The Year of the Scarlett

Alex Slater /
Jan 9, 2017 / Film & TV

At the end of December, Scarlett Johansson was named as the highest grossing actor of 2016, meaning perhaps she doesn’t feel as badly about the year as the rest of us do. So, how do you become the world’s highest grossing actor in a year?

Answer: Captain America: Civil War (mostly).

The Marvel franchise is one that attracts the eyes and ears of millions, it’s discussed heavily across the globe, and always, always, grosses highly. This year would be no exception to this rule.

The latest instalment to the Marvel universe grossed over 1.1 billion dollars world-wide as it’s all-star cast including Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and, of course, Scarlett Johansson. This one film therefore, covered the lion’s share of the contribution to Johansson’s 1.2 billion figure in 2016.

Hail, Caesar! was the film that pushed Johansson to the top of the grossing list by the end of 2016 despite being relatively unsuccessful in the box office. In total it grossed around 60 million dollars worldwide despite being relatively well received by critics.

It’s hard to remember that 60 million dollars is a lot of money, when the figures like 1.2 billion are being discussed. However, it was crucial to sending Scarlett Johansson to the top of the charts this year, meaning she edged out her fellow Captain America: Civil War stars in a tight battle for the top spot.

But Scarlett Johansson topping the charts is more than just the answer to a pub quiz. It’s the start of a Hollywood movement.

The reality is, Scarlett Johansson is somewhat an anomaly within the Hollywood world right now. She’s the highest grossing woman of all time within film, and most importantly, is still increasing in relevance. Is this a time for feminine empowerment within Hollywood?

Up until very recently, there was a very set role for women in these big Hollywood franchises: the love interest of the lead male.

However, as much as Scarlett Johansson is the only woman at the top right now, females are becoming more powerful within these huge franchises. Just look at Suicide Squad and Star Wars, both are new (yes I know they both have ‘roots’), and both have incredibly strong and interesting female roles within them.

Daisy Ridley, playing Rey in Star wars, and Margot Robbie in Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad could be the next step in this female empowerment that’s making progress in Hollywood. Even Jennifer Lawrence, who has seen her big franchise (The Hunger Games) conclude, still has incredible relevance within the Hollywood scene.

Scarlett Johansson has shown it can be done; she’s shrugged off all her competitors and ended 2016 at the top of them all. This is her showing the world, not only what she’s capable of, but what women are capable of.

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Words by Alex Slater

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