We all want to be rich. For some, the road to riches is paved in gold, while others may have a bumpier road ahead. Either way, becoming a millionaire takes time and hard work. So how do you get there?
Let’s look at some successful people who made their fortunes in various fields, including those who succeeded in the movie business. We’ll see what it takes to become a millionaire and learn how they did it!
1. Zhang Yimou
And now, you’re probably less familiar with Zhang Yimou’s name. Zhang is a Chinese film director, producer, writer, actor, and former cinematographer. He directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2008 he won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for his movie “Hero,” which starred Jet Li.
He is estimated to have made $30 million during this time (including all of his films). He is one of the richest movie directors in the world.
2. Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone was born on September 15, 1946. He is a director, screenwriter, and producer. He has directed films such as JFK (1991), Natural Born Killers (1994), and W. (2008). He also wrote the screenplay for Midnight Express (1978).
Oliver Stone served in Vietnam for five years as a combat medic before being discharged from the army with a drug addiction problem.
After leaving the military, he enrolled at New York University but dropped out after two years because he felt there was nothing more to learn from his professors; he later said, “They didn’t know anything.”
Stone went on to write scripts for pornographic films before becoming an assistant director on Midnight Cowboy (1969).
His first major directorial break came when Francis Ford Coppola hired him as a second unit director for Apocalypse Now! (1979), which led him to direct The Hand (1981).
Oliver is also one of the richest movie directors in the world on our list.
3. Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, playwright, and author. He has won four Academy Awards and nine British Academy Film Awards.
He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1966 for his What’s Up, Tiger Lily screenplay?
Allen won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay in 1978 for Annie Hall and again in 1986 for Hannah and Her Sisters, worth around $80 million. He was picked as one of the richest movie directors in the world.
4. Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow is an American filmmaker, actor, and comedian. He is best known for his work in comedy films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People.
For his directorial debut on the 2007 film Superbad he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Apatow has also directed numerous episodes of popular TV series such as Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks. He has also produced many television series, including Undeclared, Big Love, Crashing, and Girls.
In addition to directing films and TV shows, Judd Apatow has also been involved with music production since 1999, when he wrote the song “My Baby’s Got A Crush On Us,” which was performed by Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live.
In 2005 he won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album with his album “The Adventures Of Pete And Pete: My Secret Life As An Undercover Brother,” which featured music from his show Pete & Pete (1993).
He teamed up again with Fallon in 2016 to produce another album entitled SNL: Weekend Update Thursday, featuring skits from their time together on SNL. Worth around $100 million. Judd is one of the richest movie directors in the world today.
5. Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner is an actor, comedian, and director born in the Bronx, New York. He’s one of the richest movie directors in the world and best known for his work on TV shows like All in The Family, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Golden Girls.
In the movie, he directed hits such as Stand By Me (1986), When Harry Met Sally… (1989), Misery (1990), and A Few Good Men (1992).
Rob Reiner was born on March 6th, 1947, to actors Carl Reiner and Estelle Reiner. He has two older siblings who are also actors: Ellen (born 1944) and Fred (1947-2012).
As a child, he made appearances on his father’s television show, Your Show of Shows, leading him to become interested in acting.
6. Martin Scorsese
- Net worth: $400 million
- Age: 75
- Bio: Martin Scorsese is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He has directed several movies, including “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas.” He has won several Oscars for his work on films like “Raging Bull” and “The Departed.”
Martin is also one of the richest movie directors in the world today, according to forbes.com.
7. Irwin Winkler
Irwin Winkler is a film producer with some of the most iconic films. He’s one of the richest movie directors in the world and best known for producing Rocky, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas films.
These three movies have won Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. They’ve also won several Emmy and Grammy Awards between them too!
Irwin Winkler was born in New York City in 1936 to a Jewish family. He studied at New York University’s Stern School of Business before going into film production full-time in 1963 after working as a publicist for Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios.
His break came when he became an assistant director on Robert Rossen’s 1964 adaptation of Fiddler On The Roof; this led him to become an associate producer on productions such as The Sand Pebbles (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), and Big Jake (1971).
After establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s most respected producers during this period, Irwin Winkler began working with Martin Scorsese on Mean Streets; this led him into more collaborations with Mr. Scorsese, including Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas(1990), and Casino(1995).
These collaborations saw Mr. Winkler awarded Oscars®; Golden Globes®and BAFTAs®to go alongside his Emmy®and Grammy®wins.
8. Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is known for his films Reservoir Dogs (1992), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (2003–2004), Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012), and The Hateful Eight.
In addition to being a successful director, Quentin Tarantino has acted in some of his movies, such as Pulp Fiction, where he played Jimmie Dimmick, or From Dusk till Dawn, where he played Richie Gecko.
Quentin Tarantino is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of $70 million.
9. Coen Brothers
Joel and Ethan Coen were born in 1954 and 1957, respectively. Both are among the richest movie directors in the world and were nominated for Best Director for Fargo (Joel won) and No Country for Old Men (Ethan won).
The brothers have been nominated 14 times at the Oscars, winning four times: best picture for No Country for Old Men, best director for No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski, adapted screenplay for A Serious Man, and original screenplay (with Raising Arizona).
10. Gore Verbinski
Gore Verbinski is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and musician. He is one of the richest movie directors in the world and is best known for directing the first three films of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.
Verbinski won a Grammy Award for The Raconteurs’ cover of “Steady as She Goes” in 2008. His father was an animator at Walt Disney Studios.
His maternal grandfather’s family was from England and Wales (specifically Swansea), and his maternal grandmother’s family was from Nova Scotia on her mother’s side and Pennsylvania on her father’s side.
Verbinski attended Palisades High School, where he excelled in creative writing classes, graduating in 1985.
After high school, he went to California State University Northridge, where he majored in English Literature/Creative Writing while getting his start as a screenwriter working with Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction).
Later they both worked together on various projects, including 1994’s Pulp Fiction; 1995’s Get Shorty; 1996’s Dead Man Walking; 2000’s Blow; 2005’s Domino; 2007-2008 Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit; 2010 Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief among others.
11. Tim Burton
Tim Burton is an American film director, producer, writer, and artist. He is one of the world’s richest movie directors.
His films are known for their gothic settings and often feature many of the same actors in recurring roles.
Some of his most famous films include Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman (1989), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Ed Wood (1994), and Big Fish (2003).
He has earned two Academy Awards: one in 1989 for best animated short film; another in 1991 for best live-action short film.
12. Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie is best known as a film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has been considered one of the most influential figures in British cinema since 1995, when he released his first feature film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Since then, he’s also directed Snatch (2000), RocknRolla (2008), and Revolver (2005).
His latest movie is Man From U.N.C.L.E., which will hit theaters this year and stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.
They are caught up in an international conspiracy involving Americans attempting to steal Russian nuclear weapons technology during the height of the Cold War in 1965.
Ritchie has been married twice: first to actress Madonna from 2000 until 2008; second to Jacqui Ainsley from 2010 until 2013 (they have two daughters together). Net Worth around $170 million.
13. Ron Howard
Ron Howard, an American filmmaker, actor, and producer, has a net worth of $700 million. In a career spanning more than five decades, he has directed many successful films, including Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Apollo 13 (1995), and A Beautiful Mind (2001).
He first became an actor in the 1960s, playing Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. In 1970 he would join the Happy Days cast as Richie Cunningham until 1974, when he directed his first feature film: Grand Theft Auto.
He directed numerous other films, including Ladybugs with Rodney Dangerfield, Parenthood with Tom Hanks, Backdraft with Kurt Russell, A Simple Plan with Bill Paxton, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
Starring Jim Carrey; EdTV featuring Matthew McConaughey and Mary Steenburgen; October Sky about rocketry enthusiast Homer Hickam Jr.; directing himself in Ed Burns’ directorial debut Sidewalks Of New York; The Missing starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett & Jack Thompson, which won Best Foreign Language Film at Cannes 2001; Frost/Nixon about former President Nixon’s interviews conducted shortly after his resignation from office by British TV personality David Frost for British Broadcasting Corporation Television’s Horizon series – these four episodes were later combined into one movie which won three Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture Made For TV Drama/Comedy Of 2008 And Two Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries Movie Or A Special & Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie For Frank Langella As Richard Nixon. Worth around $170 million.
14. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan is one of the highest-grossing movie directors of the 21st century, but his storytelling, not his box-office numbers, makes him unique.
He’s known for his atmospheric and highly psychological stories that often tell the tale from multiple points of view.
Nolan’s films are also known for their secretive plots; he often keeps information about upcoming movies under wraps until their release dates.
Nolan loves to experiment with new technology to create more immersive movie experiences for audiences—including using IMAX cameras to shoot scenes in Dunkirk and Interstellar (the latter won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects) as well as using 3D sound recording equipment during post-production on Inception (it won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing).
