Young Hollywood's Top-Earning Stars
Forbes staff 02.26.07, 6:00 AM ET
If the tabloids are to be believed, Hollywood's young stars are in big trouble. Each day brings new tales--and the pictures to prove it--of junior VIPs, bereft of adult supervision, engaged in drinking, hard-partying, and the kind of sexual exploits typically reserved for pay-per-view.
But the salacious scenes of Britney, Paris and Nicole are overshadowing the other story in entertainment, that of the growing cadre of soon-to-be superstars, the most talented, aggressive and well-compensated group of showbiz kids in Hollywood history.
Forbes' Young Hollywood's Top-Earning Stars is an exclusive list of the entertainment industry's most sought-after talent under 21 years of age. While a few--most notably Lindsay Lohan--are well known, most of these names aren't. Commit them to memory--these are mega-careers in the making.
The premier seat belongs to 20-year-old hipster twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, former child stars of the hit ABC sitcom Full House. Though the duo don't much act anymore--Mary-Kate makes a brief cameo in the recent Warhol flick Factory Girl--they nonetheless pocketed a combined $40 million last year thanks to their enormous following of "tween" fans, the market of kids ages 8 to 12, who snap up Olsen-branded tchochkes from their retail empire, Dualstar. (Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT - news - people ) is among Dualstar's biggest customers.)
Even as young adults, the twiggy twins hold enormous sway over their fans. Their so-called "homeless chic" of leggings and shapeless shirts has become the de rigeur uniform of mall chicks everywhere.
In addition to earning adult salaries, today's highest-paid showbiz kids also court adult controversy. Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, 17, who earned an estimated $13 million last year for his lead role in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, ditches the wizard's cloak and trademark scarf this spring to appear onstage--in the buff--in the London revival of "Equus."
Lohan is third on the list, despite having scaled back her film commitments due to her recent stint in rehab. Recall that the club-going star was publicly reprimanded by the Georgia Rule studio boss for her on- and off-set antics. Even still, Lohan remains in strong demand, and is currently filming I Know Who Killed Me, a thriller distributed by Tristar Pictures, a division of Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people ).
And 13-year-old Dakota Fanning, who lands at No. 4 with $4 million, inspired her first media maelstrom (how quickly they grow up!) for her sexually provocative starring role in Hounddog--her character gets raped--an independent film that premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Actress Abigail Breslin, 10, is the youngest star on this list, having upstaged her costars in last year's indie hit Little Miss Sunshine with her onstage shimmy to Rick James' "Superfreak." The role nabbed her a Best Supporting Oscar nomination, pitting her against career veteran Cate Blanchett and hot newcomer Jennifer Hudson of Dreamgirls. Check out Breslin in the latest Hewlett-Packard ads, as well as the upcoming Catherine Zeta Jones flick No Reservations.
Also landing on the list is Vanessa Anne Hudgens, the co-star of Disney's insanely popular made for television movie, High School Musical. The Musical soundtrack was the best-selling album last year, according to Billboard.com, selling just under 4 million units and trumping even Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds. Hudgens is already at work on the sequel.
METHODOLOGY: Forbes analyzed box office receipts, album sales, tour grosses, TV ratings and other metrics to hone the list; earnings figures are best estimates for the full year 2006, based on information from industry experts. These are conservative gross figures--no deductions for taxes or management fees have been taken. Only stars under 21 were considered. Discretion was taken, based on recommendations from industry experts, in determining which of these showbiz kids boast the strongest shot at long term superstardom.
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