Hollywood trickle down movie-economics

Global Business

Hollywood trickle down movie-economics

As movie profits go up, so do the payouts to its lead actors – but what about the rest of the cast.

There’s definitely a pay gap in Hollywood, and the exploding trend of low budget productions, by streaming and premium cable platforms, seems to be widening that gap further.

CGTN’s May Lee reports.

Hollywood trickle down movie-economics

As movie profits go up, so do the payouts to its lead actors - but what about the rest of the cast. There's definitely a pay gap in Hollywood, and the exploding trend of low budget productions, by streaming and premium cable platforms, seems to be widening that gap further. CGTN's May Lee reports.

It’s no secret that Hollywood is the mecca for struggling actors dreaming of making it big, but not everyone becomes an Emma Stone or George Clooney. So, they rely on roles and gigs that keep them afloat. More and more often now, those rates are being pushed down.

Industry experts blame some of that squeeze on the other end of the spectrum giant payouts to A-list stars. Variety’s annual television salary report reveals some eye-popping figures. 3 stars of the The Big Bang Theory, a wildly popular show worldwide, including in China, make a
million dollars per episode. A season has 24 episodes.

“That’s an ongoing concern even here in Hollywood is escalating fees, escalating price for talent and now that you’ve got so much competition from streaming services, from premium cable, things are really getting a little out of control,” Michael Schneider, editor-at-large at Variety.

Platforms like Netflix and HBO are heating things up by enticing big name actors with big time salaries. House of Cards star Kevin Spacey makes $500,000 per episode as do Lena Headey and Kit Harington of Game of Thrones- big difference from just a few years back when pay for top-level talent on broadcast or basic cable often maxed out at 125,000. That meant overall budgets stretched further down the production food chain.

“What we found in Hollywood especially is the pendulum swings back and forth. So right when the market is sort of over-taxed and people are spending way too much money on certain things, the market adjusts, and it starts to go the other direction,” Schneider said.

But until then, actors at the top of their game will keep the masses entertained in exchange for some dizzying payouts.