Do you guys remember when the Chinese government’s State Administration for Radio and Television implemented a salary cap for actors last year? Or the rumors revolving around General and I paying exorbitant salaries the year before that? Reports like this have been going around for a long time.
After more than two months into the regulation to cap salaries, it seems that actors’ salaries have dropped considerably. According to insiders in the showbiz industry, the era of 100 million yuan paychecks are now a thing of the past. Aside from government policy, another reason for the lowered pay seems to be the return or rationality to the market. This new trend will give producers a chance to save some money, instead of paying A-list actors. This will also give other skilled but more budget friendly actors a chance to be cast in films and dramas. I mean, if you could get a cheaper but equally talented replacement for an A-list actress, that’s good news for the pocket, right?
Xie Xiaohu, a film producer, says that the current pay for actors and guest appearances in film, TV dramas and variety shows has bordered on 50 million yuan and the time of actor salaries reaching 100 million yuan are over. He adds that most actor salaries have fallen below the 50 million yuan “red line.”
According to talent manager Liu Xiaoyan, the actor’s salary reduction is aimed at actors, actresses, singers and talents that have received enormous paychecks. The impact isn’t felt so much by actors who have a lower pay grade since their salaries are the most ideal numbers in the industry. In short, cheaper is better, I guess.
With regards to production budget, the most probable cause for the budget decline is the government’s policy. Streaming sites and TV stations have returned to becoming more rational when buying dramas to air. They have also ironed out areas where overpricing can be done.
In the past, streaming sites like Youku or iQIYI would buy the rights to a drama they want to air if it had an A-list star in it. This led to a bloated budget. Now that actor salaries are regulated and some drama topics aren’t considered to be “hot” or popular, the streaming site or TV station will then ask for a reduction of the said actor’s salary. This leads to a smaller drama budget, in turn.
Overall, the reduction of actor salaries and drama budgets might be a good thing considering that the huge amount of money spent on production before can now go into the next drama or film they want to make. So far, though, producers don’t seem to be complaining about it.