While for most the main draw to the box office are the actors or movie premise; when it comes to these iconic directors they can create just as much if not more buzz. Everyone on this list has been behind some of the most influential films ever, and the wealth they have attained from these efforts is certainly a reflection of that. By considering the movies these people have made and the income that they attained from their work we break down the top to richest working directors today, and how they got to be that way.
10. Christopher Nolan Net Worth: $180 Million
One of my favorite directors on this list, I can’t think of a single bad movie Nolan has directed, as every film he does is consistently original as well as having major box office appeal. He is most well known for the Dark Knight trilogy, which are some of the highest grossing films ever and certainly contributed to his huge net worth. Recently though, he also directed Dunkirk where he is said to have gotten $20 million up front, as well as 20% of the overall gross, and with the film being incredibly successful Nolan has quickly become one of the highest paid directors of all time.
(Tie) 9. Roland Emmerich Net Worth: $200 Million
If you don’t know his name you’ll certainly recognize some of his films which include Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and a whole bunch of other films that have the word “day” in them and are about the end of the world. His films are said to have had a total income of over $3 billion worldwide, and by taking just a small fraction of that he has been able to attain the huge amounts of wealth that he has today.
(Tie) 8. Ridley Scott Net Worth: $200 Million
Considered to be a pioneer when it comes to sci-fi, horror and the merging of these two genres, odds are if you’re a science fiction fan you’ve probably come across some of Scott’s work. He was the mind behind classics like Alien and Blade Runner and more recent hits as well such as The Martian. This combined with his impressive work in other genres with films such as Gladiator and Thelma & Louise is what has made him such an icon and earned him a spot on this list.
7. Francis Ford Coppola Net Worth: $300 Million
If you’re a film buff you are probably more than familiar with this man and maybe even idolize him a little bit, as Francis Ford Coppola is the person responsible for all three Godfather movies. Widely considered to be some of, if not the best films of all time, as director of The Godfather trilogy Coppola has become a household name and has the net worth to reflect that. He has directed a few other classics as well such as Apocalypse Now and The Outsiders, and while he hasn’t done much recently he really doesn’t have to with all the money he has earned over the course of his career.
6. Michael Bay Net Worth: $430 million
A master of explosions, hot ladies, and fast cars, Michale Bay has built his career off of making movies that are by dudes for dudes. He has made every Transformers movie to date, and while their ratings have steadily been decreasing their revenue has not!… Well, actually their revenue has decreased a little too, but obviously not by that much considering his current worth. He also has a serious work ethic and consistently puts out a film every one to two years which explains how he has become one of the wealthiest working directors today.
5. Peter Jackson Net Worth: $500 million
The man responsible for three of the greatest movies of all time… you guessed it… The Hobbit trilogy! Ha, definitely just kidding, it’s Lord of the Rings that I’m talking about. Still, even though The Hobbit movies were nowhere near as good as the original trilogy, they did end up bringing in Jackson an incredible income of somewhere around $100 million plus dollars. This, combined with the similar sum Jackson made from the original trilogy as well as his numerous other blockbusters are how he has landed a spot on this list.
4. Tyler Perry Net Worth: $600 Million
While he is known more as an actor than a director, if Tyler Perry is in a movie it’s almost guaranteed that he directed the film as well. He has an incredible work ethic and tends to release a movie at least once a year, and if that’s not the case, odds are because he happened to be directing a show during that time period instead. While none of his films are ever very critically acclaimed like the others on this list, they always have a box office draw and continue to show to Perry is a talented director in his own right.
3. James Cameron Net Worth: $700 million
James Cameron has a knack for creating hits, and while he doesn’t release films that often when he does they are almost always bound to break some records. Both of his films, Titanic and Avatar were the highest grossing films ever at the time of their release, and even today still hold the 1 and 2 spots for the highest grossing films. Not only that, but he launched The Terminator franchise which still remains one of the most successful film series of all time.
2. Steven Spielberg Net Worth: $3.7 billion
There’s no one else more iconic when it comes to directors than Steven Spielberg. Having been the mind behind some of the greatest American classics such as Jaws, E.T, Jurrasic Park and so many more that went on to become huge franchises, it’s honestly a surprise he isn’t worth even more. Even today he continues to put out great movies like Lincoln and Ready Player One, proving that he is still the visionary filmmaker that he has always proven himself to be.
1. George Lucas Net Worth: $5 billion
George Lucas really needs no explanation for his wealth as I can pretty much just say the words “Star Wars” and you will get the point. That being said, Lucas made his astounding fortune off of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which are both worth huge fortunes through their merchandise sales alone. Where the majority of his billions comes from though, was his somewhat recent deal to sell the Star Wars franchise to Disney for an astounding $4 billion plus dollars. This, combined with what was his already a huge net worth is how he acquired his current fortune.