Michael Bay, director and producer of the blockbuster Transformers series, beat mogul Steven Spielberg to top Vanity Fair’s inaugural list of Hollywood’s Top 40 Money Makers, which the magazine releases on Tuesday. Bay pulled in $125 million last year, according to the magazine, ahead of Spielberg ($85 million), action director Roland Emmerich ($70 million), Avatar auteur James Cameron ($50 million), and Todd Phillips, producer of The Hangover ($44 million). The magazine limits its list to film-industry creatives: producers, directors, and stars.
Nine women made it into the top 40. The list’s highest-ranking actress, Emma Watson (no. 14), beats out Cameron Diaz (no. 19), Sarah Jessica Parker (no. 24), Katherine Heigl (no. 25), and Reese Witherspoon (no. 31). For now, Hogwarts trumps vampires: Along with Watson, Harry Potter hero Daniel Radcliffe (no. 6) and supporting actor Rupert Grint (no. 15) rank far above Twilight co-stars Robert Pattinson (no. 35) and Kristen Stewart (no. 37
The magazine interviewed scores of Hollywood insiders to compile the list, says contributing editor Peter Newcomb, who compiled the list. Although agents, lawyers, studio executives, and even the stars themselves provided the deal numbers, calculating the earning power isn’t always an exact science, Newcomb says.
Who will we see on the list in 2011? Count on Twilight’s Taylor Lautner to be here, and for a stronger showing from the King of the World. Avatar director Cameron helped generated sales of more than $800 million for 2009, and his no. 1 movie will most likely also be on the 2010 list a year from now. Also hitting multiplexes this year: the third Fockers installment, for which Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller will each earn about $20 million. Owen Wilson will pull in $15 million for his efforts.
The March Vanity Fair will be on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday and will be available nationally on next Tuesday. Here
’s the full list: