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French movie stars 'are the highest paid'
France, which heavily subsidises its film industry despite low box-office receipts, has the “world’s best-paid actors” despite the fact that most movies do not make a profit, according to a leading movie distributor.
Most French movie stars are better paid than the vast majority of the world’s best-known stars, a French movie distributor said Friday, in a scathing attack on the country’s heavily subsidised film industry.
In a damning article in left-leaning daily Le Monde, Wild Bunch founder Vincent Maraval slammed an industry that massively overpays its actors out of all proportion to their international box office receipts.
“How come an actor like Vincent Cassel gets paid 226,000 euros for US hit “Black Swan” (box office receipts of 226 million euros) while taking home 1.5 million euros for French movie “Mesrine” (box office receipts of 22.6 million euros)?” he asked.
“Ten times less box office receipts and five times more salary – that seems to sum up the French film industry.”
Maraval pointed out that “Che” star Benicio Del Torro earned less per film than little-known French actor François-Xavier Demaison.
And Marilou Berry earned three times as much in critically-panned French movie “La Croisière” than Joaquin Pheonix in James Gray’s forthcoming film “Low Life”.
Beyond the astronomical sums being earned by French stars are the huge budgets France’s films enjoy, courtesy of a subsidy law that requires all French television channels to contribute to the industry in order to protect the art of French cinema.
The recent Asterix film, for example, cost 60 million euros to produce and was seen by just four million people. The budget being the same as the average smash-hit Tim Burton movie.
Maraval is not calling for an end to the subsidy system, which sees a wealth of films being produced every year that would otherwise be unable to compete on the world market, but he argues that it has got out of control.
Maraval points out there is a growing gap between the amount invested and box office receipts, which is hindering real innovation and wasting money during a global downturn.
The movie distributor believes it is time production companies capped payments for actors and directors at around 400,000 euros per project, with royalties only paid if a film makes more than it costs to produce.