correction appended

A definition: this list is limited to creative figures—stars, directors, producers—and to the money they earn from film. Thus we include no executives or agents, and we don’t count earnings from non-film-related projects, such as Steve Carell’s fees for starring on The Office or Jennifer Aniston’s for appearing in SmartWater ads. We did our best to ascertain a star’s up-front advance for a given film as well as his or her share of the movie’s profits, assuming there were any. (Often, the lion’s share of fees for a 2010 release may have actually been paid in 2009 and thus is not counted in this year’s list.) Worldwide box-office figures were culled from the Web sites Box Office Mojo and Box Office Guru. Revenue figures from DVD sales—for the first three quarters of 2010 anyway—were supplied by Screen Digest; we devised our own revenue estimates for fourth-quarter DVD sales by applying a conservative formula based on a movie’s performance at the box office.

While nine-figure windfalls such as James Cameron’s and Johnny Depp’s are still rare, Hollywood’s post-crash aversion to $20 million paydays and gross-point deals seems to be easing. The fact that a mid-range star such as Vince Vaughn asked for—and got close to—$20 million to appear in The Dilemma proves that the big studios are once again hungering to shell out Goldman-like bonuses for (somewhat) proven commodities. As one studio executive put it, “We’re not trying to commit felonies here, just a few misdemeanors.”

40. Eddie Murphy
ACTOR (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $13 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$7.5 million: Tower Heist (fee for co-starring in action comedy with Ben Stiller)
$4 million: Shrek Forever After (back-end bonus)
$1.5 million: Older film revenue

39. Guy Ritchie
DIRECTOR (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $13.5 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$7.5 million: Fee for directing untitled Sherlock Holmes sequel
$6 million: Sherlock Holmes (back-end for directing, based on worldwide gross of $523 million, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)

38. Shawn Levy
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $14 MILLION (2009 rank: 26)
$10 million: Real Steel (fee for directing and producing upcoming robotic action film starring Hugh Jackman)
$4 million: Older film revenue, mostly from the Night at the Museum franchise

37. Hugh Jackman
ACTOR (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $14 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$9 million: Real Steel (fee for starring in upcoming Shawn Levy movie)
$2 million: Butter (fee for starring in upcoming Weinstein Co. film)
$1.5 million: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (fee for starring in small art-house film)
$1.5 million: Older film revenue

36. Reese Witherspoon
ACTRESS (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $14.5 MILLION (2009 rank: 31)
$12 million: This Means War (fee for starring in upcoming romantic comedy directed by McG)
$2 million: Water for Elephants (fee for co-starring in upcoming drama with Robert Pattinson)
$500,000: Older film revenue

35. Tom Cruise
ACTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $14.5 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$12.5 million: Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (fee for writing, producing, and starring in upcoming fourth M.I. movie)
$2 million: Older film revenue

34. Shia LaBeouf
ACTOR (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $16 MILLION (2009 rank: 39)
$15 million: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (fee for starring in Michael Bay’s upcoming, third Transformers movie)
$1 million: Older film revenue

33. Katherine Heigl
ACTRESS, PRODUCER (Paradigm)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $16 MILLION (2009 rank: 25)
$15 million: One for the Money (fee for producing and starring in upcoming romantic cop comedy)
$1 million: Older film revenue

32. Martin Scorsese
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $17 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$10 million: Hugo Cabret (fee for directing and producing upcoming 3-D adventure film starring Sacha Baron Cohen)
$3.5 million: Shutter Island (back-end for directing and producing, based on worldwide gross of $295 million, and share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)
$3.5 million: Older film revenue

31. Steve Carell
ACTOR, PRODUCER (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $17.5 MILLION (2009 rank: 22)
$15 million: Crazy, Stupid, Love (fee for starring in and producing upcoming romantic comedy)
$2.5 million: Older film revenue

30. Ben Stiller
ACTOR, PRODUCER (WME)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $18 MILLION (2009 rank: 7)
$15 million: Tower Heist (fee for starring in upcoming action comedy)
$1 million: The Big Year (fee for producing upcoming Owen Wilson comedy)
$2 million: Older film revenue

29. Vin Diesel
ACTOR, PRODUCER (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $18 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$15 million: Fast Five (fee for producing and starring in upcoming The Fast and the Furious fivequel)
$3 million: Older film revenue

28. Daniel Craig
ACTOR (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $18 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$6 million: Cowboys & Aliens (fee for starring in upcoming Jon Favreau spoof)
$6 million: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (fee for starring in upcoming first installment of inevitable suspense franchise)
$5 million: Dream House (fee for starring in upcoming crime thriller with Naomi Watts)
$1 million: Older film revenue

27. Vince Vaughn
ACTOR (CAA)
ESTIMATED 2010 EARNINGS: $18.5 MILLION (2009 rank: —)
$17.5 million: The Dilemma (fee for starring)
$1 million: Older film revenue