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Taylor Lautner made $33 million last year, out earned Robert Downey

By / 02.03.11

Vanity Fair just released their list of last year’s top earners in Hollywood, and the top spot should be no surprise.  James Cameron’s estimated $257 million was more than the next three highest combined. James Cameron would take a swan dive off his private skyscraper into his indoor shark pool if he ever had to go back to earning what Chris Nolan earns ($71.5 million).  At that rate, he’d probably have to fire the Ukranian teens who chew the caviar he feeds his lizards.  At that point, why even bother?

Meanwhile, the biggest surprise on the top 10 was probably Taylor Lautner at number nine with $33.5 million.  Why a surprise?  I guess it’s just that, well, you expect someone who makes the top ten in earnings to, how shall I put this… actually be good at something.  This dude rode his Paul Walker-level acting abilities to a supporting role in Twilight and suddenly he’s out-earning Robert Downey Jr, who I believe starred in 67 movies last year.  I know he’s got great abs, but honestly… you want a hairless teen with abs?  I can get you a hairless teen with abs, believe me.  There are ways, dude.  You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.

1. James Cameron
WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (Creative Artists Agency)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $257 MILLION (2009 rank: 4)
$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
ACTOR (United Talent Agency)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $100 MILLION (2009 rank: 21)
$40 million: Alice in Wonderland (back-end for starring in Tim Burton film, based on worldwide gross of $1.02 billion)
$35 million: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (up-front money for starring in next installment of Jerry Bruckheimer’s waterlogged but ludicrously profitable franchise)
$20 million: The Tourist (fee for co-starring in one of the year’s bigger flops alongside Angelina Jolie)
$5 million: Older film revenue

3. Steven Spielberg
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $80 MILLION (2009 rank: 2)
$50 million: Universal-theme-park royalties and consulting fees
$20 million: War Horse (fee for directing and producing upcoming World War I drama)
$10 million: Older film revenue

4. Christopher Nolan
WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $71.5 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$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
ACTOR (Special Artists Agency)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $62 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$59 million: Inception (back-end for starring in somewhat convoluted Christopher Nolan film)
$3 million: Back-end for starring in somewhat convoluted Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island, older film revenue

6. Tim Burton
DIRECTOR (William Morris Endeavor)  [Does anyone really give a sh*t who their talent agency is? -Ed]
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $53 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$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
ACTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $50 MILLION (2009 rank: 12)
$25 million: Just Go with It (fee for producing and starring in upcoming comedy opposite Jennifer Aniston)
$20 million: Jack and Jill (fee for producing and starring in upcoming comedy with Katie Holmes and Al Pacino)
$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
WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $34 MILLION (2009 rank: 5)
$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 upcoming low-budget comedy)

9. Taylor Lautner
ACTOR (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $33.5 million (2009 rank: —)
$12.5 million: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1 (fee for co-starring in upcoming penultimate Twilight film)
$12.5 million: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 (fee for co-starring in upcoming final Twilight film)
$7.5 million: Abduction (fee for starring in upcoming John Singleton thriller)
$1 million: Older film revenue, mostly from Twilight franchise

10. Robert Downey Jr.
ACTOR (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $31.5 MILLION (2009 rank: 28)
$15 million: Fee for starring in upcoming untitled Sherlock Holmes sequel
$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


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TAGSHIGHEST PAIDJAMES CAMERONrich peopleTaylor LautnerVANITY FAIR TOP 40

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