Why Disney Rarely Pays Movie Stars Huge Salaries

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Article

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Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man.” “Iron Man”

[P1] In the past decade, as Disney has led the charge in superhero franchises — like the Marvel Cinematic Universe from its Marvel Studios arm — and given the “Star Wars” saga a rebirth after buying Lucasfilm, it has shown that its intellectual property is king, not the actors. And because of that, the studio realizes the actors don’t have to be paid a huge amount of money.

[P2] It’s a big shift in how Hollywood has worked for decades. The 1990s were the high-water mark for the movie star. The biggest actors on the planet — Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise — were earning $20 million just to show up on set, then getting hefty back-end deals that would give them a taste of the box office earned by their projects, sometimes even before the studio.

[P3] But for the most part, in today’s industry, it’s more about Batman being on the screen and less about who’s behind the mask. Disney has used that for years to rake in billions while not giving a major slice to the stars on the movie posters. That’s not to say Disney doesn’t open the vault for some actors — they just have to work a little harder now.

The $2.5 million man
[P4] Take, for example, the actor responsible for launching the MCU: Robert Downey Jr., who was cast as Iron Man. When Marvel Studios was getting into the movie business, it was a company known more for being bankrupt than for making hits. “Iron Man” was made for $140 million, and Marvel was not going to let any star walk away rich if it was a hit.

[P5] According to the book “The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies,” by the Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz, Downey agreed to a $2.5 million salary, an incredibly small figure for an Oscar-nominated actor cast as the lead of a studio movie. (Paramount released “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2.”) In fact, the biggest paycheck went to Terrence Howard as Rhodey, aka War Machine, who made $3.5 million thanks to his recent Oscar nomination for “Hustle & Flow” — though all the actors received bonuses when “Iron Man” hit box-office milestones.

[P6] But once “Iron Man” became a hit and the MCU gained traction, Downey got a bigger cut. From 2013 to 2015, Downey topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid actors of the year. By 2015, he earned $80 million thanks in part to his starring role in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (Sony paid him $10 million for being in a handful of scenes in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” last year, according to Variety.)

[P7] But Downey is the exception. From Emma Watson being paid $3 million up front for the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” — though she had a clause that she would earn $15 million if it was successful at the box office — to Chris Evans getting $1 million for “Captain America: The First Avenger” and Chris Hemsworth earning just $150,000 for 2011’s “Thor” (the latter two reported in Fritz’s book), Disney has made clear that its characters are the stars.

[P8] “I think many stars and their agents are realistic and know that the days of getting paid $10 million or $20 million for whatever movie they want to do are largely gone,” Fritz told Business Insider. “If they want to remain relevant for global audiences, it’s very helpful to be attached to these franchises. Plus, it raises their profile and helps them to get paid more for other movies, including possible sequels and spin-offs to that franchise down the road.”

[P9] Getting involved in a Disney project can catapult an actor to bigger paydays elsewhere — look at Johnson after starring in Disney’s “Moana,” or Chris Pratt, who was in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and is now earning $10 million for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” according to Variety.

[P10] Along with being the box-office champ, Disney is the envy of Hollywood for another reason: Its intellectual property is so bulletproof that once stars find success starring in its films, if they can’t get more out of the house Mickey Mouse built, they’ll find a big check somewhere else.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/disney-rarely-pays-movie-stars-huge-salaries-2018-5

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
saga (n) a long and complicated story with many details
e.g. Her first novel was a family saga set in Iowa.
rake in (v) to earn or receive (a large amount of money)
e.g. The movie raked in over $300 million.
up front (adv/adj) used to refer to money that is paid in advance
e.g. The deal requires more up-front cash than I can come up with.
catapult (v) to cause (someone or something) to quickly move up or ahead or to a better position
e.g. He catapulted to fame after his first book was published.
bulletproof (adj) made to stop bullets from going through
e.g. The car has bulletproof windows.

Discussion Questions

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  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. What are some of your favorite movies?
  3. Why are actors agreeing to lower up front salary?
  4. What are some of your favorite characters in movies? What makes them iconic? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Here’s Why a Secret Goal Will Help You Achieve More

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

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[P1] Inspired by Herschel Walker, I recently created a goal to get to the point of being able to do 200 pushups every other day. I asked myself if I could be 10 percent as good as the football legend who does 2,000 in a day and I believe I can. The whole point is to get into better shape and bodyweight exercises are something I can do between emails without leaving the confines of my home office. I haven’t reached my goal yet, but I’m up to 140 (not at one time, and all on my knees) which is pretty good for a middle-aged individual such as myself. I fully expect this endeavor (which also includes 300 squats) to be body-transforming.

