all with stupidly similar talking points of “Wahlberg deserved the money because he carries the movie” and “Michelle isn’t really a movie star like Wahlberg” and “okay now he donated money so everything’s cool and we can get back to business as usual.” No. What happened between Wahlberg and Williams didn’t get this attention because it was so shocking in Hollywood – it got attention because this is what’s “normal.” Stop with the shifting sands-reasoning for why men “deserve” to be paid so much more for literally the same work, and stop mistaking prestige for a paycheck.

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128 Responses to “Mark Wahlberg was paid almost ten times more than Michelle William for ‘ATMITW’”

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  1. Vex says:

    It’s outrageous no matter which man is getting paid more than his female co-star… but I’m sorry, all that for Mark Wahlberg?! I think of him as being the most generic, interchangeable actor going. And least Michelle has something about her.

  2. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    The gender pay gap is real, it exists in every profession and at every level of employment, and it is regressively worse for WOC and minority women. And still men refuse to admit it’s a real thing.

    Random thought: in a weird way this press is fabulous for her Oscar campaign.

  3. Medusa says:

    Ten times more? For what?! For that one constipated look he has or for his service of stopping 9/11 if he’d been on the plane? They have equal screen time, equal billing and Michelle Williams is a way superior actor and still they screw her over like this.

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m still pissed he donated in Michelle’s name. How patronizing. He’s a useless meat sack.

  5. JaneDoesWork says:

    God this makes me sick. On the one hand, Wahlberg’s agents are the ones that negotiate on his behalf. On the other, he is notorious for ultimately caring about his paycheck above all else (he wanted too much money so Oceans 11 opted for Matt Damon instead, which was definitely the right call anyway.) If he were a woman would that bother me? No. But it does bother me that he is clearly aware of the imbalance and does nothing to stop it.

  6. Nicole says:

    Right mark can’t act. At all. So for him to get more money for this is crazy.
    I can see how Tracee would be paid less than Anderson at the start. Blackish is Tracee’s breakout role (even though I loved her on Girlfriends) while Anderson was a way bigger name coming in. That does factor in.
    For Michelle and Mark…nope.

  7. Jordana says:

    After reading the comments on the ‘reshoot pay discrepancy’ I learned that they are repped by the same agency. Was that true?
    Michelle Williams needs new agent.
    This is so disappointing. I wanted to see ATMITW, but I think I tried to see it now, after learning all this, my only thoughts during the movie will be ‘he got paid 10x more for that scene than Michelle. ‘ and that scene…..and that scene….
    And I wasn’t a big fan of Wahlberg before this. And I’ve always like Michelle Williams’ performances. I don’t know if I want to see it now; it’s already ruined for me.

  8. littlemissnaughty says:

    I still don’t understand how this man has an acting career at all so seeing this, I’m out. I don’t understand how he is a thing, how he makes more money than ANY Oscar-nominated actor, much less one who’s been nominated FOUR goddamn times. He shouldn’t even be paid as much as she is. He is not the draw for this movie. Is he the draw for ANY movie?

    In my firm, evaluations are coming up. They’re tied to salary. I’ve consistently gotten excellent evaluations over the years while my salary has not gone up because “as long as the others who make a lot of money are here, there is no money for raises”. Granted, my colleagues are mostly women. I do not care. I’ve had it.

    • H says:

      Mark has been an untalented hack since his Marky Mark days. I don’t think I’ve paid to see a movie he’s been in since 2005 when he was in Four Brothers. That’s when I found out he blinded a man because he’s a racist POS. Yeah, I don’t get his appeal either.

  9. manda says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand: why was marky mark even chosen to be a part of this film? He is not a prestige actor. He’s the guy from the transformers movies! (ok, yeah I guess he was pretty good in boogie nights, but was he? is HE who you remember from that film?) He should be kissing Michelle Williams’s feet.

  10. Ebon says:

    But also, for walhberg? Seriously? How is he still getting hired? I’m sure there are an abundance of bland white males that can pull off douchebag that haven’t comitted hate crimes.

