pay

In filmmaking, a guarantee is a term of an actor, director, or other participant’s contract that guarantees remuneration if, through no fault of their own, the participant is released from the contract. Such an arrangement is known informally as a “pay-or-play” contract. Many stars insist on guarantees in their contract due to the major time commitment agreeing to appear in a film can mean. For example, Kurt Russell’s decision to appear in the film Soldier, for which he was paid $15 million, was a total commitment of 18 months, during which time he was not able to appear in another film. If the film was cancelled, or if he were replaced (but not if he withdrew of his own accord), Russell would be paid $15 million, or a large part of that fee, to compensate him for clearing his schedule. Studios are reluctant to agree to guarantees but accept them as part of the deal for signing major talent. They also have the advantage of enabling a studio to simply remove a player under such a contract with few legal complications.