JJ Abrams may or may not have been ‘snubbed’ by the Academy for his work on the 2009 Star Trek movie, but one thing is for sure, the man was paid. According to a new report in Vanity Fair, the producer/director is now on Hollywood’s Top 10 list of moneymakers for his ‘back end’ profits from Star Trek.
Show JJ the Star Trek money
The 2009 Star Trek movie grossed $385 million in box office, plus a big chunk more in DVD, home sales and merchandising. It was a big success for Paramount who had the goal of bringing back a franchise that used to be one of their more important assets, but hadn’t been paying off in recent years. The job of Trek’s revival was given to JJ Abrams, and the payoff has landed him on Vanity Fair’s new Hollywood 40 list, ranked at #9. According to the report (which just covers earnings from feature films and not TV), Abrams earned a total of $36 million in 2009 from Paramount, $31 million of which was "back end" payoffs from his share of the Star Trek take. And that would not count money he was paid in advance to produce and direct the film.
Abrams with his bosses Viacom majority shareholder Sumner Redstone and Paramount CEO Brad Grey at the April 2009 "Star Trek" premiere in Hollywood
Of course big payouts are nothing new to Star Trek. Abrams predecessor Rick Berman has earned many many millions of dollars for his years as a producer on various Star Trek TV series and movies, as had Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry before him. And of course the big stars of Trek, especially William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart have taken home big Trek paydays.
JJ Abrams isn’t the only Trek-connected mogul on the new Vanity Fair list. Tyler Perry, who had a small part in the 2009 Star Trek film, is ranked 11th on the list with estimated earning of $32.5 million. Also in the top 10 are a couple of avowed Trekkies, Tom Hanks and Ben Stiller. The biggest earner of the year is producer/director Michael Bay, who raked in the cash for Transformers 2, written by Star Trek’s Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Here is a summary of the top 10 on the Vanity Fair Hollywood 40
|Rank||Mogul (biggest 2009 payout)||Est. 2009 Film Earnings ($ mil)|
|1||Michael Bay (producer/director Transformers 2)||$125|
|2||Steven Spielberg (Universal theme parks)||$85|
|3||Roland Emmerich (producer/director 2012)||$70|
|4||James Cameron (producer/director Avatar)||$50|
|5||Todd Phillips (producer/director The Hangover)||$44|
|6||Daniel Radcliffe (starring fee for Harry Potter 7 & 8)||$41|
|7||Ben Stiller (starring fee for Little Fockers)||$40|
|8||Tom Hanks (back end Angels & Demons)||$36|
|9||J.J. Abrams (producer/director Star Trek)||$36|
|10||Jerry Bruckheimer (producer Sorcerer’s Apprentice)||$35.5|
Go to Vanity Fair for the full list and more details.