The most profitable filmmakers currently alive

by comicman117 | created - 14 Sep 2011 | updated - 11 Aug 2014 | Public

Most successful (animated and non animated).

1. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and...

$4,155.9

2. Michael Bay

Producer | Armageddon

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and Divinyls. His work won...

$2,140.9 You may hate his movies but they sure do bring in money.

3. Robert Zemeckis

Writer | Back to the Future

A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone (1984), 1941 (1979)) and special effect ...

$2,038.9

4. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

$1,974.3

5. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

$1,879.6

6. Ron Howard

Actor | Arrested Development

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995) to the hit comedies Parenthood (1989) and Splash (1984), he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films.

Howard ...

$1,833.7 Actually surprised to see him so high on this list.

7. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

$1,700.5 Not currently working as a filmmaker however the Star Wars film have made him plenty of money.

8. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

$1,623.5

9. Chris Columbus

Producer | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus was first inspired to make movies after seeing "The Godfather" at age 15. After enrolling at NYU film school, he sold his first screenplay (never produced) while a sophomore there. After graduation Columbus tried to sell his fourth script, "...

$1,671.5

10. Christopher Nolan

Writer | The Prestige

Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.

...

$1,177.3

11. Sam Raimi

Director | Spider-Man

Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead (1981). From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making ...

$1,291.8

12. Gore Verbinski

Director | Rango

Gore Verbinski, one of American cinema's most inventive directors who was a punk-rock guitarist as a teenager and had to sell his guitar to buy his first camera, is now the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) which made the industry record for highest opening weekend of ...

$1,431.8 Guess directing the first three pirates films is enough to make you a billion.

13. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

$1,256.5

14. Lee Unkrich

Editor | Coco

Lee Unkrich attended Chagrin Falls High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He was born in 1967 and graduated in 1985. He was a great French student and created a character in his movie, Toy Story 2 (1999) after his high school French teacher. He was featured in the local paper twice for Monsters, Inc. ...

$1,256.4

15. David Yates

Director | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

David Yates was born on October 8, 1963 in St. Helens, Merseyside, England. He is a director and producer, known for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), The Legend of Tarzan (2016) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).

$1,266.2

16. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted ...

$1,124.8

17. Roland Emmerich

Producer | Independence Day

Roland Emmerich is a German film director and producer of blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Godzilla (1998), Independence Day (1996) and The Patriot (2000). Before fame, he originally wanted to be a production designer, but decided to be a director, after watching the original ...

$1,111.3

18. Andrew Adamson

Director | Shrek 2

Andrew Adamson was born on December 1, 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a producer and director, known for Shrek 2 (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and Shrek (2001). He has been married to Gyulnara Karaeva since January 16, 2016. He was previously ...

$1,142.2

19. Richard Donner

Director | Superman

Richard Donner was born on April 24, 1930 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard D. Schwartzberg. He is a director and producer, known for Superman (1978), Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon (1987). He has been married to Lauren Shuler Donner since November 27, 1986.

$1,139.0

20. Brett Ratner

Director | Red Dragon

Brett Ratner is one of Hollywood's most successful filmmakers. His diverse films resonate with audiences worldwide and, as director, his films have grossed over $2 billion at the global box office. Brett began his career directing music videos before making his feature directorial debut at 26 years...

$980.0

21. Dennis Dugan

Actor | Happy Gilmore

Dennis Dugan was born on September 5, 1946 in Wheaton, Illinois, USA as Dennis Barton Dugan. He is an actor and director, known for Happy Gilmore (1996), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Big Daddy (1999). He is married to Sharon Dugan. He was previously married to Joyce Van Patten.

$888.9

22. Ivan Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Ivan Reitman, as a producer and director, has created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies and has worked with Hollywood's acting elite. Reitman has produced such hits as the ground-breaking sensation National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), which introduced ...

$1,067.2

23. Tony Scott

Producer | Domino

Tony Scott was a British-born film director and producer. He was the youngest of three brothers, one of whom is fellow film director Ridley Scott. He was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England to parents Jean and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. As a result of his father's career in the British...

RIP!

24. Jay Roach

Director | Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Jay Roach was born on June 14, 1957 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA as Mathew Jay Roach. He is a producer and director, known for Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Trumbo (2015) and Game Change (2012). He has been married to Susanna Hoffs since April 17, 1993. They have two ...

$1,000.7

25. Barry Sonnenfeld

Producer | Wild Wild West

Barry Sonnenfeld was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from New York University of Film School in 1978. He started work as director of photography on the Oscar-nominated In Our Water (1982). Then Joel Coen and Ethan Coen hired him for Blood Simple. (1984). This film began his ...

$879.6

26. Steven Soderbergh

Director | Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to ...

$822.9

27. John Lasseter

Writer | Toy Story 2

Although born in Hollywood John and his twin sister, Johanna were raised in Wittier near Los Angeles. His parents were Jewell Mae (Risley), an art teacher, and Paul Eual Lasseter, a parts manager at a Chevrolet dealership. His mother's profession contributed to his interest in animation and ...

