'Overpaid' French film stars get salary cut
French film stars, some of the best paid in the world, will be forced to take a pay cut if they want the movies they make to receive much-needed state subsidies.
The National Cinema Centre (CNC), a state entity that regulates the sector and doles out these aids, decided late last month to fix limits on how much actors, directors and screenwriters can be remunerated, business daily Les Echos revealed this week.
Frederic Goldsmith of the Association of Cinema Producers, who was made aware of the decision, told AFP that the salary limit only applied if filmmakers wanted to profit from state aids to make their movie.
"We cannot stop a person, in France, from earning more than a certain amount," he said, but pointed out that if a film star was paid more than the limit, the movie would not benefit from subsidies.
The move comes two years after one of the country's most influential producers and distributors Vincent Maraval published a comment piece in Le Monde daily slamming actors and actresses for being highly overpaid, even when their films flopped.
"French cinema depends on an economy that is more and more subsidised. Even its biggest commercial successes lose money," the Wild Bunch founder wrote in December 2012, to a huge outcry.
"Films are too expensive. After films made by US studios, France holds the world record in average production costs: 5.4 million euros ($6.6 million), whereas the average cost of an independent US film is around three million euros."
He singled out for particular criticism actor Dany Boon, whom as an example he said had been paid 3.5 million euros for "Un Plan Parfait", a 2012 film that did not make enough at the box office to pay his salary alone.
According to the new measures, the salary of an actor, director or screenwriter making a film whose budget is below four million euros cannot be more than 15 percent of production costs, if the movie wants to get CNC aids.
For films with higher budgets, this percentage diminishes and generally speaking, salaries are limited at a maximum of 990,000 euros.
"This is an important announcement as lots of films are supported by the CNC," Goldsmith said.
© 2014 AFP