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Who were Hollywood's top earners in 2010?

02.03.2011

With 2010 now well in the can, Vanity Fair has once again released their annual breakdown of which Hollywood players got just a little bit richer this past year. It's a thorough list that even details where exactly the money came from (such as back-end bonuses and ancillary revenues).

The list focuses on creative figures - meaning actors, directors, and producers - and the money they earn exclusively from film (so no television work and nothing from extra curricular projects).

Here are the top 10 earners in Hollywood from 2010:

1) JAMES CAMERON - $257 MILLION
$248 million: AVATAR (back-end for writing, producing, and directing, based on 2010 worldwide box-office gross of $1.95 billion, and share of DVD and pay-television revenue; excludes $50 million earned in 2009)
$5 million: AVATAR (share of toy licensing, other revenue)
$4 million: Older film revenue (e.g., back-end and royalties from earlier projects, other payments)

2) JOHNNY DEPP - $100 MILLION
$40 million: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (back-end for starring, based on worldwide gross of $1.02 billion)
$35 million: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (up-front money for starring)
$20 million: THE TOURIST (fee for co-starring)
$5 million: Older film revenue

3) STEVEN SPIELBERG - $80 MILLION
$50 million: Universal-theme-park royalties and consulting fees
$20 million: WAR HORSE (fee for directing and producing)
$10 million: Older film revenue

4) CHRISTOPHER NOLAN - $71.5 MILLION
$69 million: INCEPTION (back-end for writing, producing, and directing, based on worldwide gross of $823 million, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$2.5 million: Older film revenue

5) LEONARDO DICAPRIO - $62 MILLION
$59 million: INCEPTION (back-end for starring)
$3 million: Back-end for starring in SHUTTER ISLAND, older film revenue

6) TIM BURTON - $53 MILLION
$50 million: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (back-end for directing, based on worldwide gross of $1.02 billion, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$3 million: Older film revenue

7) ADAM SANDLER - $50 MILLION
$25 million: JUST GO WITH IT (fee for producing and starring)
$20 million: JACK AND JILL (fee for producing and starring)
$3 million: GROWN UPS (back-end for starring and writing, based on worldwide gross of $271 million, plus share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$2 million: Older film revenue

8) TODD PHILLIPS - $34 MILLION
$15 million: THE HANGOVER: PART II (fee for writing, producing, and directing)
$13 million: THE HANGOVER (back-end for producing and directing; excludes $39 million earned in 2009)
$3 million: DUE DATE (back-end for producing and directing, based on worldwide gross of $200 million, as of December 31, 2010)
$2 million: Older film revenue
$1 million: PROJECT X (fee for producing)

9) TAYLOR LAUTNER - $33.5 MILLION
$12.5 million: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 1 (fee for co-starring)
$12.5 million: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2 (fee for co-starring)
$7.5 million: ABDUCTION (fee for starring)
$1 million: Older film revenue, mostly from TWILIGHT franchise

10) ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. - $31.5 MILLION
$15 million: SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 (fee for starring)
$12 million: IRON MAN 2 (back-end, based on worldwide gross of $627 million, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$3.5 million: SHERLOCK HOLMES (back-end, based on worldwide gross of $523 million, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$1 million: Older film revenue

You can check out the entire list RIGHT HERE.
Extra Tidbit: F*cking Taylor Lautner, man.
Source: Vanity Fair

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+0
2:00AM on 02/04/2011
Damn. Downey only made about 2/3rds of 1 percent off the revenue of Sherlock Holmes. Seems low, although it looks like he's making up for it with SH2.

Also, I find it interesting that Lautner makes it on this list but not Pattinson or Stewart. Is Summit paying a supporting actor more than the two main actors in their movies?
Damn. Downey only made about 2/3rds of 1 percent off the revenue of Sherlock Holmes. Seems low, although it looks like he's making up for it with SH2.

Also, I find it interesting that Lautner makes it on this list but not Pattinson or Stewart. Is Summit paying a supporting actor more than the two main actors in their movies?
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1:42AM on 02/04/2011
[double post]
[double post]
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1:42AM on 02/04/2011

Back-end

There is no valid argument against any of the above numbers that came from back-end deals.

Pay dictated by performance is as fair a work agreement as you're gonna find. The numbers here are massive because the movies in question made 100s of millions of dollars. If they were smart enough to take low upfront salaries and bank on a project's success, then more power to them.
There is no valid argument against any of the above numbers that came from back-end deals.

Pay dictated by performance is as fair a work agreement as you're gonna find. The numbers here are massive because the movies in question made 100s of millions of dollars. If they were smart enough to take low upfront salaries and bank on a project's success, then more power to them.
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12:18AM on 02/04/2011
Boo. Who needs fucking tens of millions of dollars to direct a film? These people's salaries are so bloated and they make all the rest of us look bad.
Boo. Who needs fucking tens of millions of dollars to direct a film? These people's salaries are so bloated and they make all the rest of us look bad.
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1:31AM on 02/04/2011
When you create a product that grosses 2 billion dollars then you can make tens of millions too.
When you create a product that grosses 2 billion dollars then you can make tens of millions too.
+5
1:32PM on 02/03/2011
Crazy shit.

