‘Let Them Eat Ironic Cake’

January 29, 2009

If suddenly a world-wide hate for the arts: A lot of wealthy assholes would be out of work.
The greed of spotlight and treasure extends to just about everyone.
From the UK’s Telegraph on profits from the acclaimed “Slumdog Millionaire“: (h/t Think Progress)

  • But the reality of life for Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail is far closer to that of the characters they play in the story of love, violent crime and extreme poverty in India.
    The child actors’ parents have accused the hit film’s producers of exploiting and underpaying the eight-year-olds, disclosing that both face uncertain futures in one of Mumbai’s most squalid slums.

Slumdog Millionaire, according to IMDB, made $10,699,629 last weekend, knocking its total up since its release last fall to $56,065,245, and given the old Hollywood rule-of-thumb about production costs (Slumdog estimated to be about $15 million) — “break even” at double the production cost, the rest profit — so to take Slumdog in that light, $26 million so far has gone somewhere.
And the Golden Globes and the Oscar nominations will only drive ticket sales up.
In the comments section, however, at the Think Progress site several wrote that although they had not seen the film, won’t now because of this story.
Another Slumdog “backlash” reviewed here.
From the Telegraph piece:

  • The film’s British director, Danny Boyle, has spoken of how he set up trust funds for Rubina and Azharuddin and paid for their education.
    But it has emerged that the children, who played Latika and Salim in the early scenes of the film, were paid less than many Indian domestic servants.
    Rubina was paid £500 for a year’s work while Azharuddin received £1,700, according to the children’s parents.
    However a spokesman for the film’s American distributors, Fox Searchlight, disputed this saying the fees were more than three times the average annual salary an adult in their neighbourhood would receive.
    They would not disclose the actual sum.

Director and producer of Slumdog issued a statement in response to the news report, in part which noted a “substantial lump sum” will be paid to the children when they turn 18-years-old — a decade away.
No urgent financial-stimulus package there.

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