This has been customary on big-budget movies, where studios have hundreds of millions of production and marketing dollars at risk. Walt Disney Studios has invoked a no-first-dollar gross policy on such costly pictures as the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series and its planned production of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," a fantasy adventure starring Nicolas Cage.
Now talent involved in moderate-cost movies are also getting pinched.
Sony Pictures was able to make its romantic comedy "Julie & Julia," starring Meryl Streep, written and directed by Nora Ephron, for $35 million because the talent made concessions. The same went for Universal Pictures' "Frost/Nixon," which cost $29 million to produce after everyone involved, including director Ron Howard and his producing partner Brian Grazer, was flexible on compensation.