Inside ‘Kong’: New Zealand taxpayers hedge Universal’s investment

konga.jpgHere’s the money paragraph (so to speak) in Edward Jay Epstein’s Slate column about compensation for movie stars and filmmakers, re: how much Peter Jackson was paid for ‘King Kong.’

In this light, Peter Jackson’s compensation for King Kong was a relative bargain. Universal paid $20 million in fixed compensation to Jackson’s production company not only for his directing services, but also for the scriptwriting and producing services of his collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. (The Terminator 3 budget for script, producers, and directors exceeded $34.5 million.) And, making a sweet deal even sweeter, the New Zealand citizenship of Jackson and his team qualified Universal for a cash subsidy from the New Zealand government that could be as high as $20 million (and by itself could pay Jackson’s entire fixed compensation)…

Too bad the New Zealand taxpayer base didn’t get script approval.