Although the Chinese entertainment industry is booming, the nation’s studios and video sites are working to limit the amount of money actors can make, after a tax fraud scandal blew up and ensnared Fan Bingbing, the highest-paid woman actor in China.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, three video sites—iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video—signed an agreement last weekend to limit how much actors should get paid for their work. Under said agreement, actors can make at most 1 million yuan ($145,000 USD) per episode and 50 million yuan ($725,000 USD) per season. The latter figure is fixed, regardless of how many episodes in a season.
But the video sites are not acting in isolation—they’ve also agreed to follow new government guidelines from June that say no more than 40 percent of a movie’s budget should go towards paying the cast. Studios have also signed onto the agreement. At first, six major studios did, but then, THR reports, “dozens” of others were onboard by the end of the weekend.
The pay caps come after a tax fraud scandal that allegedly involves one of China’s biggest movie stars. After a document leak in May, Fan, who appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past and is also slated to star in Jessica Chastain’s action movie 355, has been accused of “yin-yang contracting,” a way for actors to shield their real pay and disclose a fake, smaller number to tax authorities.
As a result, Fan is rumored to be banned by the Chinese government from acting for the next three years. Variety reported that her representation hasn’t commented on the ongoing situation, and Fan hasn’t posted on social media in several weeks.