1. Steven Spielberg
Net Worth: $3.7 billion
Steven Spielberg is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, born there on December 18, 1946. He made his first films during his early teens, all of which were shot on 8 mm films. When he was 16, Spielberg wrote and directed his first independent film, a 140-minute science fiction adventure called Firelight. Firelight was made on a cost of $500 and was shown at a local cinema for one night, which made for Steven his cost back. Firelight would later form the inspiration of his Close Encounters of Third Kind.
During his high school years, Spielberg moved to California with his family where he attended California State University, Long Beach. During his college years, Spielberg took up an unpaid intern job with the editing department of Universal Studios. Later, he was given the opportunity to make a short film for theatrical release – a 26-minute, 35 mm film called Amblin which Spielberg wrote and directed. The film won a few awards which so impressed the bosses of Universal that Spielberg was offered a seven-year directing contract for Universal’s television shows.
Steven’s first important directorial TV job came when he was given the opportunity to direct one of the segments for the 1969 pilot episode of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford. After this, Universal signed Steven on to direct 4 TV films. After that came Steven’s first feature length film: The Sugarland Express, released in 1974. Sugarland Express was praised by reviewers, and Steven’s next feature length film, Jaws, would set him on course to become one of Hollywood’s greatest and most commercially successful directors of all time. Following Jaws were Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones series, and, of course, the Star Wars franchise.
After these big-budget family entertainment films, Steven changed up and took up more serious topics with The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and Schindler’s List before returning to big box-office hits like the sequel to Jurassic Park. Indeed, Spielberg’s opus ranged from science fiction, fantasy to impactful drama based on historical facts.
With over 30 films, three Academy Awards, seven Academy Awards nominations, and 11 of the films he directed having been put up for an Oscar for Best Picture (of which Schindler’s List won), Steven Allan Spielberg is estimated to be worth $3.7 billion as of 2020.
2. Martin Scorsese
Net Worth: $100 million
Martin Scorsese graduated from New York University with a degree in English Literature and a Masters of Fine Arts in Film from The Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Martin’s body of work mostly speaks to subject matters such as the Italian-American identity, the Catholic tenets of sin and redemption, machismo, and crime and city tribalism. Scorsese is known for epic big budget, highly stylized productions, repeat collaborations with certain actors, like Robert De Niro and Leonardo Dicaprio, cinematographers, and screenwriters, all of which came to represent the hallmarks of a Martin Scorsese film.
Taxi Driver released in 1976 established Scorsese as an accomplished filmmaker. The film went on to win the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. It also received four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. The critical and financial success of Taxi Driver was followed by his first big-budget production, the highly stylized musical New York, New York.
In the Age of Innocence, which Scorsese wrote the screenplay for, he departed from his usual themes to explore the lost values, customs and the established order of things of a by-gone era. Scorsese is also well-known for epic films like The Last Temptation of Christ.
Over the course of his career, Scorsese has produced over 25 feature films and a couple of documentaries, most famous of which was Made in Milan about Giorgio Armani. While many of his films have often been nominated for Academy Awards, Scorsese only ever won an Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed. For example, Scorsese’s The Aviator, an epic bio-drama about Howard Hughes, was nominated in almost all categories, garnering nominations in 11 categories including for Best Picture and eventually winning five Oscars. However, Scorsese lost to Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby for Best Picture.
As of 2020, Martin Scorsese’s fortune is thought to be approximately $100 million.
3. Rajkumar Hirani
Net Worth: $175 million
Rajkumar Hirani is a Bollywood director who started as a film editor but without much success. He found more success in being a director and producer of advertisements for television, and for ad agencies. However, he yearned to be a director of movies, and so he took a break from the advertising world to re-join Bollywood as a film editor, getting his first big break in Mission Kashmir (2000), a Hindi action-thriller directed and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra with a star-studded cast of Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Jackie Shroff, and Sonali Kulkarni.
Rajkumar’s directorial debut would come a couple of years later in the comedy film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., about a goon (played by Sanjay Dutt) going to medical school helped by his sidekick (Circuit, played by Warsi). The film received good critical reviews and Hirani’s direction was praised. The film was a commercial success and went on to gross US$14 million. This film launched Hirani as a director to watch, winning him a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Director. This was the first film of the Munna Bhai franchise – Hirani also directed the second instalment.
