Vanity Fair strikes again. No, no photo shoots this time. Just the list of Hollywood’s Top 40 moneymakers in 2009, based on estimates that take into consideration up-front fees, box-office/DVD percentages and other revenue sources. White guys, most of them directors and/or producers, took the top ten slots:
Michael Bay ($125 million, mostly from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Steven Spielberg ($85 million, mostly thanks to “Universal theme-park royalties and consulting fees”), Roland Emmerich ($70 million, 2012), James Cameron ($50 million, Avatar), Todd Phillips ($44 million, mostly from The Hangover), and Daniel Radcliffe ($41 million, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I and II).
Also, Ben Stiller ($40 million, mostly from Little Fockers, which opens this year), Tom Hanks ($36 million, mostly from Angels & Demons), J.J. Abrams ($36 million, mostly from Star Trek), and Jerry Bruckheimer ($35.5 million, mostly from the upcoming The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).
At least no one can accuse Hollywood of discriminating against talent based on age, sexual orientation (especially if you’re not publicly out) or religion (or lack thereof). But if the Vanity Fair list is accurate, they do discriminate against screenwriters unless they also happen to be directors and/or producers. Not one is to be found on the Top 40 list.
And before anyone gets angry about the lack of women and ethnic minorities among the Top Ten, actor-filmmaker Tyler Perry was no. 11 (who says cross-dressing doesn’t pack ’em in?) and Denzel Washington was no. 13.
The first woman on the list is Emma Watson at no. 14 (a mere $30 million), followed by Cameron Diaz at no. 19 (voice for Shrek Forever After, Knight and Day, The Green Hornet), Sarah Jessica Parker at no. 24 (Sex and the City 2, Did You Hear About the Morgans?), and Katherine Heigl at no. 25 (of two recent box office duds: the action comedy Killers and the romantic comedy Life As We Know It).
Now, Nicolas Cage reportedly has money problems while earning $28 million in 2009?
Photos: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros.); Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (DreamWorks / Paramount); The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment).
Terrence Malick, 66, the director of Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), and The Thin Red Line (1998), is assembling the cast of his next film even though his latest effort, The Tree of Life, which features Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, hasn’t even been released, yet. That’s highly unusual, as Malick takes his time between projects. His last release to date was The New World in 2005.
Deadline Hollywood reports that Malick’s “romantic drama” is to star The Dark Knight‘s Christian Bale, who played opposite Colin Farrell in The New World, Academy Award winner Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko, the Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace.
Though hardly a blockbuster, The Thin Red Line became a major cinematic event because it was Malick’s first film in two decades. Stars were begging to be featured in the World War II drama, even if all they got to do was either look dirty or die on camera. Jim Caviezel had the biggest role; among the supporting players were Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, and Jared Leto.
Amber Heard, Anton Yelchin in Alpha Dog
Jesse James Hollywood, 30, was sentenced to life in prison Friday at a Santa Barbara courtroom. He was found guilty of orchestrating the kidnap-murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz in August 2000 because of a $1,200 drug debt owed by the victim’s half-brother. Hollywood’s was a high-profile case partly because of Nick Cassavetes’ 2007 movie Alpha Dog, which starred Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, and Emile Hirsch in the role of Johnny Truelove, a character based on Hollywood.
Defense attorney James Blatt said his client didn’t have a fair trial at least in part because Alpha Dog was released before the trial. According to various reports, four other defendants had already been convicted in the killing, which involved a group of affluent, teenage baseball players in the Los Angeles suburb of West Hills. The gunman was sentenced to death. Hollywood was arrested in Brazil in 2005.
In The Guardian, Philip French wrote about Alpha Dog: “Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis play guilty parents and the movie is supposed to invite acclaim as ‘a wake-up call to the American middle classes’. The button it presses on my set reads ‘snooze.'”
Also in the Alpha Dog cast: Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Harry Dean Stanton, and Anton Yelchin.
Here’s more on the Nicholas Markowitz murder case.
Photo: Universal Pictures
Robert Pattinson will not play Spider-Man, but fellow Twilight alumnus Taylor Lautner is set to star in Universal’s upcoming Stretch Armstrong. Lautner has been ridiculed for being too good-looking, too muscular, too sexy. But hey, it’s not the guy’s fault that he has all that going for him and his critics don’t. Lautner fans, I should add, will be able to see him flex (and stretch) his muscles in 3D. That’s the Avatar effect.
In the movie, Stretch Armstrong will come across a “stretching formula.” I’m not sure exactly why he takes the stuff – does he think it’s candy? Or beer maybe? – but stretch he does when fighting evildoers. No director has been set for Stretch Armstrong, but Brian Grazer will reportedly produce the film. The movie is scheduled to open in 2012.
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Charlie Sheen, 44, the star of the television sitcom Two and a Half Men and of Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning Vietnam War drama Platoon (1986), reportedly had his Mercedes stolen early Friday (Feb. 5). Strangely, the car was found overturned hundreds of feet into a ravine near Sheen’s Sherman Oaks home. According to police, there is no evidence anyone was in the car. The area was searched and infrared equipment was employed, but nobody was found in the area.
At about 4 a.m., Sheen had called police to report his car had been stolen. At about the same time, an emergency call came through from the car’s OnStar-style alert system that indicates problems with a vehicle. According to police, Sheen couldn’t have been in the car as it went down the ravine for he would have been badly injured in the accident and couldn’t have come back up the cliff.
On Christmas Day ’09, Sheen was arrested on a domestic violence charge in Aspen. He was accused of pinning his wife on a bed while holding a knife to her throat. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Monday. His wife, Brooke Sheen, says she wants to reconcile.
Among Charlie Sheen’s other film credits are Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987), Hot Shots! (1991), and The Three Musketeers (1993). Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, in which Sheen has a role, will hit theaters in April.
Jeff Margolis will executive produce the red carpet arrivals show “Countdown to the Oscars 2010” for the 2010 Academy Awards, Oscar ceremony producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic have announced. “Countdown to the Oscars” will air on ABC at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, right before the Oscar telecast.
According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ press release, “Margolis is an award-winning producer-director with three decades of experience in crafting more than 100 television events. For 12 years, he has executive produced the ‘Screen Actors Guild Awards,’ directing the show for the past four. Margolis has been nominated for eight Emmy® Awards, six for directing Academy Awards telecasts; he took the Emmy home in 1995 for his work on the 67th Academy Awards telecast. He also won Directors Guild Awards for helming the 62nd and 65th Academy Awards. His other credits include more than 20 ‘American Music Awards,’ ‘Academy of Country Music Awards,’ ‘Motown 45,’ ‘CBS… 50 Years from Television City,’ ‘Michael Jackson One Night Only,’ ‘Sammy Davis, Jr.’s 60th Anniversary Celebration,’ for which he won an Emmy as a co-producer, and ‘Richard Pryor Live in Concert.'”
The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the United States, it’ll be televised live by ABC.