  11. Jayna says:

    Mark has always had a high salary because of box office success, and if he can get it, I don’t see the problem as far as him. This comes from someone who never goes to see a movie of his. Michelle has always been a B movie actress in terms of fame or box office. She doesn’t get the Cate Blanchett or Jennifer Lawrence type of salary. It’s up to Michelle and her agent to negotiate and figure out how much she is worth or wanted for the movie and negotiate hard or not. I can’t blame this on Mark. Box office draw has a lot to do with it. Cameron Diaz once made huge salaries because she was riding off of previous successes and commanded those salaries for quite a few years.

    Is it fair if Michelle is equal as far as the amount of acting in the movie? No.

    • alot says:

      Yes to this. I can’t stand Mark, but this isn’t Mark’s fault or any male actors fault. Michelle makes her own business decisions with the advice of agents and lawyers SHE hires. If she wants to take a job for x amount of dollars, she takes the job. It is up to her and her team to negotiate. Why should Mark turn down a large pay day if it is offered to him? I wouldn’t expect anyone to turn down a large pay day…. including Michelle.

    • Des says:

      Is he though? A box office slam dunk? I don’t think so. I think he stars in big dumb blockbusters slated to do well like the Transformers. He himself doesn’t open anything any more than Michelle does. If Michelle started acting in big Marvel movies and suddenly said she opens movies because her last movie made 1 billion at the BO, we’d laugh. Same goes for Marky Mark. Even Tom Cruise can’t guarantee an opening these days – look at The Mummy and The Edge of Tomorrow (which is actually a good film even). And TC is wayyyy bigger star than Walhberg. These men are getting paid according to a star system that no longer exists. Also, who on earth is choosing to go see a movie like this one because Mark is in it?

      • JosieH says:

        Nobody’s a box office slam dunk nowadays, but Wahlberg has had 7 movies cross $100 million at the U.S. box office this decade (and only two of those were Transformers movies). Williams doesn’t have that track record – not even close.

      • Des says:

        @JosieH – yes and those are stunners like Ted, Daddy’s Home, etc. which again would have absolutely worked if you had swapped in “Tough Guy Figure”. Wahlberg added nothing to those, not even marquee value. As someone remarked downthread, his superpower is finding commercially viable films, not acting. if Michelle chose to do films for the paycheck, looking the way she does and with her talent, she’d be in tons of 100M movies too. In any case, when it comes to a movie like this one, a prestige drama with Oscar potential, its audience is more likely to be attracted by her name on the marquee than his. Unfortunately, Ridley Scott is a huge believer in the White Men are the Only Ones Who Count system as we saw in that flop Egypt movie.

      • JosieH says:

        “…his superpower is finding commercially viable films, not acting.”

        You just described every box office star in film history.

        And let’s stop with the “Michelle Williams ain’t in it for the money” nonsense. You don’t do slop like Oz the Great and Powerful and The Greatest Showman unless it’s for the cash. She does mostly independent films because that’s what she’s offered. It’s not right (she’s great), but it is what it is.

    • Bridget says:

      And this is really interesting to me. Not just that his agent was willing to negotiate harder, but in the way that Wahlberg has inflated his own worth. His big paycheck would have been connected to the idea that his name would ‘sell’ a movie and that he commands the big bucks because he gets butts in the seats. And yet for an actress in his position, the line would be “oh, we could have put anyone in Transformers, the success isn’t tied to you at all”. This amorphous ‘perception of worth’ is inherently skewed as wel, it’s ridiculous.

      As ridiculous as the idea that they were ever going to sell All The Money In The World off of Mark Wahlberg. It was always going to be whomever played Getty and Michelle Williams. And here’s an interesting question – what was Spacey paid?

      • Des says:

        @Bridget I don’t know who you were responding to but just jumping in to say, I have the same question re: Spacey!

        As far as Mark selling his worth goes – it’s not him by himself. It’s an entire system that sustains and promotes these mediocre men. It’s why Jeremy Renner is supposed to be a big star and they genuinely thought they could reboot Bourne with him (lmao). The flip side of that same system if what you mention – all actresses are replaceable and interchangeable but the penis on set must be respected even if it is an absolute embarassment that it was included in an ensemble such as this.