After Munna Bhai, Hirani’s next three films, 3 Idiots (2009), PK (2014) and Sanju (2018) all received positive critical reviews. For 3 Idiots, Hirani won his third National Film Award for Best Popular Film, his first Filmfare Best Film and Best Director Award, and second Filmfare Best Screenplay and Best Story Award. The film quickly established Hirani as one of Hindi cinema’s most prominent filmmakers. On the other hand, PK was the first Hindi film to gross over $100 million in worldwide box-office.
As of 2020, Rajkumar Hirani has built a net worth of approximately $175 million, and distinguished as one of the highest paid directors of Indian cinema.
4. Ang Lee
Net Worth: $32 million
Ang Lee was born in Taiwan, in Pintung County on 23 October 1954. He is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker of local and international fame.
Ang’s earlier films which were distributed internationally are The Wedding Banquet (1993), a story about a Taiwanese gay man and his American partner who had been living happily in New York when out of pressure he decided to agree to a traditional marriage to Wei Wei, a struggling artist desperate for a green card. When his family wanted to throw him a lavish banquet, things went comedically and spectacularly wrong, resultng in his coming out to his family and eventually gaining acceptance from his family of his sexual orientation and his life-partner, and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) which discussed the lives of three sisters of very differenct personalities against the backdop of traditional Chinese values challenged by a modernising world. The joys and dissapointments these three women fact in their lives and romatic relationships is given comfort and stability by the lavish Sunday dinners cooked by their semi-retired Master-Chef dad. From these two Taiwanese films, Lee went on to direct Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for which he received critical acclaim. After that, he directed a few more Hollywood films of varied genres like Ice Storm (1997), a drama about the inner tensions faced by an outwardly wholesome family until the arrival of an ice storm during a Thanksgiving holiday break, and Ride with the Devil (1999), a Western. Then in 2000, Lee directed the international box-office hit, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
Lee’s directorial talent would be accorded the highest honor with Brokeback Mountain (2005) and the Life of Pi (2009) for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director for each of the two films.
In total, Ang Lee has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and won three, one for Crouching Tiger (Best Foreign Film) and Best Director for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi.
Ang Lee studied in Taiwan and later went to the University of Illinois, USA, where he graduated with a degree in theater in 1980. Following Illinois, Lee enrolled at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University where he received his Masters of Fine Arts in film production. During his time at the Tisch School, he met Spike Lee, who, coincidentally, was his classmate. Lee’s thesis work for graduation, a 43-minute drama called Fine Line (1984), won NYU’s Wasserman Award for Outstanding Direction, and was selected by PBS for national broadcast.
As of 2020, Ang Lee is estimated to be worth $32 million.
5. Christopher Nolan
Net Worth: $200 million
Christopher Nolan, born on July 30, 1970, in London, is an innovative film director and screenwriter. Nolan spent his childhood in London and Chicago. When he was a child, he was interested in botany, but when he found his dad’s camera, he became obsessed with it, and made his first film with his father’s Super 8. As was predicted, young Christopher dropped out of University to study filmmaking and in 1993, graduated with a degree in film-making.
In Hollywood, Nolan is known to be a commercially successful director as well as for his distinctive style of directing – his films having in aggregate grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
Nolan gained international recognition with his film Memento released in 2000 which also won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His next film, Insomnia (2002) was positively received but it was not until The Dark Knight Trilogy between 2005 to 2012 that his directorial talent and fame became truly international. In 2006, he also directed the enigmatic psychological thriller The Prestige and in 2010, he wrote and directed the science fiction Inception which received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and original screenplay.
In 2017, Nolan directed Dunkirk which garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and Best Director. In total, Nolan has been nominated a total of 34 times and won 10 of the 34 nominations.
Nolan’s films are typically rooted in the human conditions of truth, belief and justification, and metaphysical themes. He has co-written several of his films with his brother Jonathan, and runs the production company Syncopy Inc. with his wife Emma Thomas.
As of 2020, he is estimated to be worth approximately about $200 million.
