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The biggest female box office draws as Olivia Colman hits out at pay disparity

Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman has hit out at gender pay disparity, with the performer saying she would get “paid more” if she was a man.

The Norwich-born star – known for her roles in The Favourite, The Crown and Peep Show – dismissed suggestions that male actors encourage cinemagoers to watch movies.

Here are some of the top female box office draws throughout cinema history:

– Julia Roberts

World premiere of Ticket to Paradise
Julia Roberts (Ian West/PA)

The films in which Roberts has starred in have collectively grossed more than four billion dollars globally, according to movie industry database The Numbers, making her one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.

Roberts was the world’s highest-paid actress throughout most of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s. She received fees of 20 million dollars and 25 million dollars for her roles in Erin Brockovich in 2000 and Mona Lisa Smile in 2003 respectively.

– Marilyn Monroe

Long after her death, Monroe remains a pop culture icon – known for playing comic “blonde bombshell” characters. She played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, but expressed discontent at being typecast and underpaid by film studios.

Monroe was a top-billed actress for a decade from the 1950s, and her films grossed 200 million dollars by the time of her death in 1962.

– Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor – Cannes Film Festival
Dame Elizabeth Taylor (Ian West/PA)

Dame Elizabeth began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. Despite being one of MGM’s most bankable stars, Dame Elizabeth wished to end her career in the early 1950s, resenting the studio’s control and disliking many of the films to which she was assigned.

Dame Elizabeth became the world’s highest paid movie star in the 1960s, remaining a well-known public figure for the rest of her life.

– Lillian Gish

Known as the “First Lady of American Cinema”, Gish was a pioneering star of the silent film era. Having acted on stage with her sister as a child, Gish was a prominent actress from 1912 into the 1920s.

This included her leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, DW Griffith’s The Birth Of A Nation in 1915 – which is highly controversial for its heroic portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan.

– Meryl Streep

Mary Poppins Returns European Premiere – London
Meryl Streep (Matt Crossick/PA)

Streep has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including a record 21 Academy Award nominations, winning three. She starred in The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs Kramer in the late 1970s which were both major commercial successes and consecutive winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Her commercial success has continued into recent decades, including her role in 2008’s hit Abba musical Mamma Mia!

– Greta Garbo

The Swedish-American actress was a premiere star during Hollywood’s silent and early golden eras. In 1928, Garbo starred in A Woman Of Affairs, which catapulted her to MGM’s highest box-office star, surpassing the long-reigning Lillian Gish.

Garbo was known for her melancholic, sombre persona, as well as her portrayals of tragic characters.

– Scarlett Johansson

The world’s highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, Johansson’s films have grossed more than 15 billion dollars worldwide, according to The Numbers, making her one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time.

As well as starring in the Marvel cinematic universe, she is known for her appearances in more independent films such as Lost In Translation in 2003, directed by Sofia Coppola, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin in 2013.

– Shirley Temple

The American actress, singer, dancer, and diplomat was Hollywood’s number-one box office draw as a child actress from 1934 to 1938. Later, Temple was named United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and also served as Chief of Protocol.