A $200 million movie budget almost seems abstract. We can say that a whole bunch of that money went to the effects, but what does that actually mean? How much does the assistant director figure into it? Does Robert Downey Jr. just get $180 million and everyone else splits it up?
Vanity Fair made a mock movie credit roll to break down how much money goes to each crew member, and the numbers are sobering. Pay rates vary wildly from position to position; cat cameos get paid more than some stuntpeople. The most unusual are the positions where people earn different amounts for the same jobs. Set production assistants, for instance, have a $5000 range, maybe because some spend longer or only work with the second unit.
Watching a giant wall of credits can become a little numbing, but you start to get the sense of the scale of film production when you see that $229,000 went into matte painters. And if you feel a little anger at the lead actor being paid about as much as the rest of the cast combined, we don’t blame you.