Will Smith overpaid? Give me a break

by Paul William Tenny

There's a questionable list of the most overpaid actors in Hollywood running on Zap2it.com, if you care to take a look. Russell Crowe tops the list which I think is kind of unfair. Most of the list is actually pretty unfair because it seems to run under the assumption that A-list talent -- real A-list'ers -- can open films and bring in audiences on a regular basis and hence earn their paychecks while the rest are just pretty faces who got lucky once or twice and have since proven unreliable novelties.

Really, the people on this list are subject to the simple reality that films are hit-or-miss ventures where 90% miss on a regular basis, and anything less than that is actually considered great success. I don't care who is in a movie, if that movie looks like it's going to suck, people aren't going to see it.

To overlook such an obvious truism is to not have any common sense whatsoever.
And, you know, disagree all you want with my premise here, just don't sit there and tell me Will Smith and Denzel Washington deserve to be on this list. I don't always agree with performances that win awards but in this case, Washington is one damn fine actor and I really don't care if the movies he stars in end up looking like the dart board of success. He's damn good at what he does and if you want that kind of talent leading your picture, then you're going to pay out the nose for it.

I don't agree that these people deserve the kinds of checks they get just for showing up, but that really is a reflection of an entire talent subset that is overpaid in general. Jim Carrey isn't worth $20 million per film and never has been, and neither is anybody else on this planet. Sports really has the same problem, where someone who may only top the performance charts by 10% is paid 200% above whoever sits below them, simply as a reward for being on top.

Alex Rodriguez isn't worth a quarter of a billion dollars for ten years of breaking records anymore than Carrey is worth $20m. If somebody is on a hot streak then maybe you can consider paying them according to some sort of heat index that rewards people for actually performing, rather than just showing up after one great performance that in retrospect wasn't exactly Earth shattering.

As for Smith, he brought in serious money with I, Robot, and broke some records of his own with I Am Legend this past weekend which blew out all three Lord of the Ring films for an opening December weekend. Those two recent performances alone justify whatever Smith thinks he can get from the studios.

Whether or not they are willing to or actually do pay that kind of money is another story, but if anyone on that list deserves it, he does.

Read it for yourself and tell me if you disagree.

Note: I guess this list actually belongs to Forbes, and was not written by Zap2it. So fine, the Forbes author is actually the idiot. Also, where are the most overpaid feature director and television actor lists?
in Film


Related posts:

Leave a comment

View more stories by visiting the archives.

Media Pundit categories