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The Big Money Makers

by Fred Stanley

The New York Times, March 3, 1946 page II 3

"Standard Prices"

One hundred and fifty thousand dollars a picture now appears to the standardized as the salary for Hollywood's current "name-above-title" stars. This per-film rate, now seemingly almost as rigid as an OPA ceiling price, applies particularly to the so-called freelance stars and to those who are loaned to other companies by the producers to whom they are under contract.

Representative of the present $150,000 group are Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Fontaine, Myrna Loy, Fred MacMurray, Claudette Colbert, Charles Boyer, Teresa Wright, David Niven, Joan Crawford, and Joseph Cotten. Among the freelance exceptions in higher brackets are Gary Cooper, $200,000 per picture and Ginger Rogers and James Stewart, $175,000 each. In the $100,000 class are Loretta Young, Merle Oberon, Robert Cummings, George Sanders and Charles Coburn. Representatives of the $75,000 supporting player group are Walter Brennan and Franchot Tone.

The veritable salary-standardization seems to have accompanied the trend toward decentralized production and the increase in independent company filming. In contracts made with these companies by the $150,000 stars, the deals generally specify fourteen weeks as a maximum engagement, but in several recent instances the contracts have provided for a twelve-week maximum, with two weeks to be contributed salary-free. This is in order that each additional week beyond fourteen will be reckoned as a twelfth of the per-picture salary ($12,500 a week) instead of a fourteenth. Moreover, it is not uncommon for top-name players to obtain from independent producers a share in the picture's profit in addition to their established salaries.

© 1946 The New York Times

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