6. James Cameron
Net Worth: $700 million
Canadian James Francis Cameron is best known for writing, producing, and directing mainstream Hollywood big-budget and science-fiction films.
Originally enrolled to study physics at a community college, Cameron switched to reading English, but left college anyway before graduating. He worked at odd jobs while teaching himself special effects relating to film technology. After he watched Star Wars in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry, convinced he wanted to make films.
In his early years, between the years 1978 to 1983, he performed various roles, from production assistant to special efforts assistant to being the art director of a science-fiction film. In 1984, he first gained recognition for directing The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cameron had written the script for The Terminator but could not find any studio to back it, even though a few executives liked the scripts. Cameron eventually found in Hemdale Pictures a willing partner to back and produce the film, resulting in Cameron directing and, Gale Anne Hurd, to whom Cameron was married to for a while, producing it. The film was a great first success for Cameron, grossing over $78 million in worldwide box-office sales.
Following The Terminator, Cameron went from strength to strength, critically and commercially with Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009) were his two epic films that won him Academy Awards in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing categories. Avatar and Titanic became the second and third highest grossing films of all time, turning in $2.78 billion and $2.19 billion from box-office worldwide, respectively.
Besides being a mainstream Hollywood director, James Cameron is also a National Geographic sea explorer, and has produced documentaries including Ghosts and Abyss (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005). In 2012, Cameron was the first person to solo descend to the bottom of the deepest part of the Earth’s ocean, known as the Mariana Trench, located on the eastern side of the Philippines, in the Philippines Sea.
As of 2020, James Cameron is estimated to have built up a net worth of $700 million.
7. James Ivory
Net Worth: $15 million
James Ivory, one-half of Merchant and Ivory, was the business and life partner of Ismail Merchant. Their production company, Merchant and Ivory, made English films usually set in Edwardian times boasting sumptuous and lavish sets, and starring top English actors and actresses, like Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson and Vanessa Redgrave. James Ivory’s beautiful direction would give these motion pictures a certain quality that came to be associated with a Merchant and Ivory film.
Ismail Merchant was the producer and James Ivory, always, the director in their life-long collaboration.
Merchant & Ivory made a total of 44 films, the most well-known, internationally, of which are A Room with a View (1986), Howards End (1993), and Remains of the Day (1994), which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. A Room with a View grossed $21 million, Howard’s End, $26 million, and Remains of the Day, $64 million worldwide.
After Ismail’s death in 2005, at the age of 89, James Ivory own his first Academy Award for Best Screenplay for Call Me by Your Name (2018), the gay coming-out motion picture starring, new entrant, Timothee Chalamet, and Armie Hammer, set in beautiful Palermo, Italy.
As of 2020, James Ivory is estimated to have a fortune of some $15 million.
8. Ridley Scott
Net Worth: $400 million
Sir Ridley Scott is world famous for his sci-fi films such as Blade Runner, Alien and Prometheus. This English filmmaker and director is known for his atmospherically tense and highly visual style. While sci-fi is the genre that most people would associate him with, Scott also directed the drama-thriller, Thelma & Louise, and the historical bio-epics, Gladiator and 1492: Conquest of Paradise.
Born in 1937, Scott started out making commercials; the rather famous Hovis bread advertisement seen loved by all in England, and accompanied by Dvorak’s New World Symphony, was made by Scott.
Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing, for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. Gladiator was awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture, while Scott himself received a nomination in the same category for the 2015 film: The Martian. Scott never received an Academy Award for Best Director, although he has won a Saturn Award and one by the National Board Review for Best Director for The Martian and Alien.
In 1995, both Scott and his brother Tony were awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, and in 2003, he was knighted for services to the British film industry. In 2018, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement in 2018.
In 2020, Sir Scott is estimated to have a net worth of over $400 million.
9. Quentin Tarantino
Net Worth: $110 million
The name Quentin Tarantino is associated with films characterized by scenes of highly stylized violence, and, sometimes, hard to follow narratives, and score pieces.
The best known of his films has surely got to be Pulp Fiction released in 1994, although Reservoir Dogs (1992) was the film that really launched his career. Pulp Fiction grossed over $213 million worldwide and was a critics’ choice as well. Tarantino’s next major film Kill Bill was released in two installments, as Volume 1 and Volume 2, was another highly stylized crime story which grossed $180 million and $152 million, respectively.
