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Hollywood's highest-earning men

hollywood Updated: Sep 27, 2010 18:16 IST
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There have been few movies that have fundamentally changed Hollywood like Avatar. The movie is the highest-grossing film of all time (not adjusting for inflation) with $2.7 billion in box office earnings. It revolutionized computer-generated images with new motion capture techniques and, most importantly, it paved the way for a true 3-D revolution. In the wake of Avatar, almost all Hollywood blockbusters, from Harry Potter to Tron, now need to be in 3-D.

The film's incredible success has helped catapult director/writer/producer James Cameron to the top of our list of the Hollywood's Top-Earning Men. Cameron earned $210 million between June 2009 and June 2010.

Expect Cameron to stay on our list for many years to come as Avatar comes out on DVD again and again (director's cuts, 3-D versions, etc.) and as the movie moves on to television. By the time the Avatar river of money slows to a trickle, Cameron will likely have Avatar 2 ready for theaters.

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Ranking second, behind Cameron, is Tyler Perry. The self-made millionaire is a force to be reckoned with in movies and on television. Last year his films I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Why Did I Get Married Too grossed a combined $112 million in the U.S. He also produces the TBS shows Meet the Browns and House of Payne. Between June 2009 and June 2010, Perry earned $125 million.

The men on our list come from the worlds of movies, television, sports and standup comedy. To figure out earnings, we talked to agents, managers, producers and lawyers to determine what the stars earned from movies, television shows, sports wins and, of course, endorsements. We evaluated earnings only between June 2009 and June 2010.

Michael Bay ranks third with $120 million in earnings. His second Transformers movie (Revenge of the Fallen) grossed $836 million at the global box office netting Bay a hefty backend. But the director also earns a nice royalty from Transformers toys. His next movie, Transformers 3, is scheduled to hit theaters next year in 3-D.

Tiger Woods ranks fourth with $105 million. Despite a terrible year in which his personal scandal only seemed to get worse and worse, Woods still earns the big bucks. Nike ( NKE - news - people ) has built a $650 million (sales) golf business from scratch around Woods, and they aren't prepared to give up on the golfer just yet.

In fifth place: producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Like Perry, Bruckheimer straddles the worlds of television and film with hit shows like the various CSI shows and hit movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. But lately, at the movies at least, Bruckheimer has struggled. Recent films like G-Force ($293 million at the global box office) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice ($190 million) have failed to live up to expectations at the box office. But don't cry for Bruckheimer. His next film is the fourth Pirates installment. With Johnny Depp on board and a planned 3-D release, the film should earn a pretty penny. Between June 2009 and June 2010 Bruckheimer earned $100 million.