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Hollywood’s Rich List

We all know that celebrities make a ton of cash – but the people on this list of highest earners may surprise you!

James Cameron was the richest man in Hollywood last year. The Avatar director topped Vanity Fair’s list of the top Hollywood movie earners in 2010 after banking an estimated $257 million from the 3D hit.

Johnny Depp came in a distant second, pocketing a mere $100 million from movies like Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist and upfront payments for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

* The list only included creative professionals (producers, writers, actors, etc.) and the money that they earned from film. Steven Spielberg, Inception director Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio rounded out the top five.

The top 10 earners:

1. James Cameron

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $257 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $100 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $80 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $71.5 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $62 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $53 MILLION

$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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $50 MILLION

$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

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

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $33.5 million

$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.

ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $31.5 MILLION

$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

via Pulse of Radio.

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