The Inglorious Bastards which provides an alternative narrative of the history of the Nazi was released to critical acclaim in 2009, which was followed three years later by another critically acclaimed film, Django Unchained, a Western.
Tarantino’s films have mostly been both critical and commercial successes. Some of his early films like Pulp Fiction has also become a cult-phenomenon.
Tarantino has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a Palme d’Or. He has also been nominated for an Emmy and five Grammys.
As of 2020, Tarantino has a net worth of over $110 million.
10. Zhang Yimou
Net Worth: $70 million
Zhang Yimou is mostly well-known for his directorial work for films like Raise the Red Lantern, Red Sorghum and Ju Dou, all starring his then muse, Gong Li.
Red Sorghum was released in 1987, and went on to win Zhang a Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. Born in 1951, Zhang was part of a cohort of Chinese directors who, after the lifting of the restrictions imposed during the Cultural Revolution, got into the Bejing Film Academy when it reopened its doors in the late 70s.
With Red Sorghum having been internationally distributed, Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern, both critically acclaimed films, went on to win a nomination in the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category at the 1991 and 1992 Academy Awards, although they did not eventually win. Zhang has, however, won numerous awards and recognition, with one more Academy Awards nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003 for Hero, Silver Lion and Golden Lion prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang’s latest Hollywood release was the 2016 The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon.
In 1993, he was inducted as a member of the jury at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. In the summer of 2008, Zhang directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games to international acclaim.
As of 2020, Zhang Yimou is estimated to be worth a total of some $70 million.
11. Clinton Eastwood
Net Worth: $350 million
Clinton Eastwood Jr. is an American actor, film director, producer, and composer.
While Eastwood is perhaps better known in his earlier days as an iconic actor famous for his Western film roles, in the later years of his career, he’s achieved directorial fame winning an Academy Award for his Western film Unforgiven (1992) and for his sports drama Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Works where he did not also act like the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the war film Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) (which was nominated for an Academy Award), the drama Changeling (2008), and the biographical sports drama Invictus (2009) showed Eastwood to be as capable a director as he is an actor. American Sniper (2014), another war movie, directed by Eastwood was a huge box-office hit, and became the largest opening ever for a Clint Eastwood film.
Clint Eastwood was born on May 31, 1930 at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, California. As of 2020, Clint Eastwood is worth an estimated $350 million.
12. Woody Allen
Net Worth: $80 million
Woody Allen is an American director, writer actor and comedian whose films are known for their intellectual, but sometimes slapstick comedic scripts. Typically, Allen would also star in the films he directed.
Born as Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935, Allen began directing films in the late 60s, starting with slapstick comedies, like Take the Money and Run (1969), Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975).
In the 70s, Allen’s films were more stylized and dramatic, often evoking styles espoused by Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman. During the 80s, Allen directed a slew of films often starring alongside actress, Diane Keaton, and winning Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and, of course, Best Director awards. The 80s saw films from Allen like Stardust Memories (1980), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987), Another Woman (1988), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), which critics hailed as Allen’s most creative and developed films.
All in all, Woody Allen directed over 50 films from the early 70s to present. Allen’s best-known films are undoubtedly Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Match Point (2005) and Midnight in Paris (2011).
In total, Woody Allen has been nominated a total of 16 times for an Academy Award, winning four, one for Best Director, and three for Best Original Screenplay. He also garnered nine British Academy Film Awards. In 1997, Allen was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 2014 he received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement and a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for Bullets over Broadway. The Writers Guild of America named his screenplay for Annie Hall first on its list of the “101 Funniest Screenplays”.
In 2020, Woody Allen is thought to be worth $80 million.
13. Francis Ford Coppola
Net Worth: $400 million
Francis Ford Coppola is most famous for his direction of The Godfather, released in 1972, which has become an all-time classic in Hollywood’s history of film-making. The Godfather won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Godfather Part II, released in 1974, became the first sequel of a film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Highly regarded by critics, the film brought Coppola three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. He was the second director (after Billy Wilder) to be ever honored three times for the sequel of a film.
