Moneycontrol

Budget 2021

Associate Partners:

  • SMC
  • Samsung
  • Volvo

Moneycontrol

Budget 2021

Associate Partners:

  • SMCSamsungVolvo
Webinar :Join an expert panel for a webinar on Smart investments for a secure retirement January 28, 2021. Register now!

COVID-19 impact: Big paychecks to get smaller as star salaries may drop by 25%

Remuneration of superstars now account for 40-50 percent of production costs. While leading actors may also opt for profit-sharing, others may not be that lucky

July 09, 2020 / 09:33 AM IST

The film industry is also likely to see pay cuts. That includes your favourite stars as well. According to Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media, the extent of the cut will 20-25 percent.

For stars or A-list actors, this fall will reflect in the upfront amount they charge. Many stars, especially in Bollywood, also opt for profit-sharing along with an upfront fee.

Industry estimates put the fees of leading actors like Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh in Rs 35 crore-Rs 45 crore range. For leading ladies like Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone, it is in the Rs 5 crore-Rs 12 crore range.

These star ‘salaries’ take up a good portion of the overall film budget. “The remuneration of actors ranges from 20-25 percent for films with a modest starcast to up to 40-50 percent for films casting superstars,” said Kapoor.

Economics of filmmaking changes

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

Shibasish Sarkar, CEO, Reliance Entertainment, the company that has produced big ventures like Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and Ranveer Singh’s 83, highlighted the pain points in the film industry now.

“For theatrical releases, almost 60-70 percent revenue is dependent on domestic and overseas business. There is uncertainty on theatrical revenues. While digital revenues have shown a strong growth, there is a distinct question on satellite revenues as advertising revenues are under stress. In the post-COVID situation, there will be substantial requirement to be followed in the shooting floor, which will increase daily costs,” Sarkar said.

“In this scenario, producers will definitely curtail cost of production.

Even the remuneration to technicians and costs in other aspects of filmmaking will be relooked,” he explained.

Regional film industry stars will also see fee cuts 

Actors down south and in other regional film industry will also see a drop in their fees. Recently, Malayalam artists association has agreed to reduce the remuneration to stars and other artists. The Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) has agreed for salary reduction.

Film trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said that other film industries in south will follow suit. While producers are asking for a 50 percent cut in star ‘salaries’, they will have to do with a 30 percent reduction. In addition, star directors will also see pay cuts, he added.

Southern stars account for 40-50 percent of the total cost of production, said Pillai. “No star will get a huge fee as the risks are high. Even after theatres reopen, the occupancy levels will be low for around a year. Plus, COVID-19 will eat into 30 percent box office revenue,” he said.

Marathi filmmaker and producer Akshay Bardapurkar said: “A film which was made out of Rs 3 crore will now cost Rs 2 crore. So, right from artist fee to locations to director and writers fee, each and every area is affected.”

Let’s share profits

Does this mean more actors will take the profit-sharing route already followed by stars like Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan? Pillai said they will be forced to do so.

Kapoor says “smaller and upcoming stars are unlikely to be offered this option, and may have to take a pay cut.” In the Marathi industry, too, sharing profits may not be an ideal situation.

“They (stars) began to get into the profit-sharing scene only a few years back. However, it failed to take off since stars can share profits only if a film does well at the box office. While Marathi films do well on the content level and are even recognised by critics and have received several awards, they don’t have a great run at the box office. Artists are wary of this situation and want to settle for a fixed fee,” said Bardapurkar. However, a star’s salary in Marathi films is only 10-20 percent of the total film cost, he added.

Actors across languages have agreed for pay cuts. In an interview, Kartik Aaryan said that he was open for a cut. In fact, Tamil actor Vijay Antony, who has to his credit films like Kaali, had, in May, said in a statement that he will take a 25 percent fee cut for his upcoming three ventures.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jul 9, 2020 09:33 am

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections