Celebrities and their salaries

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The President of the United States makes $200 000 a year. A Supreme Court justice gets $170 000. The average annual American household income is $34 076. And Steven Segal? He makes $10 million per picture. We want celebrities to be like us, and then we don't. We want them to inhabit a world of glamour, but we don't want them to be stuck up. We want to gaze at their big faces on the screen, yet it's our own narcissism we are feeding. Yet one thing's for sure - we don't like to hear about them making $10 million for lousy movies. For the most part, celebrities are not worth their enormous paychecks. Not only is it a ridiculous price to pay someone to stand in front of a camera but it has negative effects on the rest of the entertainment business. Due to the salary increases, production prices are rising, quality is lowering, and it is becoming increasingly harder for a television show or movie to become a hit.

Making money at the movies is problematic, though studios once thought star power was a surefire way to receive boffo box-office returns. These days star power is limited, and often meaningless, unless the film strikes a nerve with audiences. "There's no justification for any of these high salaries unless you get the actor in a film with a terrific idea," said an anonymous studio executive. "Look at Mr. Holland's Opus. The film was cheap. Richard Dreyfuss is no longer a star. But the idea counted." Yet studios continue to shell out for these big names, exploding the current price tag for the average studio film, including marketing and distribution to $60 million. The same is true for television programs such as Mad About You and The Simpsons. Helen Hunt...