[P2] Regardless of what you want to transform in your life, you’ll need a specific goal if you want to make it happen. Here’s what research has to say on the subject (including the fact that I just broke a fundamental rule of goal-setting).

Setting a goal will help you achieve more.
[P3] According to research conducted at the University of Leicester in England, people who have goals work harder and perform better. Participants were tasked with adding several two-digit numbers together. One group was told it was expected to get at least 10 problems correct, another instructed to get at least 15 right, and a control group was not given a goal. Both groups given goals calculated their answers faster and more accurately, with the higher-goal group performing best of all. There was a gender difference, as well, with men outperforming women when given a goal. “One reason could be that the goal creates a competitive environment, which is consistent with the literature on how competition affects men and women differently,” the study author writes.

The most effective goals are specific and difficult.
[P4] Researchers have found that when people are told to do their best, they don’t because having no external reference point allows for a wide range of performance levels. It makes sense. If you want to lose weight you’ll do it faster having a goal to run five miles a day instead of saying to yourself “I’m going to run every day.” If the latter was your goal, running one mile-;which would burn roughly 100 calories-;would meet the goal. If you run five miles, however, you’ll burn 500 and get slimmer faster.

If you really want to reach a goal, keep it secret.
[P5] While it may seem that announcing your goal to the world will help keep you accountable, researchers have found a weird psychological phenomenon happens, instead. When other people take notice of your goal it gives you a premature feeling of having accomplished it. That false sense of achievement works as a detriment to hitting your target.

Source: https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/heres-why-a-secret-goal-will-help-you-achieve-more.html

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
confine (n) the limits or edges of something
e.g. the narrow confines of academia
endeavor (n) a serious effort or attempt
e.g. He failed despite his best endeavors. [=efforts]
control group (n) a group of people who are used for comparing another group to in a test or experiment
e.g. The larger the control group sample is, the more reliable and repeatable the results of the promotion will be.
premature (adj) happening too soon or earlier than usual
e.g. is retirement seems premature.
detriment (n) something that will cause damage or injury to something or someone — usually singular — often + to
e.g. He saw the new regulations as a detriment to progress.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Share some of the goals you have for this year.
  3. What are some qualities of the most effective goals?
  4. Do you agree with the author that keeping your goal a secret is better? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Classmate vs. Parents

Conversation

After a quick greeting, use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Classmates are a more important influence than parents on a child’s success in school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
    • What value do parents bring to a child’s success in school?
    • What value do classmates bring to a child’s success in school?
    • Give an example of how you have been influenced by either parents or classmates.

Vocabulary

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Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
parent (n) a father or mother
She knew her parents had a big influence on her receiving perfect grades.
classmate (n) a fellow member of a class or school activity
He could always trust that his classmate knew what was going on.
authoritative (adj) able to be trusted as being accurate or true
Her parents spoke with an authoritative voice that she listened to.
influential (adj) having great influence on someone or something
They wondered whether his parents or classmates were more influential in his life.
persuade (v) cause someone to do something through reasoning or argument
The group of classmates could often persuade the teacher for more time on an assignment.
aid (v) help, of a practical nature
The classmate that sat next to her was eager to aid her in the worksheets.
abide by (expression) respect or follow the rules
None of her classmates like to abide by the rules.
clamp down on (expression) to act strictly to prevent something
His mom always clamped down on him so he would do his homework immediately.
deal with (expression) to manage or take care of something
Her father always knew how to deal with difficult math problems.
back to basics (expression) approach using traditional methods
After struggling with the problem for a while, the teacher suggested they went back to basics and start over.

Something Extra

Read the following quote out loud.

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, then we rob our children of tomorrow.”
― John Dewey

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Old Historic Buildings

Conversation

After a quick greeting, use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  • Should a city try to preserve its old, historic buildings or destroy them and replace them with modern buildings? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
    • What are the advantages of preserving historic buildings?
    • What are the advantages of replacing historic buildings?
    • What is one of your favorite historic building you’ve seen?

Vocabulary

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Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
landmark (n) a location easily seen or having significance
e.g. example
building (n) structure with a roof and walls
Each developer had a different design for the new building.
historical (adj) concerning past events
Not everyone knew the historical significance of the house.
modern (adj) relating to the present or recent times
They were looking for a more modern appearance on the block.
preserve (v) maintain something in its original state
Some want to preserve historical landmarks because of their importance in the community.
demolish (v) to destroy
They needed all the signatures before they could demolish the building.
tear down (expression) destroy completely
In four days, they were going to tear down the beloved monument.
fall through (expression) fail, doesn’t happen
The plans for the new building were going to fall through if they didn’t do anything.
wear out (expression) to become unusable
The steps going up to the front have begun to wear out.
bet the ranch (expression) risk everything you have
When making the decision, he bet the ranch that he was right.

