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'Not easy to live on those salaries'
hv Our London Staff
LONDON, (Special),— Are film stars over paid? In a London newsDODer inauirv ? Michael
Wilding and Valerie Hob son both said 'No.' But readers in their letters con tinue to say 'Yes.' Take a look and see. Robert Donat, John Mills and Ann Todd come right out on top of Britain's list of film money-makers. Producers will pay them be tween £12,000 and £15,000 for a film. Then Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, Jean Simmons. They earn from £7000 a film to £10,000 or even £12,000. And Vivien Leigh and Laur ence Olivier? They can name their own figure — and if they particularly want to make a film they will take much less than their box office worth. In Holly wood, for instance, they could get £50,000 a film each. , ? * * * MOW the budget. Valerie Hobson says she earns only a fraction of the total expenditure on a picture. Her fraction works out at between £12 and £15 in every £100 the film costs. Take one average film cost ing £150,000. Sally Gray is the top star. The wages bill for her, the leading man, and fea tured players— the actors, whose names come below the title — would be about £20,000. Extras for the crowd players might bring the total up to £25,000. The producer has to pay up to £2000 a week to hire a studio. Picture studio charges and set construction — the biggest items on his bill— work out at between £60,000 -and £70,000. Note let us analyse a star's pay packet. Granger was paid £30,000 last year;
after paying income tax he had £6000 left. Then he paid £750 a year rent; staff — a secretary, cook and valet — look more than £1000. Ten per cent, for his agent would be £3000 on the year. Studios sometimes Help. The? will pay for a star's car while he is working. If it still sounds too much re member that most producers know exactly how much money a star will earn them at the box offices around the country. It is the one-and-ninepences from there that pay the bill. There is a new policy grow ing up, too. When Margaret Lockwood makes a picture now, her company may play a not so-well-known actor opposi.e her, and so save money. . That is the story in Britain, In Hollywood Humphrey Bo gart was paid £116,840 last year by his studio. Bette Davis pulled in £82,000. And Betty Grable has earned nearly as much. , , . .. The sums are higher, but the test is the same: How much are the fans prepared to pay into the cinemas to see the stars films? ♦ * * THE famous Boulting 1 Brothers, who have given Britain some of it3 most successful films, are mak ing a start to meet the film en sis by reducing salaries all round— including their own. 'It's got to happen,' they said. 'There is only a hand ful of stars in this country who can hope to keep up their pres ent earnings. They are the ones whose names are big enough to sell British pictures abroad. 'Actors like the Oliviers are worth every penny of £50,000 ior a single picture, but there are precious few like them. The rest will have to come down to reality.' ,, . So it looks as though quite a number of luxury houses— not to mention mink coats— win snon be on the market.