PDA

View Full Version : How much is typical for a box office bonus?


LauriD
02-26-2014, 07:44 AM
I found the following source on this:

"A Box Office Bonus is just that… a bonus paid to you for good box office performance. Hey, if the movie does well, it’ll be in part because of your great script, right? So how does that work?

If the box office gross surpasses the budget of the film (and you’ll want to define what constitutes the “budget” too) you may receive a bonus. This can be a tiered structure as the box office reaches ever higher multiples of the budget. For example:

$10, 000 when box exceeds 2.5 x budget
another $10K when box exceeds 3 x budget
another $10K when box exceeds 3.5 x budget
a balloon $30K when box exceeds 4 x budget"

http://chipstreet.com/2010/02/14/11-more-things-to-know-when-negotiating-your-script-option/

Are these numbers typical? High? Low? Should the number be a % of the budget? Of the writer's fee? Or ??

DavidK
02-26-2014, 03:34 PM
Are these numbers typical? High? Low? Should the number be a % of the budget? Of the writer's fee? Or ??

These bonuses favor directors more than writers and are usually specified amounts for which you become eligible when box office meets certain milestones, not percentages - they are quite good performance incentives for directors working on low to medium budget movies and although they don't really incentivize writers it's nice icing on the cake if you can get it so long as you don't forfeit up-front payment in order to qualify. There's no consistency with bonuses. The numbers vary according to the size of the initial production budget and other factors, so the numbers you quote a 'typical' in that sense. These bonuses are different from net points which you probably won't see anyway.

Craig Mazin
02-28-2014, 11:22 PM
For writers, box office bonuses are usually tied to large benchmarks.

What you get is a matter of how much leverage you have, how much they're paying you up front, etc. There is no typical amount.

However, the triggers are usually big ones, indicating that the movie is well into profit (actual profit, that is) for the studio.

100M, 150M, 200M, things like that.

wrytnow
03-01-2014, 08:39 PM
For writers, box office bonuses are usually tied to large benchmarks.

What you get is a matter of how much leverage you have, how much they're paying you up front, etc. There is no typical amount.

However, the triggers are usually big ones, indicating that the movie is well into profit (actual profit, that is) for the studio.

100M, 150M, 200M, things like that.

So per 100M how much is a typical bonus?

Craig Mazin
03-02-2014, 01:53 PM
Ahem

What you get is a matter of how much leverage you have, how much they're paying you up front, etc. There is no typical amount.

wrytnow
03-02-2014, 04:05 PM
Ahem

Originally Posted by me
What you get is a matter of how much leverage you have, how much they're paying you up front, etc. There is no typical amount.

I did read the thread, but thanks for the reminder. What's also true is there's a realistic range. There's an amount where a savvy insider will say "Man, did you get hosed!" even to the least powerful, newbiest of writers. And there's an amount where she will say "No way, nobody can get that much." In-between a range where the specific amount depends on the factors you mentioned. You are a savvy insider, I think. I'd bet a buck you know about what that range is.

DavidK
03-02-2014, 04:29 PM
What's also true is there's a realistic range.

There will be extremes or exceptions and I'm not aware of what that realistic range is, but it can vary by a factor of ten or more relative to the same box office gross. Craig probably has a more useful answer but I've never heard of someone considered to have been 'hosed' for getting a low box office bonus, or receiving one regarded as unbelievably high. They are relative to the perceived value and leverage of the talent and that's what they reflect, not an expected industry range. The figures I have at hand are for directors so probably don't help. A writer might receive $2,000 - 20,000 per additional $5m or $10m in box office receipts above break-even or 1.5 to 2 times negative cost - but already you can see so much room for variability the figures start to lose meaning. Box office bonuses are also part of the fee negotiation strategy that allows key players to receive a share of performance income without the studio having to relinquish first dollar points. Studios like to keep firm control over first dollar points but as part of the demand for profit share will offer box office bonuses, most commonly to the director but they can also be used to offset or supplement ('bump') up-front fees for writers, actors, or someone who has leverage for some reason.

Aros
03-02-2014, 05:21 PM
Ugh! I do my best to never think about things like this. Fantasizing about six figure salaries, let alone BONUSES, will drive you bonkers:eek:

wrytnow
03-02-2014, 08:33 PM
There will be extremes or exceptions and I'm not aware of what that realistic range is, but it can vary by a factor of ten or more relative to the same box office gross. Craig probably has a more useful answer but I've never heard of someone considered to have been 'hosed' for getting a low box office bonus, or receiving one regarded as unbelievably high. They are relative to the perceived value and leverage of the talent and that's what they reflect, not an expected industry range. The figures I have at hand are for directors so probably don't help. A writer might receive $2,000 - 20,000 per additional $5m or $10m in box office receipts above break-even or 1.5 to 2 times negative cost - but already you can see so much room for variability the figures start to lose meaning. Box office bonuses are also part of the fee negotiation strategy that allows key players to receive a share of performance income without the studio having to relinquish first dollar points. Studios like to keep firm control over first dollar points but as part of the demand for profit share will offer box office bonuses, most commonly to the director but they can also be used to offset up-front fees for writers, actors, or someone who has leverage for some reason.

Thanks. I think this pretty much answers the OP's question.

ATB
03-02-2014, 08:54 PM
Ugh! I do my best to never think about things like this. Fantasizing about six figure salaries, let alone BONUSES, will drive you bonkers

This. Find an entertainment attorney. Let them deal with this. You deal with writing.

JeffLowell
03-03-2014, 04:39 AM
What's also true is there's a realistic range. There's an amount where a savvy insider will say "Man, did you get hosed!" even to the least powerful, newbiest of writers.

Considering that in the majority of contracts that number is zero, there is not an amount where an insider will say you got hosed.

And just as a pet peeve, wading in and correcting one of the top writers in Hollywood by announcing that you know better as to what is "true" is asinine. A little humility goes a long way.

EdFury
03-03-2014, 05:44 AM
Considering that in the majority of contracts that number is zero, there is not an amount where an insider will say you got hosed.

And just as a pet peeve, wading in and correcting one of the top writers in Hollywood by announcing that you know better as to what is "true" is asinine. A little humility goes a long way.

This.

Craig Mazin
03-06-2014, 12:15 AM
Yeah, box office bonuses aren't a particularly popular deal point.

As such, there's no useful range to talk about. No... no one's getting a million dollars in box office bonuses... but if the range is $0 to $500K or something at the highest end (I'm guessing)... then it's kind of useless information.

Madbandit
03-06-2014, 09:15 AM
Ugh! I do my best to never think about things like this. Fantasizing about six figure salaries, let alone BONUSES, will drive you bonkers:eek:


Amen. Just write a lot. The money will come.

LauriD
03-06-2014, 09:40 AM
It wasn't a hypothetical question. I'm in the process of negotiating a rewrite deal.

Deion22
03-06-2014, 10:12 AM
It wasn't a hypothetical question. I'm in the process of negotiating a rewrite deal.


If you're negotiating a rewrite deal, are you using a lawyer? Is your manager involved? Probably better to consult them.

DavidK
03-06-2014, 03:32 PM
It wasn't a hypothetical question. I'm in the process of negotiating a rewrite deal.

I understand the situation. I think some respondents are being dismissive because it's usually only the director who receives a box office bonus and very rare for a writer, so it might be described as useless information simply because the odds that it will affect a writer are low. That being the case, Deion22 is also correct that the best move is to check with your lawyer/manager/agent to see if they think there's any chance of negotiating a bonus, but at least be prepared knowing that for a writer it's usually a 'no' and it's safer to bet on up-front payments.