      • Bridget says:

        @Des – I actually said something similar downthread too! How we can we try to measure ‘value’ in a system that clearly doesn’t value women and people of color?

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree – I have no issue with him being paid whatever he can get for the dumb movies he stars in, like Transformers and Ted or whatever – I suppose he has his audience, and those films do, unfortunately, make money. Not my money, but still.
      But if he wants a more “prestige” role and to work with higher quality actors and directors, he should not be handed a bucket of cash on a smaller budget film with other (much more talented) actors being paid peanuts in comparison.

      FYI, his donation FINALLY showed up on the site last night. Also interesting is that it came through at the same time as the WME additional donation in Michelle’s name. Honestly I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Mark made them pay his also because of all the bad press.

    • Ohperfect12345 says:

      Except that’s not true, Jennifer Lawrence who has won numerous awards, including an Oscar, brings in the money for films, was nominated for an Oscar for her role in American hustle, got paid less than freaking Jeremy Renner. Who in no way can carry a movie. Has been proven. Doesn’t have an oscar. It’s someone people have to Google to remember “oh yeah that guy, didn’t know his name” Jennifer Lawrence also bring in foreign markets. This other dude. No one knows him.

  12. Whataboutme says:

    Of course he gets paid more, his movies make more! It is the same thing with authors. Stephen King writes a crappy book and makes millions and they make it into a movie. Everyone knows King because he has been writing for decades, even if most of his books aren’t that great. Another not as well known author writes a better book but it makes almost nothing because no one has heard of them before.

    They could replace Michelle Williams with many other decent woman actors, she is not going to carry a movie. No one goes “I have to see that new Michelle Williams movie!”.

  13. Neva_D says:

    The only thing louder than the actresses talking about the pay discrepancies is the silence from the actors who aren’t.

    I feel like all the stuff this movie has been through is way more interesting than the actual movie. I find it humorous that all this money drama is happening for a film called “All the Money in the World,” lol. Is it a performance art piece we’re watching play out in real time? Hopefully, calling out pay discrepancies like this will encourage Hollywood to treat actresses better.

  14. Lizzie says:

    she’s been nominated for an oscar four times – about to be five times. she’s only 37 years old. for a prestige drama, she should be getting top billing and paid the biggest bucks b/c she brings the thunder and is critically acclaimed in every (clap) single (clap) performance (clap) of (clap) her (clap) career (clap). Marky Mark is renowned for daddy’s home 2 and ted. if this was movie about a man saving the world from a volcano he deserves more money. since its not – he should make scale because he brings less than zero talent to the project and is undoubtedly the biggest pain in the ass.

    • teacakes says:

      Spot-on. They were making this movie as Oscar bait and trying to pay the FOUR-TIME Oscar nominee who’d be central to their campaign, a tenth of what her not nearly as awards-credible male costar got?

    • Boxy Lady says:

      Actually Michelle does have top billing. Above the title, the order is Michelle, Plummer, Mark. Her billing probably has to do with her Oscar nominations and amount of screen time. Plummer is an Oscar winner but isn’t in the film as much as either MW, so he was billed second. I have noticed over the years that billing order for a film is a result of complicated formulas akin to calculus. It’s not just about who has the most name recognition in the cast.

  15. lightpurple says:

    Sorry but the comments I’m seeing here aren’t going to help improve the situation. Salary negotiations should be based on something measurable, tangible, not on personal attacks on others, no matter how bad or loathsome the others might be. And that’s what I’m seeing here. This is where SAG and other unions need to step up. They have scale for people just for a day’s work to be in a film but they need to work on the upper levels with and for their members. And it isn’t a simple calculation either. Things like seniority, number of films, box office draw, award nominations, number of scenes and length of time in the particular film all need to be factored in. And yes, you will still end up with what, on the surface, look like disparities but they will be based upon defensible numbers. Yes, we’re paying him more but here is the reason why and she’s making more than this other guy on the film for this reason because here is where they all fall on the scale.

    • alot says:

      thank you for summarizing my feelings.

