Kirsten Dunst speaks out over 'very extreme' Spider-Man pay gap

Kirsten Dunst speaks out over ‘very extreme’ Spider-Man pay gap


Kirsten Dunst opened up her home to Architectural Digest’s infamous celebrity video-tour, showing off her delicate tastes in old school artisan furniture while revealing that “…doing Spider-Man… was the first time I made money.” 

But it appears she didn’t get much compared to her co-star, Tobey Maguire.

The 39-year old actress has been making the rounds with publicity and media, reflecting on her career as she promotes her latest film The Power of the Dog, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Jane Campion

In an interview with the deputy culture editor of The Independent, Alexandra Pollard, Dunst revealed that the pay disparity between she and Maguire was “very extreme.” 

“I didn’t even think about it,” she said. “I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, Tobey is playing Spider-Man.’ But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster? Spider-Man and ME.”

According to Variety magazine, Tobey Maguire, who was then 27, made US$4 million in the 2002 film, starring as the superhero lead in the first film. His agents then managed to negotiate him US$17.5 million for the second sequel.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, a website which reports estimates of the total assets and financial activities of celebrities, Dunst made US$7 million for the sequel, Spiderman 2 and US$10 million for the third sequel, Spiderman 3, which came out in 2007. 

Let’s take a quick look at what the other Spider-men actors made in the last decade: 

Andrew Garfield 

According to Hollywood news site, Deadline, Andrew Garfield, who played Peter Parker in both The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) made roughly US$500,000 for the first and US$1 million for the sequel. 

The Amazing Spider-Man film became one of the highest-grossing of 2012, earning US$752 million at the global box office. Sony cast Emma Stone as the love interest Gwen Stacy, “on the cheap” according to Forbes, “…but the studio is paying her a lot more for the sequel.”

Stone became the world’s highest-paid actress in 2017. How much did she make for her role in Spider-man? This information hasn’t been made public.

In a 2017 interview with Out Magazine, the Oscar-award winning actress spoke out about the gender pay gap in Hollywood.

“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” she said. “And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair.”

“If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.”

Tom Holland

At 21, English actor Tom Holland, starred in the 2017 version, Spider-Man: Homecoming, taking home US$500,000 base salary. His eventual pay check topped US$1.5 million with bonuses. 

And what did his love interest, MJ, played by Zendaya, get? Once again, nobody knows.

Hollywood is sadly not immune to the gender pay gap that plagues most industries. A 2017 report, “Hollywood’s Wage Structure and Discrimination”, conducted by Lancaster University, revealed that female actors earned roughly US$1.1m less than male actors with similar experience.

The study also found that female actors earned on average US$2.2m less per film – that’s 56 percent less than men.

Dunst, who’s iconic career include The Virgin Suicides, Jumanji, Marie Antoinette and Drop Dead Gorgeous, is not the first female Hollywood star to speak out about the pay disparity between men and women. 

On Equal Pay Day in 2019, Michelle Williams stood on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington DC to talk about the gender pay gap promoting the Paycheck Fairness Act.

During her speech, Williams released that for her part in All the Money in the World (2017) she was paid less than $1,000 “…compared to the more than $1.5 million that my male counterpart [Mark Wahlberg] received for the exact same amount of work.”

In 2017, Natalie Portman revealed that she’d been paid one-third of what her costar Ashton Kutcher made for the 2011 rom-com, No Strings Attached.

“Compared to men in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar,” Portman said in an interview with Marie Claire UK. “In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”

“I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy,” Portman said.

“I knew and I went along with it,” Portman added, noting that Kutcher’s standard fee to take part in a film — his “quote” — was higher than hers. ”[Kutcher’s quote] was three times higher than mine, so they said he should get three times more.”

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