After the Godfather, Coppola’s next big direction was Apocalypse Now (1979). Apocalypse was released to wide acclaim for its very real depictions of the Vietnam War. The film won the Palme d’Or, making Coppola one of only eight filmmakers to have won that award twice. The Conversation released in 1974 had won for Coppola a Palme d’Or once before.
Francis Ford Coppola was born April 7, 1939 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest movie maker and director of all time. His films have achieved 80 Academy Award nominations, winning 23, 39 BAFTA nominations, winning 11, and 56 Golden Globe nominations, winning 17.
Coppola has retired since his last film The Rainmaker in 1997. He is now a vineyard owner and produces his own family-brand of wines.
As of the time he retired, Francis Ford Coppola was worth about $400 million.
14. Timothy Burton
Net Worth: $130 million
Timothy Walter Burton is best known for his fantasy and horror films that are somewhat gothic but whose protagonists are misunderstood and lovable entities.
His best works are Beetlejuice released in 1988, followed by Edward Scissorhands in 1990 and Sleepy Hollow in 1999. Burton is also well known for his animated works such as Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005).
Burton is also famous for films with characters from fairy tales or children’s novels such as Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and recently, Dumbo.
To date, Burton has directed over 20 films, and has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, nominated four times and won once for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, and nominated three times for a BAFTA.
Burton wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997 by Faber and Faber, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009.
As of 2020, Tim Burton has a fortune of some about $130 million.
15. Roman Polański
Net Worth: $50 million
Roman Polański is a Polish-French film director who first became famous in the United States after he directed Rosemary Baby (a horror-thriller), first released in 1968. Polanski’s works have comprised interpreting literary works, like Tess (1979), Macbeth (1971) and Oliver Twist (2005), suspense thrillers like Frantic (1988) to art films like The Pianist (2002).
However, since the late 70s, Polanski has not filmed in the United States, having fled the country while awaiting sentencing for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.
Even though Polanski has not been directing in the United States since fleeing the country, he has so far garnered 28 Academy Award nominations, winning eight, 27 BAFTA nominations, winning 6, and 19 Golden Globe Award nominations, winning 7. His film Chinatown (1974) has received 11 Academy Award nominations, eventually translating only to one win for Best Original Screenplay. Chinatown is thought by critics to be one of the finest American mystery crime movies, inspired by the real-life California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century. The movie starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.
Born in August 18, 1933, Roman spent some years while growing up hiding his identity in order to escape the Holocaust. In 1969, tragedy struck when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and four friends were brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family, during which Polanski went through another extremely difficult period of his life.
Notwithstanding the difficult times Roman Polanski has endured, from having to hide from the Holocaust, fleeing the US to facing the murder of his pregnant wife, Polanski has still become very successful, having built a fortune of over $50 million as of 2020.
16. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Net Worth: $40 million
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a Mexican film director, producer, and screenwriter. His stories are often set across various countries and they speak of the human condition. Internationally, Gonzalez made headlines with the critically acclaimed Babel (2006), Birdman (2014) and The Revenant (2015).
Amores Perros, was his debut film which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Critics’ Week Grand Prize. In 2000, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film . His first American film, 21 Grams, was presented at the 60th Venice International Film Festival in the competition category, where Sean Penn won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Lead Actress Naomi Watts and Supporting Actor Benicio del Toro in 2003.
Iñárritu was born on 15 August 1963 in Mexico City, the youngest of seven children. As a young student, Alejandro stayed in Europe for a year, where he would later credit the places he’d traveled to as having influenced the settings for his films. In total, Alejandro has directed 13 films.
Seven of Alejandro’s films have garnered 33 Academy Award nominations, winning 8, 33 BAFTA Awards, winning 8, and 20 Golden Globe Awards nominations, winning 6. Of the seven films, Babel won the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture Drama, was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, and nominated for seven Academy Awards, including two for Iñárritu for Best Picture and Best Director.
In 2014, Alejandro won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The following year, he won a second Academy Award for Best Director for The Revenant, making him the third director to win back-to-back Academy Awards, and the first since 1950. The Revenant also won him a DGA Award, making history as the first person to ever win two in a row.
As of 2020, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is worth about $40 million.
