Super-studded Salary Cheques


I farm my “big” novels out to beta readers before publication, for feedback that only readers with who have never read the story before and who are not writers can provide me.  One of the books that had a round of beta-readers was Blood Stone.

An email I got from one beta reader made me smile a little, because the reader was insisting almost angrily that the forty million dollar salary I had arranged for the A-List movie star, Patrick Sauvage, in Blood Stone was completely unrealistic.

Here’s an expanded version of my response back:

Not only was $40M for a movie for one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood bang on target, I even simplified and sold Sauvage short for the sake of keeping the story streamlined.

Johnny Depp, for example, made $35M for Pirates of The Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, but that was just his salary as the star.  He was also given a percentage on video, DVD and Blu-Ray, and given Executive Producer title, which would also have provided a percentage of the income.

He made $40M for Alice In Wonderland and $20M for The Tourist, and both these figures are just his back-end cut from income earned in 2011 (in other words, revenue provided from sales of DVDs, Blu-Ray, rentals, merchandise, etc.), not his actual front-end star salary, which was earned in previous years.

Leonardo DiCaprio earned $69 million in 2011 just in back-end income from Inception.  DiCaprio’s standard movie fee back then was $20 million per movie, but it is reported he took a massive 90% pay cut for Inception, and instead made a rare box-office gross arrangement – where he took a percentage of the box office (not net earnings), and thus earned one of the highest salaries of the year…and the next.

Even Kirsten Stewart, Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner, the three brand new stars who were virtually unknown before the Twilight franchise was launched, now earn a whopping $12.5 million each per movie, and are busmoviesy cutting deals with clothing companies, perfume houses and more for sponsorships and advertising campaigns to further enhance their incomes and reputations.

So, no, an A-list star holding out for a straight $40 million dollars for a single movie isn’t unrealistic at all.  In fact, it’s almost undershooting reality, because the millions (and billions) of dollars flowing in Hollywood is staggering.

It the sort of money that makes my biweekly paycheque look positively pathetic….


First appeared on Flirty Author Bitches, September 2012.  This post has been modified.

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