×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fan Bingbing Contract Leak Sparks Film Industry Tax Probe in China

China’s tax authorities have launched a probe into the fiscal affairs of the film and TV industries, following allegations that leading actress Fan Bingbing engaged in contract chicanery to hide a massive payday.

China’s State Authority of Taxation announced the industry-wide move Sunday. It ordered local tax bureaus to investigate so-called Yin-Yang contracts – in essence, double contracts for the same work.

Fan, China’s biggest celebrity and co-star of Jessica Chastain’s forthcoming action film “355,” reacted furiously last week when details of a contract were leaked online by TV anchor Cui Yongyuan. His initial disclosure showed Fan being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on Feng Xiaogang-directed “Cell Phone 2.” Cui followed up by releasing a second contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He suggested that the intent was to allow Fan to declare only the smaller contract to tax authorities, rather than her full $9.3 million (RMB60 million) compensation.

Fan has denied any impropriety and hired lawyers to defend her. Cui’s social media posting was viewed 38 million times before being removed on Sunday, state-owned Global Times reported.

Popular on Variety

The disclosure was an embarrassment for both Fan and for China’s media regulators. Last year, five government agencies issued directives urging media companies to focus on culture rather than celebrity, and moved to rein in runaway paydays for stars. As part of last year’s supposed crackdown, the China Alliance of Radio Film and Television issued guidelines that sought to limit on-screen performers’ pay to 40% of a production’s total cost. It also sought to cap the leading star’s pay at a maximum of 70% of total payments to cast. The Yin-Yang contracts appear to be a way to skirt those rules.

Cui’s leak also revealed a string of diva-like riders and conditions. They included Fan having script approval, two limousines, a voice coach, a makeup artist who needed to be paid for a full month at $12,500 (RMB80,000,) and a $235 (RMB1,500) food allowance per day.

Fan, who was a member of the main competition jury at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, rose to fame in Feng’s “Cell Phone” in 2003 and, according to some estimates, is the world’s fourth-highest-paid actor. She runs her own company, Fans Workshop, and for the past four years she has been China’s highest-paid actress, according to Forbes. The Financial Times reported that last year Fan earned $46.5 million (RMB300 million), with much of that total coming from sponsorship and celebrity endorsements.

Represented in Hollywood by CAA, Fan has appeared in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Iron Man 3.” She appeared in Feng’s hit “I Am Not Madame Bovary” in 2016 and will be seen next in Chinese war film “The Bombing.” She has recently posted pictures of herself in makeup preparing to shoot “Cell Phone 2.”

More Film

  • The Island

    ‘The Island,’ ‘Calamity,’ 'Piano Player' Highlight Cartoon Movie 2020 Lineup (EXCLUSIVE)

    BARCELONA – Rémi Chayé’s “Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” Anca Damian’s “The Island,” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal’s “They Shot the Piano Player,” and Enrique Gato’s “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Curse of the Mummy” are among the sixty-six projects from twenty countries to be pitched at the 22nd Cartoon Movie, Europe’s [...]

  • Kirby Dick Amy Ziering

    'On The Record,' Russell Simmons #MeToo Doc, Charts Course to Sundance After Oprah Exit

    Update: A spokesperson for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering says the filmmaking team will participate in print and broadcast interviews at the Sundance film festival. The accusers featured in the film are weighing press options at this time. Earlier, a spokesperson for the film “On The Record” confirmed to Variety that only photo calls would [...]

  • Ariel Winograd'TOD@S CAEN' film premiere, Los

    Viacom International Studios Signs First Look Deal with Ariel Winograd (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Adding to a powerful and still growing talent roster, Viacom International Studios (VIS) has clinched a first-look deal with Argentine writer-director Ariel Winograd whose latest movie, “The Heist of the Century,” has just become one of the biggest Argentine openers in history. The multi-year pact takes in the development and production of not [...]

  • William Bogert Dead: 'Small Wonder' Actor

    William Bogert, Who Appeared in 'War Games,' 'Small Wonder,' Dies at 83

    TV, film and theater actor William Bogert, who appeared in a recurring role on 1980s sitcom “Small Wonder” and in films such as “War Games,” died Jan. 12 in New York. He was 83. On “Small Wonder,” which ran from 1985 to 1989, Bogert played Brandon Brindle, the Lawsons’ neighbor and Harriet’s father who became [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    Why '1917' Is the Last Film That Should Be Winning the Oscar (Column)

    There’s a feeling I always get at the end of a long Oscar night when the movie that won isn’t a terrible choice, but it’s the safe, blah, MOR predictable choice, the one that conforms to the dullest conventional wisdom about the kinds of movies Oscar voters prefer, because in the core of their being [...]

  • Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock'

    Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock' in the Works as Feature Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Enderby Entertainment is developing a feature film based on Melissa Fay Greene’s civil rights drama “Praying for Sheetrock,” Variety has learned exclusively. The non-fiction book, published in 1991, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Georgia Historical Society Bell Award and the ACLU National Civil [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content