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“He doesn’t bring in the box office”: Meryl Streep Might Have Been Wrong About Sylvester Stallone’s Box Office Power and Insane Movie Salary

The actor was reportedly paid $15 million in 1990 to star in Rock V, the lowest-grossing film in the franchise.

"He doesn’t bring in the box office": Meryl Streep Might Have Been Wrong About Sylvester Stallone's Box Office Power and Insane Movie Salary


  • Meryl Streep once criticized the huge salaries commanded by stars like Sylvester Stallone despite not justifying it with box office numbers.
  • The statement irked Sylvester Stallone who justified his earnings with the pre-sales and box office numbers of his films.
  • The grosses of his films, especially the Rocky and Rambo franchises, prove his statement.

Meryl Streep is one of the most important and recognized actors working in the industry right now. The veteran actor has been dubbed the greatest actress of her generation by many as evidenced by her record 21 Academy Award nominations. Streep has won the coveted award thrice and continues to pull audiences after more than forty years in the industry.

Streep has also been vocal about her stance against the gender pay disparity in Hollywood and has criticized the practice on many stages. However, she once implied the huge salary drawn by action star Sylvester Stallone was not worthy as his box office collections were not as big. Stallone staunchly disagreed with her statement.

Also read: “Don’t do it, you will ruin your career”: Nicole Kidman Was Warned Before Saying Yes to Her Oscar Winning Role in Meryl Streep’s Movie The Hours

Mery Streep’s Statement On Sylvester Stallone’s Salary

Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia
Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia

As one of the veteran female stars who has had a long career in the industry, many young and upcoming actresses look at Meryl Streep as an inspiration. Her longevity indicates her dedication to the craft and her stature as a star who brings audiences to the screens with her mere presence.

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Being at such a stage, Streep has always used her power to advocate for better treatment and pay for actresses in Hollywood. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1994, Streep spoke about the type of roles that are written for women, in which they are mostly sexualized. She also spoke about Hollywood’s practice of focusing on younger women,

“Films operate on the level of dreams and fears and projections, so when people imagine themselves, they imagine themselves in their glamorous prime. I think if there were an enormous audience clamoring for stories that centered on 50-year-old women, then these guys would be killing themselves out here to find those scripts.”

Also read: “The pregnant woman caught her”: Emily Blunt Got Savagely Shut Down After Asking Meryl Streep To Play Her Lowly Servant in a Film

Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice
Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice

Meryl Streep also brought up the issue of the gender pay gap, where actresses earn far less than their male counterparts. When an argument was put forth that male stars command such huge salaries due to their box-office draw, Streep disagreed citing a particular example,


“It isn’t based on that…Now I love [she goes off the record to name a major male movie star], but he doesn’t bring in the box office. But he will command a big salary…because he’s a guy, guy, guy…he seems valuable, but really, in terms of box office, if you put his name on that marquee, it’s not going to bring in the people who watch Beavis and Butt-head. Am I wrong?”

While the name of the star was not published in the interview, it is widely believed that Streep was referring to action star Sylvester Stallone. The actor reportedly earned $15 million in 1990 for Rocky V, which was the lowest-grossing Rocky film.

Also read: “I’ll take it as a compliment”: Clint Eastwood Was Pleased After Meryl Streep Based Her Most Terrifying Villain Role Based on 4-Time Oscar Winner

Was Meryl Streep Wrong In Assessing Sylvester Stallone’s Worth?

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky

While Sylvester Stallone may not be on the level of Meryl Streep in terms of acting ability, or Oscars, the action star has steeped himself in pop culture with his notable franchises like Rocky and Rambo. Stallone was one of the biggest stars of the late 80s and 90s along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and was known throughout the globe.

Stallone began his career with the sports drama Rocky, which he wrote, and was paid a measly $75,000 as he wanted to star in the film. The film was made on a budget of $860,00 and ended up earning $225 million at the box office, bringing in a huge profit. The Rocky franchise as a whole, with nine films, has earned $1.9 billion globally. His Rambo franchise, which consists of five films has earned $819 million.

Stallone’s box office numbers and the pre-release sales were a huge part of his salary back when he was at his peak. The actor revealed once that he was offered $34 million during Rambo 3 to make a fourth film. He disregarded Streep’s comments on his salary being ‘preposterous’ in an interview with the Chicago Tribune,

“No, they`re not preposterous. She`s a great actress, but movie companies add up her box-office scores and when she`s in the red, she`s not going to get the big bucks. If they pay me $30 million, it`s because the movie has been pre-sold worldwide. There`s no gamble. It`s a done deal.”

Despite her well-intended sentiments on the issue of the gender pay gap, Meryl Streep seemed to have gone wrong with this one.

Also read: “Meryl looks like an unmade bed”: Sharon Stone’s Absurd Reason Why Meryl Streep Gets So Many Movies Left Fans Scratching Their Heads

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Written by Nishanth

Nishanth is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.