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How much does Williams make per score?


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#1 FrenchHornMoron

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 03:16 PM

This might have been discussed on the board before, I'm sorry if I missed it... but does anyone know how much John Williams usually makes per score that he composes? Thanks

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#2 Johnnyecks

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 05:17 PM

18 gazzillion bagillion dollars.
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Posted 08 July 2003 - 05:29 PM

Actually, it's $1 million. The highest in the business.

#4 Lurker

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 06:15 PM

That's after the taxes from John's post. :spiny:

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#5 Hlao-roo

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 06:33 PM

Actually, it's $1 million.  The highest in the business.

"Elfman is among the highest-paid composers, getting roughly $1.5 million per film, plus box office bonuses." (http://www.calendarl...e-more-channels)

Either Danny Elfman makes more than John Williams, or you're mistaken.

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 07:30 PM

I think I am. Won't make me feel so guilty for hiring JW, then. :spiny:

#7 ocelot

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 08:13 PM

He used to make a million, it's more now and he gets percentages on the films too which means he makes ALOT more.

#8 HPFAN

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 08:30 PM

What about record sales?

#9 MrScratch

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 08:51 PM

Record deals are a whole other source of income. After all, scores don't HAVE to be released on CD. He gets paid seperately for producing the soundtrack albums.

Plus there are royalties. Orchestras all over the world play his music, I'm sure he gets paid for that as well.

So, I think the question is, what is JWs base fee for composing a film score? What do they pay him to spend a month or two working on the music? With film budgets being in the $50-$200 million range (depending on if its a special effects/action movie), a million or two going toward the music sounds about right...?? Just a guess.

#10 jsawruk

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 10:19 PM

Actually, it's $1 million.  The highest in the business.


While I don't know exact figures, I would think that 1 million is kinda low. A third or even fourth rate composer makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in composers fee for a studio motion picture (and maybe even that much for high budget indie films). Therefore, I estimate that JW makes about $3 million for his largest films and probably $1 million for his smallest, and that has only been probably within the last 15 years or so. Add in royalties and licensing, and quickly find out that he makes a lot more. You know all of those JW CDs you have? Guess how much that contributes to his income!

Then again, I could be way off. I'm only estimating.
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#11 Romão

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 10:23 PM

Anyway, he must be rich as hell.
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#12 scissorhands

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Posted 08 July 2003 - 11:05 PM

And he is always great, no matter how much he earns.
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#13 Adam

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 05:39 AM

It wasn't that long ago he was associated with more money making films than any person in Hollywood, composer, actor, director or otherwise. Its probably still the case. So from that point of view, he deserves a huge salary and a hefty % of the cut. Not that he can take credit for it completely but if he were making only a million, that would be a huge bargain for any studio, particularly for a big-budget release where they seemingly are willing to spend a million dollars on a 3 second shot of 15 cars exploding into a building or something like that.
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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:20 AM

Seems like just a couple of years ago in an interview, as old as '99, I heard he charged $1M. At the time, maybe I figured that was the highest in the business, but maybe it's a modest price after all? Although, being that "cheap", I can't imagine him not having anything to score this year. Then again, he's not forced to score movies...

#15 Joey

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:55 AM

I personally think his rate varies from film to film. Why would a small budget film like Stepmom, need to pay 1 to 3 million for John's services?
If it isn't high concept the it's not worth watching believed the pseudo superior one.

#16 Yoda Longbottom

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:59 AM

Anyway, he must be rich as hell.

I'm afraid James Horner is better paid for a score than John Williams. It's not just my guess, I think I have read it somewhere but cannot figure out where at the moment. I'll try to be more specific ASAP. I remember having gone utterly mad about that because it was short after I've fallen in love with JW's music (1997) and it must have been around the time of Titanic that they mentioned Williams' and Horner's earnings per a score. True is that JW might be richer considering his total incomes, but as far as single scores are considered, Horner was likely in the hefty lead at least until 1997 or 1998... :)

#17 Yoda Longbottom

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 07:11 AM

I personally think his rate varies from film to film.  Why would a small budget film like Stepmom, need to pay 1 to 3 million for John's services?

Ever since Jim Carrey's $20+ million for a Cable Guy, I woudlb't be surprised for no such differences to be made nowadays.

#18 Alexcremers

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 07:12 AM

The $1 million salary figure dates from more then 12-15 years ago. Hollywood prices have doubled and tripled since then. Especially with the Schindler's List Academy Award in his hands he's entitled to ask another number. 3 million, at least, is probably a realistic estimate.


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#19 Lurker

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 01:58 PM

Why should the Schindler's List Oscar make any difference? He had 4 already before that one.

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#20 Dole

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:41 PM

I read recently in a film scoring book that composers usually make about $1 for every soundtrack album sold and the album producer gets about another $1. So Williams then gets about $2 per album sold since he produces most of his oundtrack albums. From what I understand this is automatic. The recording industry or union or whatever sends out the checks once a month or once a year. Composers also get paid an enormous amount when their music is heard on TV. There are fixed rates. So say for example Jaws is airing for the umpteenth time on TNT. Williams would get a check the size of which depends on the number and length of the cues in the movie. Horner probably made more from Titanic airing on NBC than he actually did for scoring the film. It's an amazing amount of money. Although it's illegal in the US, I think that overseas theatrical airings are treated like TV airings so that the composer gets some money everytime the movie plays at the cinema. At any rate, the point I'm trying to make is that JW's base scoring fee is most likely trivial compared to the money he rakes in for royalties for TV airings, concert performances, publishing, and soundtrack sales.

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#21 Rogue_Leader

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 07:51 AM

And he is always great, no matter how much he earns.


I dunno about ALWAYS great. :)
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#22 Johnnyecks

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 01:14 AM

If I win the lottery I'd hire Williams to write a compostion for orchestra and have him conduct it at my wedding.
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#23 Morn

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 10:45 AM

Didn't he get about 2.5 million for schindler's list?
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