Something Extra

Read the following quote out loud.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
― Winston Churchill

Wrap-up

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Company vs. Self-employed

Conversation

After a quick greeting, use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  • Some people prefer to work for themselves or own a business. Others prefer to work for an employer. Would you rather be self-employed, work for someone else, or own a business? Use specific reasons to explain your choice.
    • What are the benefits of being self-employed?
    • What are the benefits of working for someone else?
    • What are the benefits of owning your own business?

Vocabulary

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Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
entrepreneur (n) someone who operates a business
To be an entrepreneur, it helps to be ambitious about your dream.
employee (n) someone paid for their work in wages
After owning her own business, she had to re-learn what it meant to be an employee of a large organization.
self-employed (adj) working for oneself as a freelancer
She wanted to be self-employed and set her own schedule.
hard-working (adj) tending to work with energy and commitment
Employers like hard-working employees.
hire (v) employ for wages
He hired the man on the spot.
succeed (v) achieve the desired aim or result
She knew she had what it took to succeed in the job.
move up (expression) adjust one’s position
He wondered if one day he would move up in the company.
keep on (expression) continue to do something
She knew that she just needed to keep on doing her own work.
end up (expression) to finally reach a place, state or action
He wasn’t sure which company he would end up in.
work for peanuts (expression) work for very little compensation
Even though he had been there for years, he still felt that he worked for peanuts compared to his higher-paid co-workers.

Something Extra

Read the following quote out loud.

“Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.”
― Virat Kohli

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Valuable Lessons in Life

Conversation

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  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Most experiences in our lives that seemed difficult at the time become valuable lessons for the future. Use reasons and specific examples to support our answer.
    • What difficult experiences have you worked through?
    • What difficult experiences have you seen others work through?
    • How have you learned from those experiences?

Vocabulary

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Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
lesson (n) a thing learned by experience
Going through difficulties can teach you a lesson about life.
purpose (n) the reason for which something is done
Soon you’ll be able to see the purpose of the experience.
significant (adj) sufficiently great
What is one event that has been significant for you?
valuable (adj) extremely useful or important
She knew that losing her job would be valuable at some point.
prosper (v) flourish, make successful
Changing companies allowed him to prosper in what he loved.
discover (v) become aware of
Without moving, she wouldn’t have discovered her love for the outdoors.
learn from (expression) gain insight based on something
It’s always helpful to learn from our mistakes.
believe in (expression) feel confident about
To succeed, she needed to believe in her abilities.
come across (expression) the way people perceive someone or something
She hoped she didn’t come across as pushy or aggressive.
larger than life (expression) attracting special attention
Her larger than life personality was a little overwhelming at times.

Something Extra

Read the following quote out loud.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
― C.S. Lewis

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Intelligence vs. Sense of Humor

Conversation

After a quick greeting, use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  • What do you want most in a friend – someone who is intelligent, someone who has a sense of humor or someone who is reliable? Which one of these characteristics is most important to you? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.
    • What qualities do you look for in a friend?
    • Why are those qualities important to you?
    • Which qualities do you see as a priority?

Vocabulary

Skip this section if you have 15 minute plan. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
priority (n) being treated as more important
The characteristic of reliable was more of a priority than intelligence.
intelligence (n) ability to acquire and share knowledge
Her friends had a high level of intelligence, which made their conversations interesting.
reliable (adj) consistently good in quality
She wanted a friend who was reliable and could depend on.
humorous (adj) causing lighthearted laughter
He loved how she was so humorous all the time.
laugh (v) express lively amusement
He always made me laugh till my stomach hurt.
gather (v) assemble for a purpose
They all had to gather in the kitchen for the announcement.
fall for (expression) intense attraction to someone or something
He couldn’t help but fall for the girl.
give away (expression) to distribute without expecting anything in return
Her friend was always willing to give away her clothes to anyone who had a need.
leave out (expression) not include something
She had to leave out the part that she had a temper.
shoulder to cry on (expression) someone to listen to your problems
She knew she was always there as a shoulder to cry on when life got difficult.

Something Extra

Read the following quote out loud.

“The great thing about new friends is that they bring new energy to your soul.”
― Shauna Rodriguez

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.