Hugh Jackman heads an all-star cast of Hollywood big guns and new stars such as Rebel Wilson that’s storming back into the BRW Top 50 Entertainers list.
Hugh Jackman: $46.8 million
As one of the best paid movie stars in the world, Hugh Jackman comfortably tops our Top 50 entertainers list. The past year has been extra lucrative for Jackman, whose credits include blockbuster The Wolverine.
While the X-Men spin-off didn’t perform as well at the US box office as its maker, 21st Century Fox, was expecting, it easily covered its $US120 million production costs and brought in more than $US300 million in global sales.
Jackman had a support role in flop Movie 43 but Prisoners, which cost $US46 million, has already made a tidy profit. Has a lucrative sponsorship with German car maker Audi.
The Wiggles: $18.2 million
These popular children’s entertainers front a diversified money-making juggernaut. Television, live performance and merchandise are all lucrative sources of revenue and a 2012 annual report shows the company behind the group made $25 million in revenue last year, up from $23.9 million in 2011.
While recent line-up changes present a risk to earning potential, they provided sufficient justification for a global farewell tour, which ended in December 2012. Total audience for the tour was 640,000.
The Wiggles have been performing since 1991 and are regulars near the top of BRW’s Top Entertainers list.
Cate Blanchett: $17.2 million
Cate Blanchett has had a busy year. Aside from some low-budget films, she appears in the new Peter Jackson epic, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
It is set to be released in December and is the second film from the popular Tolkien trilogy; the first made about $US1 billion at box offices across the world.
She stars in The Monuments Men alongside Matt Damon and George Clooney, and signed a $US10 million deal in March to be the face of Giorgio Armani’s women’s fragrances.
Russell Crowe: $15.1 million
A perennial member of the Rich entertainers list, Russell Crowe has the title role in the yet-to-be-released movie Noah. There are high hopes for the $US130 million biblical drama.
He also played the biological father of Superman in this year’s Man of Steel. This film has brought in more than $US500 million and is credited with revitalising a tired Superman franchise.
Simon Baker: $10.1 million
Simon Baker is the highest-earning non-movie star on the Top Entertainers list. Since 2008, he has starred in US television series The Mentalist and makes about $500,000 an episode. He has also appeared in character in a string of television advertisements for the ANZ Bank.
Nicole Kidman: $8.6 million
It hasn’t been Kidman’s best year but she retains her status as genuine movie star. She appeared with fellow Australian Mia Wasikowska in Stoker but the film was more popular with critics than audiences. Also set to make a cameo in December’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Kidman has sponsorship deals with Omega watches and fronted a global campaign for Australian vitamin company Swisse.
Chris Hemsworth: $7.5 million
One to watch, Chris Hemsworth is quickly gaining popularity in Hollywood. He is best known for his role as Thor and appeared as the Nordic god in last year’s hit The Avengers, as well as this year’s Thor: The Dark World. Gaining a reputation as a bankable star and has the lead role in an upcoming Ron Howard film, In the Heart of the Sea.
Keith Urban: $6.8 million
Country singer and husband of Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban became a judge on American Idol last year and returns for the new season with new judges Harry Connick Jnr and Jennifer Lopez. He gets to $US5 million a season as an Idol judge. Urban’s own singing career gets more plaudits in the US than here. His eighth studio album, Fuse, was released in September.
Curtis Stone: $6.4 million
The TV chef is well known in the US, where he has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as hosting his own shows, including Top Chef Masters and new series Around the World in 80 Plates. He has a range of signature cookware and a sponsorship deal with Coles.
Miranda Kerr: $6.0 million
Our top-earning model, Miranda Kerr remains heavily in demand around the world despite her deals with Victoria’s Secret and David Jones ending recently. Has a skincare company, KORA Organics, and endorsement deals with Qantas and Gillette, among others.
$5.8 million Perennial earners AC/DC don’t do much these days but royalty payments from their bestselling albums and DVDs continue to reap the band’s founders millions of dollars. Their entire back catalogue became available for purchase on iTunes in November 2012 after previously shunning the popular digital store. The band, including brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, formed in 1973. A lack of concert revenue in the 2013 financial year pushes down their gross earnings.
$5.3 millionNaomi Wattshas been starring in big-budget movies since 2001’s critically acclaimed Mulholland Drive, but it is this year’s Diana that is perhaps her most controversial. Watts appears as the late Princess of Wales in Diana, which has been widely panned since its release in September and quickly became a box office flop. Has also starred in this year’s Adore and Sunlight Jr.
$5.1 million It’s been a relatively quiet year for Eric Bana, who has appeared in some small-budget films but he has not had a box office hit in the US since 2009’s Star Trek. That may change in December when he appears alongside Mark Wahlberg in big-budget war film Lone Survivor. Bana, who didn’t make this list last year, has an endorsement contract with Bvlgari.
The Australian Pink Floyd Show
$5.0 millionOne of the biggest tribute bands in the world, The Australian Pink Floyd Show have the rare distinction of selling more than 3 million tickets to their performances. They played about 120 shows in the 2013 financial year, mainly in Europe. They started playing in Adelaide in 1988.
$4.3 million In January, Human Nature won a lucrative two-year residency at Las Vegas casino, The Venetian. The four singers in the group perform five nights a week but return to Australia for a short series of Christmas shows in December.
