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Johnny Depp will be paid a reported $35 million for his role in the 4th "Pirates" movie

Johnny Depp will be paid a reported $35 million for his role in the 4th "Pirates" movie

One comment that a lot of Inside Redbox readers make is that most actors are overpaid, and if Hollywood wants to cut some costs from its films, star compensation would be a great place to start. The CEO of Paramount parent Viacom, Philippe Dauman, is apparently in agreement, judging from his recent comments at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. When asked about the high salaries earned by A-list actors and directors, Dauman didn’t mince words:

“That has to change. . . It’s no longer possible for a studio to make a big budget picture, and pay (actors and directors) a huge percentage of gross (revenues from ticket sales) before you recover your costs. They have to share the risk.”

Dauman also addressed Paramount’s “trial period” agreement with Redbox, which is set to expire soon. He had the follwoing terse comment to make regarding whether or not Paramount will continue to provide Redbox with new titles immediately upon release:

“We’re going to analyze the data and see where it takes us,”

Is Dauman right, Insiders? More importantly, do you think anything’s going to change with stratospheric star salaries anytime soon? Finally, what’s Paramount’s decision going to be regarding Redbox?

[via USA Today]

18 Responses to “Viacom CEO: Actors and Directors are Overpaid”

  1. Member [Join Now]
    Doug [mouthsmasher-2]

    I certainly can’t disagree with the idea of the studios slashing director and actor payments instead of complaining that WE aren’t paying them enough.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    Will Farrell made $20 million for land of the lost.
    nuff said

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Robert [visitor]

    I think paying actors a huge percentage of gross only makes sense for sequels, because you have a lot of known info (if the first movie was a blockbuster, odds are the second one will be too if you can draw enough of the actors that people enjoy to improve the odds of the sequel doing well).

    If you are doing the first movie, actors and directors will have to compromise. You don’t know if the first movie will do well at the box office and many stars/directors just don’t have the perceived drawing power (see Will Ferrell that was mentioned in a recent comment). Actors should compromise and they’ll get their payday if the movie is successful enough to have a sequel or spinoff.

    As for Paramount, I say they are going to renew. You’d have to think a cut of every redbox rental is better than no cut from every redbox rental since I think the genie is out of the bottle in regards to getting people to want to go back to buying DVD’s to own rather than just rent for a reasonable fee.

    • Member [Join Now]
      Doug [mouthsmasher-2]

      I agree, and it also makes sense that they could/should make a little more on the sequel so they same actors can play the same characters. It seems to help keep the integrity of the film.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    monkey [visitor]

    This is why so many aspiring actors or actress wannabee live in LA hoping to make it to the big payday. I went to Disneyland 6 years ago and stopped by a supermarket in Hollywood . I was so amazed to see so many blond women with huge breasts and blond men with buff arms shopping in the store. I don’t usually see so many of them in one place. I felt like I was on a different planet.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    rb [visitor]

    I like Johnny Depp, BUT NO actor or actress is worth 35 million per picture–successful sequel or not! This is just more proof of how the studios ‘overvalue’ their movies/industry, and then keep complaining that Redbox ‘devalues’ the industry with their $1 rentals to the point where they/the studios struggle to pay the little guys like the lighting and sound crew. Studios need to go back to square one and put a cap on the salary of actors and directors so the consumers aren’t expected or being forced to pay more at the box office, retail, or for rentals to compensate for the studios poor business decisions in the first place.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Johnny Knox [visitor]

    I tend to agree, why should the studio shoulder all the risk, besides it’s been proven that great movies can be made without big name actors and directors. Like a previous poster said.. 20 million for Land of the Lost? That alone goes a long way toward the argument that Hollywood overvalue’s it’s own work. It’s the same lesson the music industry is learning, you can’t continue to put out albums with 1 or 2 good songs and expect people to buy the whole thing.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Ted Nuggent [visitor]

    Consumers want to consume low cost media. The number of distribution points to serve this need is only increasing with more redbox machines, more piracy and more connections to the internet.

    Hollywood needs to develop product and price it according to the demand for low cost consumption. That is not to say Hollywood shouldn’t make even more gross dollars going forward. If they can figure out how to cut costs (ie, actors, marketing etc) then the studios and consumers win.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Richard Branson [visitor]

    Johnny Depp owns an island!?! WTF, I had to fly around in the world in a friggin ballon before I could own an island!

    The actors only become A list actors because they get put in big budget movies. Jennifer Aniston didn’t make big buck for the movie Management yet it did very well at Redbox. In turn, Redbox bought a ton of copies from Hollywood. Sounds like these types of situations need to occur more.

  9. Member [Join Now]

    $35 Million to dress up and play a friggin’ pirate?!? WTF? If the studios are dumb enough to overpay these ridiculous salaries to these actors then let them swim in the red ink.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    Vernon Dent [visitor]

    Pay no attention to “Hollywood accounting”. Who is the source of the info? An IRS agent who just conducted an audit?

    The hyperbole is purely for sensationalism.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    John Small [visitor]

    The real question is how much less money would a Pirates of the Caribbean movie make if they filmed it without Depp.

    I suspect it would make far less than the 35million he is being paid.

    So the studios have a choice: $350 million NA box office with Depp or $200 million NA box office without.

    Do the math and you’ll understand why he gets the money.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Mike [visitor]

      I think you are being generous with that $200 million figure. Depp makes that movie, everyone else can be replaced. Personally, I an not usually a fan of his, but what he has brought to life in that character can not be duplicated.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        John Small [visitor]

        I was being generous to the franchise.

        But even with that generosity, people can’t deny that Depp is worth the 35 million for being in the movie.

        Overpaid? Not in this case, that is for sure.

        • Administrator
          Michael [administrator]

          I have to agree with John on this. In general, I don’t fault the studios for paying any particular amount for big name actors. It is all marketing and if it brings a good ROI, then it was a good decision.

          The case of a sequel is a great one to look at, because it is true, without Depp, would people even bother to see the latest edition? The quickest way to devalue a franchise is to change actors in a sequel, especially when the character has very specific personality traits, as in Pirates.

          However, I will say that if studios are having a problem turning a profit, then they definitely need to look at what they are paying out and cut expenses, or figure out a legitimate way to bring in more revenue. By legitimate, I mean NOT by trying to kill Redbox/kiosks because they want to artificially keep prices higher.

          Plus, as of late it looks like they are playing favorites, as the NCR/Blockbuster Express seems to be getting new releases on time, yet are charging the same $1/night. I even read a comment on a Mashable article that says Hastings and Neighborhood Video(?) in Oklahoma are charging $1/week. Could have been a typo, but either way, prices are coming down everywhere, but only Redbox is getting singled out here? Just adds more fuel to their lawsuits.

          • Visitor [Join Now]
            The Turnip [visitor]

            I don’t know of a “Neighborhood Video”, but I can confirm $1 per WEEK for new releases has been in effect at Hastings for over a month ($2 per week new release Blu-Ray).

  12. Member [Join Now]

    redbox is the shizzznet blockbuster who netflick who

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    IceeHot [visitor]

    It seems like some of you need to understand that Johnny Depp’s star power probably draws enough people to make up a huge percentage of the box office gross. While some people couldnt care less about who the actor is, stars do have solid, hardcore fans, lots of them, who will pay to watch their movies no matter how interseting the story is to them. This is the reason why studios are willing to pay them so much money, because theyre most likely to make that money back and more.