We looked at what many top film directors earned last year to get an idea. Our calculations are based on an estimate of about $100,000 for each of the world’s most popular film directors ($250,000 for a top grossing) plus a few million for working on independent films. So, for a typical film director, it’s a really good idea to be earning between $75,000 and $100,000 annually, with a solid chance of getting out of the game between $85,000 and $150,000.
The 10 Highest-Grossing Directors, 2015
The average director’s salary in 2015 was an incredible $2,890,000, up 10% from $2,775,000, according to the Screen Actors Guild data. Among the top 10, the salaries ranged from just shy of $1 million for one director to more than a million each for an average of three directors. If we combine directors of both domestic and foreign films, the list looks like a rather balanced list. But to make a longer list, please see our ranking chart below.
The Top 10 Highest-Grossing Independent Directors, 2015
And here are the 10 highest-grossing international directors.
The top 10 Highest-Grossing Directors, International 2015
Of course there’s a lot of variation in how many directors a filmmaker has in his or her team. But, as long as the total amount of money in the coffers is similar between these figures, the number of directors on the list should fairly speak for itself. And while the average director only made $2,775,000, many have gotten quite a bit of money by selling their own films. Check out the list below for the top 10 highest-earning foreign directors.
The Top 10 Highest-Grossing Foreign Directors, International 2015
The highest-grossing filmmakers, on average, worked on a global scale, which meant that their films made roughly the same money outside of the US as in. This is something that the US tax code should be doing a better job of providing, as the US as an economy is heavily taxed. It’s important to remember that we’re only counting “foreign profits” from a filmmaker’s own movies and not profits from international deals.
To put this in perspective, there were only about 2,300 film and television directors around the world in 2015. A global scale of filmmaking is a small one by any definition. So, what
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