    • Bridget says:

      The system itself is flawed. For the most part, the male lead is cast first and then the female lead negotiates money with whatever is left in the budget. It’s difficult when you have salaries based on “perception” – because despite having tangible track records of box office history, it’s still subject to interpretation (“yeah, she was in it but people didn’t actually go to see HER). Can we really talk about the concept of value without discussing the way women and people of color are consistently under valued as a whole in the entertainment industry? If there are fewer good parts, and fewer opportunities, there are fewer chances to develop your own good track record for ‘value’.

      And really the issue at heart has been that public examples like Marky Mark (or my personal favorite was Jeremy Renner getting more than Amy Adams in American Hustle) are truly egregious enough that there really is no true comparison when it comes to work done and value added.

      • lightpurple says:

        Which was my point as to why the unions need to step up and expand the scale.

      • Bridget says:

        But how can you sale something appropriately when the opportunities for one side – which is part of how you suggested basing a scale – are significantly less? And again, how the perceived value in general is significantly less?

      • Lightpurple says:

        Please go back and read what I wrote, please. You are focusing on only one thing while I included seniority, which would include years in the industry, number of scenes in the film, length of days on set, which would help balance the equation, as it does in other industries, while you’re suggesting what?

      • Bridget says:

        I totally get what you’re saying: you want to use a quantifiable formula. My point is more, would that really solve the problem, when the data points that you want to use to quantify are themselves inherently skewed? For example, if you use number of scenes, number of lines, etc, women and people of color will be automatically penalized, as they frequently get far fewer lines and scenes in comparison to their male counterparts. I’m not trying to misread you, but I’m simply asking: can we really apply a formula to this system, the way it is now?

        Personally, I think that sunlight is the greatest antiseptic here. The more women are able to discuss and find out what their male counterparts are making, they are able to negotiate or simply walk away.

    • Bros says:

      He was great in The Departed. It’s up to her and her team to negotiate what they think she is worth. He has way bigger name recognition than she does for her indie films, no matter how talented. It’s really a question of american taste. Unfortunately, most of the movie-going public likes blockbuster shootem up dumb movies and they sell a lot of tickets. Things would even out if americans could get more refined movie tastes and preferences so that actors like Williams and the movies she’s in had bigger billing with audiences. So I dont blame or attack mark wahlberg for commanding a higher salary just because he’s a guy. This is mathematical and we as the audience, as silly americans in the aggregate, are responsible for rather silly people like cameron diaz (who is a terrible actress), wahlberg and cruise to command outsized salaries.

  16. Other Renee says:

    I would never go see a movie because Wahlberg is in it. I couldn’t care less unless I really wanted to see that particular film. But I would definitely see a film starring Michelle Williams because she’s so talented. To me she’s a draw. He just isn’t.

  17. Harryg says:

    Why is he a “star”? Why? Go back to fighting in bars.

  18. Ivy says:

    Not to sound victim blame-y or anything…but after the contract issue with her lack of agreed pay in the future for reshoots don’t you think at some point this is a fault in negotiation rather than pay inequality? Honestly I think she just needs to get a new agent/publicist who can actually negotiate on her behalf, because at this point it’s too ridiculous.

  19. mannori says:

    Speak up speak up speak up Shame them all the way, no matter being called a b*tch, greedy, or said that is an uncomfortable issue to not be treated publicly. Just like Robin Wright did when she found out she was getting less than Spacey: she said it publicly. Look how that turned out: he ruined the show, she’s saving it now. Why women have to prove themselves nth times harder than any pompous man diva is beyond me. Talented women specially.

  20. Mumbles says:

    “little Wahl-bots flooded the comment sections here and across the internet, all with stupidly similar talking points of “Wahlberg deserved the money because he carries the movie” and “Michelle isn’t really a movie star like Wahlberg” and “okay now he donated money so everything’s cool and we can get back to business as usual.”

    It was UNCANNY how every article I read on this controversy had almost identical comments along these lines. What Wahlberg’s PR machine lacks in creativity they make up with persistence.

  21. ariel says:

    Can we just never talk about marky mark again? and just never see any of his movies. He’s a racist asshat, who happens to be a shining example of how white, male mediocrity thrives in a world owned by mind-boggling wealthy, white men, keeping their world afloat by championing “everyday hero” and “relatable” mediocre white men.

