Brad Pitt says big Hollywood salaries 'don't work now'

Brad Pitt being interviewed at his latest UK film premiere

Brad Pitt says the days of actors getting multi-million dollar salaries are over.

"Yeah, that thing died," Pitt laughed when asked if it was possible for stars to still command a price tag upwards of $10m (£6.2m) per movie.

"That arithmetic doesn't really work right now... that deal's not flying these days."

Pitt has been a familiar fixture on lists detailing the highest paid actors.

The most recent Forbes list for 2012 was topped by Tom Cruise, with an estimated yearly salary of $75m (£47m).

Meanwhile Pitt is thought to have earned $25m (£16m).

Balancing economics

As for what state Hollywood is in, in general, Brad Pitt concedes: "It's a really interesting time.

"A lot of the studios have been challenged because of the economic downturn as well so they've been betting on bigger, more tent pole kinds of things.

"At the same time that opens up a vacuum for really interesting new film makers to come in."

So-called 'tent pole' films take the biggest budgets but their profits are expected to prop up other movies for the major studios.

Brad Pitt's acting work over the past few years has ranged from the Oscar nominated Moneyball, to the children's animation Happy Feet 2 and most recently the crime thriller Killing Them Softly.

"You take the roles for the roles," Pitt says, "and you've just got to balance economics like everyone does."

Making millions

There are still ways actors can rake in millions from a movie though, if they agree a smaller upfront salary in exchange for a cut of the eventual profits.

That model of course only works if the movie in question is a big hit at the box office.

Jude Law says that he's never demanded a $20m (£12.5m) pay cheque: "No, not really, that's never been my approach."

Jude Law
Jude Law at the premiere of his latest film, Anna Karenina, in London

Currently on screen in Anna Karenina, Jude concedes he has made salary demands in the past, but not in the way you may assume.

"There are certain films the only way to make them go away was just keep raising the fee, and eventually they go 'Oh, we can't pay you that much!' and then they go away."

Made in Britain

As for film budgets in Britain, co-chairman of Working Title, Tim Bevan, says they are "pretty much alone" in making movies with budgets of £20m-£30m.

"It's a lot for a British film, but you're giving production values to the films so there are movie stars in it and it looks good and all the rest of it."

Last year, Working Title's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was made for £20m but went on to make $80m (£50m) at the worldwide box office, while this month's Anna Karenina had a £30m budget.