He is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of around $370 million.
15. Roland Emmerich
Roland Emmerich is a German film director, producer, and screenwriter. He’s known for his disaster films, which include The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and 2012 (2009).
His other notable films include Independence Day (1996), Stargate (1994), Godzilla (1998), and White House Down (2013). Worth around $400 million.
16. Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is the son of Italo-American filmmaker Carmine Coppola, who co-wrote and directed The Rain People.
Francis got his start in the industry as a sound man for Roger Corman’s studio, working on films like Death Race 2000 and The Big Doll House.
Francis made his directorial debut with Dementia 13 in 1963. He followed this up with The Rain People in 1969, which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and garnered attention from Hollywood producers looking for new talent to take over their projects after the departure of director George Lucas from American Graffiti.
After making two more movies back-to-back—You’re a Big Boy Now (1967) and Finian’s Rainbow (1968)—Paramount Pictures CEO Robert Evans approached Francis about directing a film adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather that Puzo himself wasn’t sure he wanted to make into a movie until he met with Coppola and his wife Eleanor during lunch one day at Chasen’s restaurant.
Francis is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of around $400 million.
17. Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott is a British film director and producer. He directed the science fiction horror film Alien (1979), the crime thriller Thelma & Louise (1991), and the epic historical drama Gladiator (2000).
For his work on Thelma & Louise, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and earned his first Academy Award nomination and two BAFTA nominations.
In 1997, along with other filmmakers, including James Cameron, Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese, he formed the Directors Guild of America.
In 1991, Scott became an American citizen after having lived in London since 1968. Ridley Scott is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of around $450 million.
18. Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson is a New Zealand film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong.
His films include Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, Braindead and Heavenly Creatures.
In 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury for his contributions to filmmaking in New Zealand.
Peter is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of around $500 million.
19. Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is a playwright, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for creating and producing the Madea film series.
Perry began his career as a stage actor and playwright before moving to Hollywood to pursue filmmaking.
His first play was The Friendship in 2001; he wrote and directed several more plays, including I Know I’ve Been Changed (2002) and Why Did I Get Married? (2007) and Madea’s Big Happy Family (2010).
Perry wrote, directed, and produced all three films in the Diary of a Mad Black Woman trilogy from 2005 to 2009.
He also produced For Colored Girls (2010), Broken Bridges (2006), and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). Net Worth around $600 million.
20. James Cameron
James Cameron has been a director on the rise since 1981, when he directed The Terminator. He is best known for his science fiction films, which include Avatar, Titanic, and The Abyss.
He has also explored the deep sea with his brand of a submarine called Deepsea Challenger.
His net worth is estimated to be $700 million, and he supports philanthropic causes such as ocean conservation.
He has made several documentaries about deep-sea exploration and marine biology, including Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005).
His next project will be Avatar 2, which is scheduled for release in 2020 or 2021, depending on whether or not we hit another ice age before then!
21. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He has won three Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture and five other nominations. Spielberg directed classic films such as Jaws (1975), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler’s List (1993), and Saving Private Ryan (1998). He is one of many movie directors who have been dubbed “the movie maker” due to his influence on film history.
In 2011 Spielberg founded DreamWorks Studios with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen; it has produced several successful films, including American Beauty (1999), Gladiator(2000), and Shrek 2(2004), and Kung Fu Panda 2(2011). He is one of the richest movie directors in the world and has a net worth of around $4.6 billion.
22. George Lucas
According to Forbes, George Lucas has a net worth of $5.2 billion and is the founder of Lucasfilm. He is one of the world’s richest movie directors and the creator of the Star Wars franchise, which was released in 1977 and became an instant hit with fans worldwide. After selling his company to Disney for $4 billion in 2012, he continued working with them as a creative consultant for several years before leaving in 2016.
In addition to founding THX, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Skywalker Sound—all production companies that work on various films—he founded Lucas Digital Ltd., a technology company specializing in digital entertainment content management systems used by filmmakers around the world.
The movie directors on this list are not only some of the most successful, acclaimed, and beloved filmmakers of all time but also some of the richest. While there is no denying that talent will always be what brings in the big bucks, there are certain movie directors who just know how to make a buck or two.
Whether it’s their ability to create lasting franchises like “Star Wars” or “The Lord of the Rings,” or if it’s because they have made blockbuster movies that have gone on to be huge commercial successes like “Titanic” and “The Avengers,” these men (and one woman) have made an art out of getting paid.
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