  22. HeyThere! says:

    I was watching The Good Place last night and this sadly true one liner was said: why do you think I Regenerated as a 45 year old white male?? When we fail, we fail up! I was like wow, how spot on and true is that!!!!!! My husband didn’t get it. Face palm. I am always yelling BECAUSE IT IS A WHITE MANS WORLD! THYE CREATED ALL THE RULES AND MADE THE WORLD FOR THEM ONLY!

    I can’t believe he was paid so much….and that is a pay cut?!?! For the love??!

  23. TPOE says:

    They’re actors. How much they get paid is directly related to how much they can pull in rather than their talent. Jennifer Aniston, for example, can’t act her way out of a paper bag and you know she was making more than her co-stars (male or female) because she has (had?) more box office appeal.

  24. Mina says:

    This is so unfair. But the reality is that this is a business, and they pay actors according to their (perceived) box office draw, and not for their talent level. I have no idea why Mark Wahlberg is a star, I think he’s one of the worst actors that has ever grazed Hollywood, but the majority of the audience seems to go see his movies. Michelle Williams, on the other hand, is an indie and arthouse darling with more talent in one of her eyelashes than her costar, yet she’s not able to pull a movie in terms of box office by name only. And it’s a conscious choice the one she made, to make movies that mean something to her instead of just doing pop corn productions, which she could do because she’s also beautiful. So that’s how the market is, it’s not just a gender thing. If the co-stars there were Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Shannon, you can bet she’d be making a lot more than him.

  25. Ang says:

    I’m not a fan, but his imdb page is filled with steady starring roles since 2000, and he’s on the cover of almost all of them. I feel like every other movie I see Marky Mark pops up in. That said, he in no way deserves more than Michelle Williams in the same job. Ever

  26. Korra says:

    There is an argument (according to industry standards) that Mark Wahlberg gets paid more because he has more clout, is more recognizable to audiences and has had more box office hits – and maybe that is true to an extent. But the problem with this argument is that the industry has a built-in system that provides more opportunities for male entertainers like him, regardless of actual raw talent, charisma and knowledge of the craft. Statistically, there are more roles, on average, for actors than actresses. And then you consider that coveted high-profile lead roles – whether for a tentpole franchise or serious dramas specifically created for awards recognition – are again disproportionately going to actors. So again, Wahlberg’s profile and box office returns may look more better on paper than Michelle Williams’, but that is only because he is a beneficiary of system created to favor white male performers like himself.

  27. serena says:

    My god, this is becoming increasingly more horrid. I cannot fanthom how in the world their agent thought it was okay to screw Michelle over and let Wahlberg get all the money, when his part isn’t even as relevant as hers. What the actual F-, this makes me so angry.

  28. Andrea says:

    I feel like instead of commenting on Mark’s poor acting, we should be commenting on his great business sense. He is not the greatest actor but he’s smart enough to pick movies with great writing and even better actors . Not only that but he has produced some good shows. All of that has turned into him demanding more money. Everyone should be taking notes. Also, i think this is related somewhat to what Ellen Pompeo said about deciding if she wants to be a great actor or not the greatest but with steady work and income and being more involved in the business aspect. That will pay off later in life and support her family. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what i understood.

  29. SM says:

    My God, the amount of energy we spend on anger these past couple of months! It is horrible. For one Michelle is the one who can elevate the film to awards worthy. This is the main reason why she should be more valued and be payed more that him. Watching Marky Mark on screen is like watching a movie with presence of a wooden brick.
    I am now imagining Marky Mark at home right now yelling at his managment and PR on the phone asking them why such injustice exists in this world and why now that this is public he has to pretend to care about anything else aside from his ass. And do not tell him, he has to donate more money now to save face, because he will fire you! So, at least there is that for a more satisfying image

  30. Pandy says:

    Sir Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck, Christopher Walken … and Marky Mark.

  31. msd says:

    Maybe someone else has said this but … the donation to Time’S Up says “Mark Wahlberg on behalf of Michelle Williams”. This annoys me. If it’s in her name then at least have her name first! I guess he still gets the big tax write off for charity …

  32. Betty Whoo says:

    As long as There is No equility i Will continue to stream my movies, instead of making idiots rich