Steven Spielberg & James Cameron Top Hollywood Earners

February 3, 2010 By:
Steven Spielberg & James Cameron Top Hollywood Earners

We constantly wonder who the highest paid actors and actresses in Hollywood are. But there’s a group of people who put their salaries to shame—and they’re the directors and producers of Tinsel Town’s hottest films.

The March issue of Vanity Fair profile’s the industry’s highest earners, and where their 2009 money came from. Topping the list is director Michael Bay. He raked in $125 million in ’09, coming largely from the Transformers franchise. Friday the 13th, The Unborn, and A Nightmare on Elm Street added to the grand total, but he can thank the blockbuster sequel for his main source of income.

Number two on the list is iconic director Steven Spielberg, with estimated earnings last year of $85 million, most of which was made on Universal Theme Park royalties. Oscar-nominated Avatar director James Cameron takes the number four position, making $50 million in 2009. Clearly that number is strictly from the success of Avatar, and we’re only expecting his profit to go up from there.

Other notable directors and producers in the top ten are Todd Philips (The Hangover), J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), and Jerry Bruckheimer (The Scorcerer’s Apprentice). The only three actors to break into the top ten earners are Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hanks, and Ben Stiller. And the highest woman on the list is Cameron Diaz, who takes the number 19 spot, having made $27 million last year, mainly on voicing Princess Fiona in the film.

Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston are neck-and-neck, with Angie making just $1 million more than Jen. To see the whole list of the top Hollywood earners from 2009, click here.