The 10 actors who have been nominated for this year’s Oscars were paid a combined $20 million of upfront wages, reports The New York Times in a story on the new economics of Hollywood. That’s a bit more than Julia Roberts’ earnings from Erin Brockovich in 2001.
That means that 10 of the most talented Hollywood stars earned a total of Rs100 crore for their work, if we were to round off the numbers. That is a modest Rs10 crore per star. The rest of the money comes later, as a sort of bonus if the studio covers its costs after the film is released.
Now take a look at our very own Bollywood. Hard data is hard to come by, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many of the top men (alas, not women) in showbiz get paid around Rs10 crore a film—around the same as what their international peers get. There is also the fact that our stars are often the highest taxpayers in recent years.
Economic theory tells us that wages equalize as poor countries catch up with the rich ones. But we did not expect it to happen so soon in showbiz.