Monday, March 19, 2012

Who Makes the Moolah

Who makes the big bucks? No surprises there.

Chairman-CEO: $7 million to $20 million.

The consensus suggests that a salary of $4.5 million is common, but that's just the base. Add to that the largest share of a bonus pool based on performance and access to a program granting stock options and/or restricted stock. Unsurprisingly, the top studio executive would also have pretty much free reign with the company jet, some kind of reimbursement for a home theater and, possibly, reimbursement for an apartment in New York. ...

I'm not someone who waxes apoplectic over generous payouts. In Hollywood, heavy wage packets have been the norm forever (Louis B. Mayer, in his day, was the highest paid executive in the United States. $250,000. Deal with it.)

So call me a classical cynic on the subject. American executives have been over-compensated for so long -- based on anywhere else in the world -- that it has long since become "the natural order of things." Movie stars and big time athletes make millions too, but they are subject to a bidding process courtesy of the conglomerates that are controlled by highly-comped execs. As a Fox suit told me long ago:

Executives know what the upcoming film slates look like and have ways to push stock prices down around the time stock options are issued and push them up when they need to cash options in. Doesn't always work, but they always have an eye out for it ...

Big paydays have been an American tradition for a lot of years. And it won't be ending anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

And Dreamworks Management is lousy with them. Infested.

Movie Making by committee at its best. And a hearty pat on their own back at the end when they cut costs, and send shots to wicker huts in offshore lands.

Congrats fellas... You're all champs.

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