17. George Lucas
Net Worth: $5.4 billion
George Walton Lucas Jr. is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and entrepreneur world renowned for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series and at one time the owner of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and Industrial Light & Magic which were sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2012.
Lucas’s early film American Graffiti released in 1973 was inspired by his earlier years in 60s Modesto, California. American Graffiti was produced by his newly founded Lucasfilm and was both a critical and commercial successful, having received five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. But it was Lucas’s next film Lucas’s next film, Star Wars released in 1977 that established Lucas as the brilliant director and writer that he is. Star Wars became the highest-grossing film at the time, winning six Academy Awards. Star Wars would become a cultural phenomenon where people from countries across the Globe would have a common reference point. Lucas produced and co-wrote the sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
George Lucas’s second world-wide phenomenon was the creation of the Indiana Jones films: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Temple of Doom (1984), The Last Crusade (1989) and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
George Lucas was nominated for four Academy Awards, for Best Director and Best Writing for each of American Graffiti and Star Wars. He also received one nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Director for Star Wars and for American Graffiti.
George Lucas is worth a staggering $5.4 billion, although a lot of his net worth was derived from the sale of Lucasfilm.
18. Alfred Hitchcock
Net Worth: $200 million
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer best known as the Master of Suspense. His filmography boasted over 50 motion pictures. He is easily the most studied and most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema on both sides of the Atlantic.
His best-known film, Psycho released in 1960 starring Anthony Perkins was a masterpiece which has seen a 2000 remake, starring Vince Vaughn in the title role. Other than Psycho, Hitchcock’s other works like Dial M for Murder and Vertigo are also ranked as one of the most suspenseful movies of all time. Films like Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944) Notorious (1946) and Spellbound (1945) also count among his greatest, with Rebecca winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, although Hitchcock himself was only nominated as Best Director. He was also nominated for Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945), although he never won the Best Director Academy Award.
Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London; Hitchcock entered the film industry in 1919 as a title card designer after training as a technical clerk and copy writer for a telegraph-cable company. He made his directorial debut with the British-German silent film The Pleasure Garden (1925). His first successful film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), were the foundations of the thriller genre. In fact his 1930s thrillers, The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938) are still ranked among the greatest British films of the 20th century.
All in all, Sir Alfred Hitchcock made over 59 feature films, of which 11 were silent films. At the time of his death in April 1980, Hitchcock was thought to be worth some $200 million.
19. Spike Lee
Net Worth: $40 million
Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee was born on March 20, 1957. He is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and professor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since its establishment in1983.
Spike is most famous for his film Malcolm X released in 1992. He first made his directorial debut with She’s Gotta Have it in 1986.
Lee’s work usually explores race relations in the black community, urban crime and poverty girded by political issues of the times depicted by his films. He has won numerous accolades for his work, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a Student Academy Award, a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, two Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and the Cannes Grand Prix. He has also received an Academy Honorary Award, an Honorary BAFTA Award, an Honorary César, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
Spike was a class mate of Taiwanese American director Ang Lee at the Tisch School of the Arts, of New York University.
Lee’s films Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls and She’s Gotta Have It have been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
As of 2020, Spike Lee is worth about $40 million.
20. Toyin Abraham
Net Worth: $1 million
Toyin Abraham born September 5, 1982, is a Nigerian film actress, filmmaker, director and producer.
She began acting in 2003, when Bukky Wright, a Nigerian film actress, visited Ibadan (where she lived) to shoot a movie. Over the years, Toyin Abraham has produced, directed and featured in over 28 Nigerian films, such as Alani Baba Labake and Ebimi ni.
She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Yoruba film titled Ebimi ni during the 2013 Best of Nollywood Awards alongside Joke Muyiwa, who was nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Yoruba film titled Ayitale. Based on her acting career, Toyin has also been called upon by politicians to campaign for them. At one of the programs for Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015, the actress said she was prepared to die for the People’s Democratic Party on whose platform Jonathan was contesting. But she later came out to apologize to her fans for the comments and urged Nigerians not to spill their blood for any politician.
Toyin Abraham is thought to be worth about $1 million in 2020, and she is one of the richest and most influential actress and director in Nigeria.