On the one hand I understand that starring in a massive, world recognized film franchise means that you become a giant product sold to millions of people world-wide, so getting significant compensation is justifiable...

But on the other hand some of the money thrown around, especially up-front, is appalling. Even though I still respect a few of these guys.

Gotta agree with my fellow shmoes about RDJ being a classy mofo, though.
Crazy shit.

On the one hand I understand that starring in a massive, world recognized film franchise means that you become a giant product sold to millions of people world-wide, so getting significant compensation is justifiable...

But on the other hand some of the money thrown around, especially up-front, is appalling. Even though I still respect a few of these guys.

Gotta agree with my fellow shmoes about RDJ being a classy mofo, though.
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11:08AM on 02/03/2011
Im not surprised about spielburg's take from universal. Right now harry potter must be making billions for universal so naturally spielburg would get a share of that honey pot.
Im not surprised about spielburg's take from universal. Right now harry potter must be making billions for universal so naturally spielburg would get a share of that honey pot.
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10:20AM on 02/03/2011
Clearly the way to go is to negotiate back-end deals where you get a % of the profits, rather than just demanding some up front (at least, if you know it's going to be a good movie). Never would have guessed that the guy who did The Hangover would be this high on the list.

And "Universal-theme-park royalties and consulting fees" is ridiculous. Jealous.
Clearly the way to go is to negotiate back-end deals where you get a % of the profits, rather than just demanding some up front (at least, if you know it's going to be a good movie). Never would have guessed that the guy who did The Hangover would be this high on the list.

And "Universal-theme-park royalties and consulting fees" is ridiculous. Jealous.
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+3
10:19AM on 02/03/2011
Depp gets an upfront 35 mill to play Captian Jack again?!?
Depp gets an upfront 35 mill to play Captian Jack again?!?
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8:18AM on 02/03/2011
All of the money Sandler made were all from shitty movies (or upcoming shitty movies).

Good for Downey Jr.
All of the money Sandler made were all from shitty movies (or upcoming shitty movies).

Good for Downey Jr.
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1:45AM on 02/04/2011
Adam Sandler's entire career is built upon shitty movies (with a few rare exceptions). The quality of any of these films is irrelevant. They made a ton of money and people got paid accordingly - outside of Depp's upfront for 'The Tourist'.
Adam Sandler's entire career is built upon shitty movies (with a few rare exceptions). The quality of any of these films is irrelevant. They made a ton of money and people got paid accordingly - outside of Depp's upfront for 'The Tourist'.
8:01AM on 02/03/2011
That Taylor Lautner earns more than Downey Jr. indicative of the "justice" in this world.
That Taylor Lautner earns more than Downey Jr. indicative of the "justice" in this world.
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11:14AM on 02/03/2011
i see your point, but i bet overall lautner's shirtlessness put more teenage girls in movie theater seats than RDJ's wit did for comic nerds.

as much as i hate taylor lautner, he still brought in a lot of money for the sutdio.
i see your point, but i bet overall lautner's shirtlessness put more teenage girls in movie theater seats than RDJ's wit did for comic nerds.

as much as i hate taylor lautner, he still brought in a lot of money for the sutdio.
8:01AM on 02/03/2011
How did the supporting actor out of a shitty franchise that makes more money than it should earn more than the stars?

Also, Gary's rite, RDJ is a classy motherfucker
How did the supporting actor out of a shitty franchise that makes more money than it should earn more than the stars?

Also, Gary's rite, RDJ is a classy motherfucker
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7:33AM on 02/03/2011
Wait, Leo DiCaprio took almost $60 million for Inception but less than $3 million for Shutter Island. That's a bit odd. I guess Nolan doesn't get some sort of friends discount. :(

Also, it's kind of cool that Robert Downey didn't extort a ridiculous amount of money for returning to two ridiculously popular franchises. I mean, they weren't going to recast Iron Man or Holmes so he could have probably asked for a ridiculous sum of money but instead settled for about how much Adam Sandler is
Wait, Leo DiCaprio took almost $60 million for Inception but less than $3 million for Shutter Island. That's a bit odd. I guess Nolan doesn't get some sort of friends discount. :(

Also, it's kind of cool that Robert Downey didn't extort a ridiculous amount of money for returning to two ridiculously popular franchises. I mean, they weren't going to recast Iron Man or Holmes so he could have probably asked for a ridiculous sum of money but instead settled for about how much Adam Sandler is taking for just one movie, Just Go With It.

P.S. And people wonder why ticket prices and film budgets are out of control. When Depp takes $35 million up front, that means the movie is starting with an extra $35 million deficit. Where do you think they'll have to make that money? (I'm not picking on Depp. Just using him as an example.)
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7:21AM on 02/03/2011

Taylor fucking Lautner???

He makes that much fucking money? Get me his agent on the phone cause that man/woman is a fucking mad genius.
He makes that much fucking money? Get me his agent on the phone cause that man/woman is a fucking mad genius.
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6:49AM on 02/03/2011
$257 million?! Can you imagine walking around with that kinda' cash. I bet he sounds like a major douchebag to his friends if he ever says "Nah...that's too expensive.."
$257 million?! Can you imagine walking around with that kinda' cash. I bet he sounds like a major douchebag to his friends if he ever says "Nah...that's too expensive.."
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