Friday, October 23, 2009

How Much Pay is Too Much?

The highest paid actors in 1937 made less annually than big stars make now per picture.  Hugh Jackman made nearly 3x more in less than three months than 30s star Fredric March made in a year.  Corporate executive compensation has also risen faster than inflation.  Executives at GE (which owns 80% of Universal), make 4 to 5 times more today than they did in the late 1930s.

Hugh Jackman was paid $20 million for approx. 90 days work on X-Men Origins: Wolverine (in production  from 1/18/2008 to 5/23/2008) while Fredric March, who starred in Nothing Sacred ( in production June 1937-August 1937) and The Buccaneer (in production August 1937 - October 1937) took home annual pay of $7.2 million in 1937 (in consumer price index adjusted dollars or $484,687 unadjusted).

GE Chairman Owen D. Young made $3.5 million in 1937 ($235,000 unadjusted) while in 2008 GE paid $18.8 million to John G. Rice, GE Vice Chairman, $16.3 million to Michael A. Neal, GE Vice chairman, $14.1 million to Jeffrey Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO and $14.0 million to Keith S. Sherin, GE Vice Chairman and CFO.

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