$1,034.2

28. M. Night Shyamalan

Producer | Lady in the Water

Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots.

He is the son of Jayalakshmi, a Tamil ...

$969.5

29. Martin Scorsese

Director | Taxi Driver

Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later ...

$830.0

30. Todd Phillips

Producer | Due Date

Todd Phillips was born on December 20, 1970 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Todd Bunzl. He is a producer and director, known for Due Date (2010), Old School (2003) and The Hangover (2009).

$882.9

31. Garry Marshall

Director | Pretty Woman

Garry Marshall was born on November 13, 1934 in New York City, New York, USA as Garry Kent Maschiarelli. He was a writer and producer, known for Pretty Woman (1990), The Princess Diaries (2001) and Happy Days (1974). He was married to Barbara Marshall. He died on July 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, ...

$936.3

32. Bryan Singer

Director | X-Men

Bryan Singer was born on September 17, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as Bryan Jay Singer. He is a producer and director, known for X-Men (2000), The Usual Suspects (1995) and Superman Returns (2006).

$687.6

33. Shawn Levy

Producer | Arrival

Shawn Levy was born on July 23, 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Stranger Things (2016), Real Steel (2011), and the Night at the Museum franchise. He is the founder and principal of 21 Laps Entertainment. He is married to Serena Levy and they have four ...

$852.1

34. Carlos Saldanha

Director | Rio

Carlos Saldanha is a Brazilian director of animated films. He was the director of Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) and Rio (2011), and the co-director of Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005).

Saldanha was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He left his hometown in 1991 to ...

35. Jon Favreau

Producer | Chef

Initially an indie film favorite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director.

The amiable, husky-framed actor with the ...

36. Joel Schumacher

Director | The Phantom of the Opera

Joel Schumacher was born on August 29, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Joel T. Schumacher. He is a director and writer, known for The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Batman & Robin (1997) and Phone Booth (2002).

37. Jon Turteltaub

Producer | National Treasure

Jon Turteltaub was born on August 8, 1963 in New York City, New York, USA as Jonathan Charles Turteltaub. He is a producer and director, known for National Treasure (2004), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) and Phenomenon (1996). He has been married to Amy Eldon since July 6, 2006. They ...

38. Tom Shadyac

Director | The Nutty Professor

Tom Shadyac moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and, at age 24, became the youngest staff joke writer ever for comedian Bob Hope. Shadyac received his master's degree in film from UCLA in 1989 after completing the critically acclaimed short, Tom, Dick and Harry. He then worked on movies-of-the-week, ...

$892.7

39. Rob Minkoff

Director | The Lion King

Rob Minkoff was born on August 11, 1962 in Palo Alto, California, USA. He is a producer and director, known for The Lion King (1994), Stuart Little 2 (2002) and Oliver & Company (1988). He has been married to Crystal Kung since September 29, 2007.

40. Conrad Vernon

Actor | Shrek 2

Conrad Vernon was born on July 11, 1968 in Lubbock, Texas, USA as Conrad Vernon IV. He is an actor and producer, known for Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek (2001) and Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).

41. Chris Renaud

Actor | Despicable Me 2

Director Chris Renaud has established himself as a heavyweight in the world of animation following the phenomenal box office success of recent movies Despicable Me (2010), Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). Along with Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon, he also co-created the ...

42. Francis Lawrence

Director | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Francis Lawrence was born on March 26, 1971 in Vienna, Austria. He is a director and producer, known for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015) and Constantine (2005).

43. Joe Johnston

Director | Captain America: The First Avenger

Joe Johnston was born on May 13, 1950 in Austin, Texas, USA as Joseph Eggleston Johnston III. He is a director, known for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), October Sky (1999) and The Rocketeer (1991).

$808.1

44. Barry Levinson

Director | Rain Man

Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...

$809.6

45. Peter Segal

Director | Get Smart

Peter Segal was born in 1962. He is a director and producer, known for Get Smart (2008), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) and Grudge Match (2013). He is married to Linda.

$774.4

46. Raja Gosnell

Director | Big Momma's House

Raja Gosnell started his film career as an assistant editor in the late 1970s. His first credit as a film's main editor was the romantic comedy "The Lonely Guy" (1984), for director Arthur Hiller. During the 1980s, Gosnell served as editor in films directed by Tom Laughlin, David Worth, Bob Dahlin,...

$725.4

47. Wolfgang Petersen

Director | Das Boot

This director seems to shine most when making movies that can best be described as part action movies/part disaster movies.

Beginning with Outbreak (1995) about the outbreak of a killer virus. This film had shades of an Irwin Allen disaster movie, The Swarm (1978), about the outbreak of killer bees....

48. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

(sadly he is deceased).

49. Zack Snyder

Director | 300

Zachary Edward "Zack" Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter, best known for action and science fiction films. Snyder made his feature film debut with the 2004 remake Dawn of the Dead and has gone on to be known for his comic book movies and ...

50. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

J.J. Abrams was born on June 27, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA as Jeffrey Jacob Abrams. He is a producer and writer, known for Lost (2004), Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). He has been married to Katie McGrath since 1996. They have three children.