The Hollywood Reporter this week has a fascinating exploration of the fast-growing world of fan conventions, where, the mag reports, actors can now earn more for their autographs than for their actual acting. Thanks to fan interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Walking Dead, and the CW’s superhero shows, the number of conventions has swelled, with the stars who make appearances taking home guaranteed fees that range from $10,000 for a supporting actor up to a quarter-million for someone like Arrow’s Stephen Amell (who leaned into this aspect of the business by producing the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest and starting a talent agency that handles personal appearances). The A-listers of the Marvel films, your Chris Evanses and Tom Hiddlestons, make fewer appearances, but when they do they can command in the neighborhood of half-a-million. On all levels, the pay for conventions is comparable to what the actors might make for the work that made them famous in the first place; Firefly’s Jewel Staite admits she’s turned down acting gigs that would conflict with convention appearances: “It would be silly of me to say yes to the job that pays $10,000 for a week of work and bow out of a big convention where I could potentially walk away with $40,000 in two days.” Late capitalism is a strange thing.
Chris Evans at Comic-Con International in 2014. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney