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in Filmmaking
on Jul 26, 2006

Sharon Waxman in The New York Times has a piece up on another conflict arising about the film Crash — its lack of payments so far to its profit participants. As anyone who works in the film business knows, this is almost par for the course, but in the Crash case, the system’s inequities are highlighted by the film’s extraordinary success. In addition to winning the Academy Award, the $7.5 million film has “taken in” $180 million around the world.

The movie’s co-writer and director, Paul Haggis, has so far made less than $300,000 on the film, a pittance by Hollywood standards. The eight principal actors in “Crash,” including Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle, have been expecting large checks for months, after deferring their usual fees in exchange for a percentage of the film’s profits. Recently, their representatives say, they each received checks for $19,000.

Documents show, and the principals’ representatives say, that so far none of the profit participants has received more than a low six-figure sum for their work. Moreover, Mr. Haggis and Mr. Moresco were both in dire financial straits when they made the movie in 2004, but deferred their salaries — about $94,000 and $47,000, respectively — to gain approval to move ahead on the film. The deferred salaries were paid in the middle of 2005, after the film broke even, and the money made its way through the accounting system….

There’s more, and anyone who is owed money for working on a movie — or considering investing in one — should check it out.

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