Actor's Cut: Income From Film Profits

With corporatisation of the film industry, top actors are increasingly opting for co-production models to get a slice of their films' profits

Published: Dec 23, 2013

Apart from their  regular acting fees, Bollywood actors  are looking at different revenue models to increase their income from movies they’re a part of. In the co-production model, actors themselves get into the production of the film: They often charge less than  their market rate, and get a share of the profits the film goes on to make. Studios are obliging them, as it cuts costs and reduces risks. Partnerships have taken on different forms, as even young Bollywood actors, including Abhay Deol and Anushka Sharma, are turning co-producers. Deals are often complex and not very clearly spelt out.

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Plain Vanilla: Fixed fees
This is the traditional mode of payment, now used to pay most of the film’s cast, except the stars. Actor fees contribute to almost 35 percent of the cost of big-budget films, with the big stars charging Rs 30-40 crore per film. However, very few rely on this model, preferring to take a share of risks and revenues. Among A-list actors who prefer this model are Deepika Padukone. She told Forbes India that she focuses on her work in front of the camera.


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Production Company

The trodden path: Through the history of Indian cinema, big actors have had their own production houses and studios. Names included RK Films and Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL).

The old model has evolved, with companies like Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, and Aamir Khan Productions structuring complex co-production deals. Usually, the films are produced in partnership with big studios like UTV or Eros. A-list actors work for a (lower than usual) fee, plus a share of profits. Akshay Kumar is known to insist on profits from the Punjab territory. Others have similar deals for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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Second Production House
Some actors have more than one production venture, mostly to make non-mainstream movies. Akshay Kumar’s Hari Om Productions has co-produced a dozen films, including a documentary on global warming, since 2008. His other production company Grazing Goat Pictures—it focuses on Hindi and regional cinema—made a Punjabi film Bhaji in Problem this year. Salman Khan, who normally works with brothers Sohail and Arbaaz Khan’s production companies, has Being Human Productions which produced Chillar Party in 2011. Salman is going down the tested path next year with his own banner Salman Khan Productions. Ajay Devgn has Ajay Devgn Productions and Shivalaya Entertainment (which will make films for the international market).

(This story appears in the 27 December, 2013 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Kelvin Patel

    It\'s all right. As these SuperStars guarantee Not-A-Flop or we can say atleast 80 crores. and somewhere it gives freedom to SuperStars for making the film the way they want, on the days they want, and with changes in script which can make a film a bit costly. Maybe they do not want to hear all those lectures from producers when they go out of budget or past given time. Like SRK said he started his home production because people were not ready to put money on high budget films(different genre films) which could be risky. During Ra.One shoot, the film\'s budget was gone beyond expectation, one can imagine response of producers to director,actors when an already highest budget bollywood movie going BEYOND expected budget!!! It was SRK\'s production and he was on shoot even few days before the movie released and he was like \'hey comeon let\'s make it\'. that gives a bit freedom to do the movie like they all want! and as one can see that SRK\'s films do business of more than its budget, just through the boxoffice, and not counting the satellite or other things, it\'s ok if he asks his share! And collaborating with SRK\'s films gives the people a little boost in their brand value. As his movies are always consistent, watched by all age people, and there are many brands which likes to attach themselves with SRK\'s film. So it is like \"if you want to make movie with SuperStar, then give them some of the money which was made just by their names, because they are such Superstars\"

    on Dec 23, 2013
    • Abhishek

      SRK blabbers too much and lies as and when the need. When did he make different films? He makes the most generic of films. He started with Phir Bi dil hai hindustani. Flop. Most mindless films like Mani Hoo Naa and OSO, Chalte Chalte, Don2, One 2 Ka 4, SOTY. What\'s so off beat and interesting about Chennai Express?! Yes, the films he made which \'no one wanted to make\' were probably Asoka and Ra.One (coz of the budget) but rest, very generic

      on Dec 29, 2013
      • Tanvi

        He tried to make Asoka to beat Lagaan and Ra.One as an answer to Robot. Both sank along with him. These days, he co-produces bcoz nobody wants to sign him other than a few of his friends like Farah and Farhan, and he helps them by co-producing or producing his films. He has long lost his credibility and lies through his teeth to show he is on a par with Salman and others.

        on Dec 22, 2014
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