30 Sep 3 WAYS CHINA CAN LOWER STAR SALARIES
Recently China’s media regulators cracked down on star salaries. That may be a quick fix but it’s not the real solution.
The Chinese box office exploded a couple of years ago shooting stars’ salaries into the stratosphere.
Last week the article “Chinese TV Guilds Issue Salary Cap for Stars” reported Chinese regulators took steps to cap stars’ sky high salaries. It said that “A-listers’ staggering salaries could soon see a dip, with China’s film, television, and radio sector passing guidelines on Friday to cap actors’ wages at 40 percent of a production’s total budget.””
In the article “Chinese Movie Stars Are Seeing Salaries Triple Thanks to China’s Hollywood Ambitions” Schuyler (Sky) Moore, a lawyer in Los Angeles who works closely with Chinese studios said “Chinese stars’ rates have gone up three times in the last year for the big mainstream actors.”
On top of that, now Hollywood is hunting for Chinese deals. So, Chinese actors who can speak English are in high demand.
In the article “Media Watchdog to Crack Down on Exorbitant Actors Fees” a CCTV report noted that some actors were receiving 100 million RMB (US $15 million) for a single movie or TV series. The article compared Chinese stars to their Korean counterparts. The article said one producer for a popular South Korean TV series Descendants of the Sun (太阳的后裔), claimed that “Korean actors only account for 20 to 30 percent of production costs compared to China, where actors took 50 to 80 percent.””
But does a star – one person – make or break a film or TV series? No – it’s teamwork – in front and behind the camera. And paying one person the majority of the budget will hurt the quality of the film or TV series.
So, what’s the solution?
1. GROOM NEW STARS
Producers are guilty of chasing after the same top talent as if “A” list talent guarantees success. (Remember “The Great Wall”?). “A” list talent only guarantees an outrageous budget. Producers need to groom new stars or forever be chasing “A” list talent who are booked for years to come.
2. LEARN ENGLISH
Any Chinese actor with ambition to cross borders should learn English. Chinese films don’t travel. And with China’s crack down on salaries, the U.S. looks a lot more attractive right now.
3. LEAVE POLITICS OUT OF IT
As mentioned above, – Korean stars are easier on the budget than top Chinese stars. And Korean stars are huge in China. However, the Chinese government took offensive over THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) – the U.S. – South Korean missile shield program. China punished South Korea by banning Korean stars from Chinese film and TV.
Considering Korean stars usually take a smaller fee than Chinese stars – perhaps China should lift the ban on Korean stars. Cheap help is hard to find.
What’s your choice? The invisible hand of free market capitalism? Or a government regulated star system? Leave your comment below.