King of the World, Indeed: James Cameron Named Hollywood’s Top Earner

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REUTERS/Henry Romero

When you’re the creative force behind one of history’s biggest blockbusters, you’re sure to make bank. That’s why James Cameron topped 2010’s list of Hollywood’s highest earners.

The list, calculated by Vanity Fair, was limited to creative types — no studio execs allowed — and only counted revenue made from films, not endorsement deals or TV gigs. Revenue included, for example, an actor’s up-front fee, plus shares from the movie’s profit in theaters and on DVD.

(More on NewsFeed: See 2010’s highest-earning actors)

Cameron clobbered the competition, taking in $257 million for writing, directing and producing the box-office juggernaut Avatar. Coming in second place was Johnny Depp, who made $100 million in 2010 by starring in Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Tourist.

The highest-earning female on the list? Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart, who took in $28.5 million from her role as Bella Swan, plus an upcoming appearance in a film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. But she still didn’t outearn her costar, Taylor Lautner, who combined his Twilight money with his fee for the upcoming thriller Abduction.

(More on See the top 10 movies of 2010)

The top 10 are below, and you can see the full 40 at Vanity Fair.

  1. James Cameron, $257 million
  2. Johnny Depp, $100 million
  3. Steven Spielberg, $80 million
  4. Christopher Nolan, $71.5 million
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio $62 million
  6. Tim Burton, $53 million
  7. Adam Sandler, $50 million
  8. Todd Phillips, $34 million
  9. Taylor Lautner, $33.5 million
  10. Robert Downey, Jr., $31.5 million