Donate SIGN UP

Do actors get a share in the film's profits

01:00 Mon 15th Apr 2002 |

A.� A six-month dispute which threatened to cost the British film industry millions of pounds has just ended after producers agreed film actors a greater share in the profits.

The actors' union Equity, which was backed by celebrities such as Ewan McGregor, Julie Walters and Zoe Wanamaker, demanded the same right as US actors to a share in the proceeds of television screenings, and video and DV sales of films.

Since September last year, British Equity members have been refusing to work on films in production in the UK unless new terms are agreed. Their action threatened the production of two of the biggest budget features shot in Britain this year�- the next James Bond film, Die Another Day, and the Harry Potter sequel. Both production teams signed agreements with Equity, as did 18 other lower budget productions.

Q.� How are American actors paid

A.� American actors benefit from profit shares from the first day of a film's release, with an extra "cut" from a film if it is successful. British actors, until now, were given only a flat rate that "bought out" their rights.

On the Tom Cruise blockbuster Mission: Impossible, shot at the Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, �1.3 million in profit shares was paid to the small number of Americans in the cast, while the British actors did not benefit in this way.

Q.� What will the agreement mean now

A.� As well as the profit-sharing scheme, minimum pay rates for actors will rise, and they will also get holiday pay and pensions.

The agreement has wider implications too. It is seen as a huge step towards restoring the confidence of US studios considering filming in the UK. Hollywood investment in Britain dropped by more than half last year.

Steve Norris, the British film commissioner, said recently: "Foreign producers like shooting in the UK because of the stability. This dispute did not look good."

For more film and TV questions and answers, just click here

By Katharine MacColl

Do you have a question about Film, Media & TV?