I love entertainment. Right or wrong, it’s been a big part of my life. I watch movies. I watch television series. And now with streaming Netflix and a lovely little device known as appleTV, I can watch OLD movies and OLD television series whenever I like. Often when things seem out of control or simply the boredom of “normal” catches up with me, I head to the movies. Even in solidarity, I enjoy myself; escaping the thoughts of the day for at least ninety minutes, accompanied only by my $4.00 fountain diet coke and yellow box of Raisinettes.
This beloved and faithful outlet for me is being threatened by my own social consciousness. And, I’m a little disappointed with my conscientiousness. It’s like the betrayal of a faithful friend. Kind of like, we used to be in love but now I don’t like you that much anymore. Part of my bad taste in my mouth came about recently. The Huffington Post reported on February 26, 2014 that Sandra Bullock is expected to receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million for acting in the 2013 space movie, Gravity. And while I think acting is a talent deserving of respectable and fair compensation, banking $70 million for one movie is hard to fathom. And I even like Sandra Bullock. For Hollywood, she’s alright.
What is hard about this for me is that you could buy a lot of stuff with 70 million dollars. You could buy a 200 foot-long super yacht. You could employ the services of an NFL linebacker for approximately two years. And for the techies out there, $70 million is roughly 113,000 iPads in your possession. And if you’d rather travel the world on $100 a day, it’d take you approximately 1,950 years to come to the end of your journey. Coincidentally, in 2010, the island country of Tuvalu reported a gross domestic product of $36 million, roughly half of 70 million dollars. And finally, you could buy 140,000 cows from Heifer International and have them sent to countries around the world, possibly ending poverty for 140,000 families.
The average movie takes about 2-4 months to make. This might mean about 100 days on set for the typical movie star. Considering the length of Gravity itself, this equates to Bullock earning approximately $769,000 for each minute of the 91 included in the film.
While I really don’t want to consider these numbers and prefer to ignorantly placate my love affair with Hollywood, putting my head in the sand just doesn’t seem to do justice this time. It’s hard to see the injustice in the world, the need for clean water and food everywhere and think that we’re doing this thing right over here in Hollywood. And by Hollywood, I mean how it comes streaming through our living room and to the extent to which we go to get our fix.
Do we as American consumers, really need to be entertained this much, and to this expense? Really. And then my thoughts go to why these actors are paid so much. Why don’t we just pay them less? And then I make the connection that indeed I have to pay them less, by not buying movie tickets. These tickets I buy from Warner Brothers, enable the studios to in turn write checks reflecting the movies’ gross returns to their beloved actors.
I think I can live with being a little less entertained.
The Huffington Post Online. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com /2014/02/26/sandra-bullock-gravity-70-million_n_4859978.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment
Wood, A. (2011). What is User Virtualization and Is It Worth $70 million? Retrieved from http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/what-is-user-virtualization-and-is-it-worth-70-million-9626/