The skyrocketing pay packages handed out to China’s film and television celebrities have once again come under the spotlight, after a respected veteran actress’ sharp criticism of the exorbitant remuneration paid to high-profile performers made a splash online.

 

The 82-year-old award-winning film actress Wang Xiaotang, who has enjoyed a career in the limelight for more than 50 years, questioned the millions of dollars earned by today’s generation of actors and actresses just for a single film or television series, and compared their salaries to the National Science and Technology Awards business bank account requirement, the top prize given to Chinese scientists, which pays out a comparatively paltry sum of 5 million yuan (749,547 US dollars).

 

Wang’s comments have since won praise from a growing crowd of netizens rallying around her.

 

“The stunningly high remuneration received by high-profile actors doesn’t necessarily translate into a quality blockbuster, as it leaves no leeway for post-production,” said Wangguoliang-80082 on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

 

“The distorted film-television industry needs a strong hand to draw it back on to the right tracks,” yunshuijian said.

 

The public’s discontent at the huge profits being pocketed by celebrities echoes recent moves made by authorities in charge of the industry to stem the trend.

 

The country’s media watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television last month released an official notice, claiming it will “formulate self-discipline protocols” in a bid to curb the stars’ sky-high salaries.

 

During the last bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, several legislators proposed that a remuneration ceiling for actors and actresses should be included in a draft movie law currently under deliberation, amid concerns that the exorbitant salaries paid out to actors leave insufficient funds for other production elements, including facilities, crew and post-production food tour hong kong, thereby harming the overall quality of film production.

 

While movie celebrities have been recognized as top earners around the world, Chinese actors still overshadow their international counterparts in terms of profit share.

 

Olga Rodriguez-Aguirre, the national director of theatrical contracts at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, said the pay for Hollywood stars basically accounted for 10 to 30 percent of production costs.

 

According to the planning director of Descendants of the Sun, a hit Korean drama which made actor Song Joong-ki a household name in China, the salary paid to the leading characters counted for between 20 and 30 percent of the production costs.

 

In contrast, the pay packages given to China’s leading stars typically account for at least half of total production costs, with many actors and actresses demanding even higher amounts, a film industry insider, Hong Kong filmmaker Ng Seeyuen, told CCTV recently.

 

Here are several facts about some of China’s highest paid actors and actresses:

 

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing came fifth on Forbes’ 2016 list of the world’s highest paid actresses, raking in 17 million US dollars in the past year. That comes despite her only appearing in two major releases in 2015, Ever Since We Loved, which reached a peak of number two at the Chinese box office, and Lady of the Dynasty – a film which was critically panned after its international release.

 

In 2014 the actress Sun Li – a relatively unknown star to international audiences – was paid 870,000 yuan (over 130,000 US dollars) for every episode of The Legend of Zhen Huan, a popular period drama that ran for 76 episodes, meaning she would have pocketed overall payment worth tens of millions of US dollars for the entire series. In 2016 she starred in The Legend of Mi Yue, a similarly lengthy series of 81 episodes, and received 500,000 yuan per episode.

 

Chinese actress Zhou Xun demanded 30 million yuan for starring in the well-received TV drama Red Sorghum in 2015. She and fellow leading actor will star in the upcoming TV series Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace, with both stars set to receive close to 150 million yuan (22.5 million US dollars) combined.

 

Chinese actor and entrepreneur Huang Xiaoming Conventions and Exhibitions , husband of megastar Angelababy, charges film studios around 15 million yuan (2.25 million US dollars) for him to star in their movies. However his latest works, My Sunshine and Monk Xuanzang, didn’t strike a chord with moviegoers after both flopped at the box office, with the latter taking just over 33 million yuan from ticket sales earlier this year.