Some of China's most high-profile actors and actresses are vastly overpaid, receiving up to 100 million yuan ($14.99 million) for a single movie or TV series, a China Central Television (CCTV) report found, a trend that the country's media watchdog vowed to curb on Friday.
According to a news program broadcast by CCTV on Friday, the minimum payment for some high-profile actors and actresses in China has reached 25 million yuan, and the highest already exceeded 100 million yuan, even though some films and TV series in which such performers participated have gained little popularity.
The report cited the example of the leading actor and actress in Ruyizhuan - a TV series telling a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) love story - who received 150 million yuan combined.
Also on Friday, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television pledged to direct actors' guilds and film and television production companies to formulate self-discipline on the appropriate remuneration of actors and actresses, according to xinhuanet.com.
The administration also discouraged television stations and video streaming websites from considering the involvement of popular actors as a determining factor in the purchase of television series.
"Remuneration for famous actors is usually the biggest expenditure for producers, as all investors care about is whether there are high-profile actors involved," a film production insider who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Remuneration always accounts for half and even 70 percent of film production costs," Hong Kong filmmaker Ng See-yuen told CCTV on Friday's program.
In contrast, remuneration for Hollywood actors only accounts for 10 percent to 30 percent of production costs, Olga Rodriguez-Aguirre, the national director of theatrical contracts at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, was quoted by CCTV as saying.
Although it is reasonable for excellent actors to receive high payment, their ridiculously high remuneration violates the law of markets, Lu Di, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"A good film or TV series is the result of teamwork. If the majority of production funding has already gone to performers, other team members cannot be paid properly, which makes them unable to produce good-quality films and TV series," said Lu.
"To tackle this problem, the government should impose more taxes on actors' payment and set up a remuneration ceiling," Lu advised.