In the beginning, producers make little, if anything at all. That is, unless the movie makes money. But even then, back end deals are scarce and nowehere near as generous as they used to be.
According to the US Department of Labor, the average yearly income for a producer is $68,440. Some producers make millions of dollars a year. Because 68k is average, it naturally follows that there are other producers out there making diddly-squat.
The best thing that a producer can do to make money is to do several films a year. While stressful, it is definitely doable. Many producers will hook investors with three or four projects and begin pre-production on all of them almost simultaneously. Many producers also have nervous breakdowns. Hmmm… wonder if those two things are related?
Ultimately, a producer’s clout (and therefore his paycheck) depends on how successful his last film was. If you can make all of your investors money - and lots of it - then those profits will trickle down to you as well.
We always knew Bush believed in trickle-down economics.