Stars ‘shocked’ at gender pay disparity in Hollywood

Michelle Williams
Updated 13 January 2018
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Stars ‘shocked’ at gender pay disparity in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES: Stars are sharing their shock at reports of a significant pay disparity between Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams for reshoots on the Ridley Scott film “All the Money in the World.”
Two reports say Wahlberg was paid far more than Williams for the reshoots in which Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer after accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Spacey. USA Today reported this week that Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for the 10 days of reshoots, while Williams got less than $1,000 for the same work.
Representatives for Wahlberg and Williams did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. Imperative Entertainment, which produced the film, declined to comment.
But actor Liam Neeson said it is a healthy and necessary discussion to have, because “the disparity, sometimes, is (expletive) disgraceful.”
“We as men have got to be part of it,” he told The Associated Press earlier this week. “We started it, so we have to be part of the solution.”
He said he would not take a pay cut to make things equal, “but there has to be parity. There just has to be.”
Actress Diane Kruger said she was surprised by the size of the wage gap between Wahlberg and Williams, but that she also is not paid the same as the men she works with.
“I have never been paid the same as my male co-star, ever,” Kruger said. “But often it is not them. It is the studios or whoever makes the deal, and it is terrible because it makes you feel undervalued or easily exchangeable. And it is just not OK, in any field, not just as an actor...
“I think we need to be more conscious when we make deals, to be strong and stay united... where we have a coherent plan of us women, what we need to do to make this happen.”
Veteran actress Rita Moreno also said she was shocked by the news, but she does not blame Wahlberg.
“That is his business. That is what actors do — they get paid very handsomely, especially if they are big stars,” she said. “She’s a big star too though. I don’t get that.”
Guillermo del Toro, who shouted about women’s equality as credits rolled on the Critics’ Choice Awards Thursday night, said he makes sure actresses on his productions are treated fairly.
“I think it’s incredibly important, because the work and the profession are exactly the same,” he said, adding that Hollywood used to recognize that. “If you go back to the golden era of Hollywood, this is not something that was happening then. You had great actresses — Joan Crawford, Bette Davis — that were fuel for the movies, that were engines for the movies, and were treated and paid and considered in the same realm. Whenever it changed, it should change back.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale" actor Joseph Fiennes said women should take action if things do not change.
“I'm reminded of Iceland, 1979, when all the women went on strike,” he said. “They went on strike; they gave the babies to the men; they disappeared. The country fell down and now it is the only country in Europe that has practically parity of pay and has since had two female leaders. So, you have to go on strike. You can’t give up, and you get results that way.”


Big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be billion-dollar industry by 2030

Saudi Arabia is expected to become a significant box office market. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be billion-dollar industry by 2030

  • Saudi has huge opportunities and is expected to become a significant box office market worth $1 billion (SR3.75 billion)

DUBAI: The big-screen business in Saudi Arabia will be a billion-dollar industry by 2030, according to experts, as regional and global movie operators queue up for a ticket into the Kingdom’s hugely profitable movie market.
Saudi Arabia is expected to amass the largest share of the cinema business in the Arabian Gulf region by 2030, with hundred of cinemas and thousands of screens set to open across the Kingdom over the next 12 years.
Within months of Saudi Arabia formally ending a 35-year-long ban on cinemas, three cinema operation licenses were awarded to operate in the Kingdom, the first was to AMC Theaters, an American chain owned and operated by Wanda Group. It opened the Kingdom’s first modern cinema on April 18 and plans to open around 40 cinemas in 15 cities in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, and between 50 to 100 cinemas in about 25 cities by 2030.
Shortly after, the second license was awarded to VOX Cinemas, now one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest movie operators. It plans to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia in the next five years, the same number of screens as the company’s regional footprint combined.
In July, it was announced the the third license had been awarded to the Al-Rashed United Group — Empire Cinema — which plans to build 30 theaters in the country over the next three years. And last month, a fourth license was awarded to Lux Entertainment Co., which plans to open 300 cinemas across the Kingdom within five years.
VOX, which plans to open 80 new screens over the next 12 months, says the Kingdom will form half of its overall revenues in the Middle East over the next five years.
“Saudi has huge opportunities and is expected to become a significant box office market worth $1 billion (SR3.75 billion),” said Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al-Futtaim Cinemas, of which VOX Cinemas is a subsidiary.
He said the Kingdom’s box-office market is expected to become “one of the largest” in the world, with a majority of its 32-million population under the age of 30. “The market is massive and full of opportunities as the population is young and enthusiastic about cinema.”
Will Saudi Arabia ever host the world premiere of a Hollywood movie? No one’s saying right now, but with such a covetable box-office market, it may only be a matter of time.