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Opinion
Tara Lachapelle

Will the Stars Ever Make Money in This Town Again?

As subscriptions to Netflix, HBO Max and other apps displace box-office income, it’s changing how everyone in Hollywood gets paid.

Streaming almost trimmed her paycheck.

Streaming almost trimmed her paycheck.

Photographer: Brian Ach/Getty Images; Illustration: Jessica Karl

Over nearly two years, as Covid-19 has kept people away from movie theaters and in front of their TVs, the economics of Hollywood have been transformed. Digital streaming apps have displaced the box office, and that in turn is changing how everyone in the business gets paid — even stars in the wealthiest reaches of show business.

The shift hasn’t always gone smoothly. Last summer, one of film’s biggest actors, Scarlett Johansson, fought back — and in the process offered a glimpse of streaming’s drastic financial impact.