Professional Movie Critics Annual Salary

by Johnny Kilhefner

Professional film critics include writers who earn an income they can live on. Their work appears in print, online and sometimes on television. Aspiring film critics should seek a degree in journalism, English, communications, broadcasting or film studies. These degrees give critics a leg up in finding jobs in competitive media such as print.

General Salary

How much money a critic makes is dependent on several factors. Film critics, according to Indeed, are paid an annual median salary of $27,000. Indeed notes nationwide job postings for movie critics are 57 percent lower than the average salary of all job postings around the country. This amount is reflective of the inconsistent salaries of critics.


Print positions are few and far between due to the shrinking of the medium thanks to new media. This makes it harder for aspiring critics to find jobs in print, let alone high paying jobs. Academic Info puts newspaper film critics at an average of anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Freelance critics usually receive a set rate of anywhere from $0.25 to $1 a word.

New Media

Many film critics start writing online. They usually take jobs that don't pay or pay very little in order to build up their portfolio in conjunction with their education in hopes they will land a staff position writing for a reputable publication, perhaps in print. Many professional critics maintain a blog where they post their critiques for free. In general, compensation for critics working online can vary from none to as much, or possibly more than, print.


Salaries in film criticism vary depending on the critic's location. According to Indeed, critics working in Los Angeles made an average salary of $68,000 as of June 2013. Critics in New York, however, made $86,000 a year as of the same time. In Washington, DC, the average salary earned was $78,000. Critics in St. Louis earned $63,000.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

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