$4.2 million Guy Pearce had a prominent role in blockbuster Iron Man 3 this year, a film that cost $US200 million to make and booked a profit of $US1 billion. Pearce also stars in Australian film The Rover, in which he appears alongside the star of the Twilight vampire series, Robert Pattinson. The film cost $12 million to make, which is expensive by local standards.
$4.0 millionThe Alan Jones Breakfast Show remains a staple for many Sydneysiders. Jones has been hosting the show on 2GB since 2002. Performed as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a theatre production of Annie last year.
Hamish & Andy
$4.0 million Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have been performing together since 2003 and won mass following on radio and television. Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year remains popular with Channel 9 audiences and the pair retain a lucrative presence on the Today Network, despite having cut back on radio in 2011.
$3.8 million One of the hardest-working people in the industry, Eddie McGuire hosts a Triple M breakfast radio show and hit Channel 9 show Millionaire Hot Seat. The long-serving Collingwood Football Club president also fronted Channel 9’s 2012 Olympics coverage.
$3.5 million Alex O’Loughlin stars in a remake of the classic 1960s and 1970s drama Hawaii Five-0. A fourth season will premier in the US in September. O’Loughlin grew up in Canberra and was previously in a relationship with singer Holly Valance.
$3.4 million It has been four years since Sam Worthington appeared in Avatar, the first movie to make more than $US2 billion. He has made other films since then but recent efforts have been modest performers at the box office. Starred in Wrath of The Titans last year and is rumoured to be starring in another sequel, Avatar 2, to be released in 2016.
$3.0 million Former Miss Universe, model Jennifer Hawkins makes most of her money from sponsorship deals rather than on catwalks. Her endorsement contracts include deals with Bioglan, Myer, Lovable Lingerie, Mount Franklin, Redwin Skincare and Range Rover. Host of Australia’s Next Top Model.
$3.0 million One of Sydney’s top shock jocks, Ray Hadley re-signed with the Macquarie Radio Network in 2010 in a multi-year deal worth more than $20 million. Has also appeared as a commentator in Channel 9’s coverage of National Rugby League matches.
$2.8 million Continues to appear in local movies but his role in The Hobbit trilogy provides most of his earnings. Weaving has been making movies since 1980 and credits include 1999 hit The Matrix. Also popular as a voice actor and has a recurring gig in the big-budget Transformers series.
$2.2 million Popular children’s entertainers Hi-5 have had several line-up changes since debuting on Australian television screens in 1999. Less global appeal than category juggernauts The Wiggles.
$2.0 million Portia de Rossi is perhaps best known as the wife of US talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres but is a higher earner in her own right. She made up to $US125,000 an episode for the fourth series of US TV show Arrested Development and was in a pilot for a The Munsters remake last year.
$2.0 million Gotye is the stage name of Melbourne singer-songwriter Wally De Backer, the man behind the global hit Somebody That I Used to Know. More recently, De Backer has been concentrating on writing a follow-up album, after touring extensively in 2012.
$2.0 million The former singer has carved a lucrative niche as a judge on talent shows. She has joined the cast of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model and appeared on X Factor in the UK and Australia. Sponsorship deals with Etihad Airways and ModelCo Fibre Lash.
$1.9 million It has been a breakout year for Adelaide Clemens, who had a main role in this year’s Baz Luhrmann drama The Great Gatsby. Also appears in new TV series Rectify. Now established in the US, Clemens has lead roles in another three movies already in production.
Kyle and Jackie O
$1.9 million The radio pairing of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O is never far from controversy, and there are rumours of a possible move from the Today Network to DMG Radio Group. Sandilands is also a judge on Australia’s Got Talent.
$1.7 million The Body may be about to turn 50 but that doesn’t seem prevent her from earning large amounts of money. She is host and executive producer of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model and has a deal with Bendon Apparel to market a lingerie line. Other deals are with retailer Boots UK and Invisible Zinc.
$1.6 million A well-established actor on US television, Jesse Spencer is best known for his role as a young doctor on House between 2004 and 2012. Since then he has been starring in another American TV show, Chicago Fire. Another former Neighbours actor.
$1.5 million Kate Morton has the enviable title of Australia’s bestselling author since Colleen McCullough. Total sales of her books, including The Shifting Fog and The Secret Club, are nearing 20 million copies.
$1.5 million Hard-working Radha Mitchell qualifies for the list after appearing in up to nine TV shows and films over the past two years. Most are relatively low-budget movies but she also starred in this year’s US TV drama Red Widow, which was cancelled at the end of its first season.
$1.5 million His television show MasterChef is no longer setting ratings records but celebrity chef George Calombaris remains in demand. Apart from co-hosting MasterChef, he also co-owns a string of successful restaurants.
$1.4 million Yvonne Strahovski spent six years in a lead role in US TV series Chuck before getting a recurring credit in the hit series Dexter. She is one of the few Australian-born, American TV actors not to start her career in Neighbours or Home & Away. Has a lead role in yet-to-be-released movie I, Frankenstein.
Australia’s Thunder from Down Under
$1.4 million Their promotional material says Australia’s Thunder from Down Under has “served over 10 million women over the past 22 years”. Also known as Manpower, they are a group of male strippers and have a residency at Las Vegas casino Excalibur, where they put on seven shows a week for 48 weeks a year.
$1.4 million Ryan Kwanten continues to appear in several low or mid-size budget films but it is his starring role in US TV show True Blood that provides most of his salary. Kwanten has appeared in the vampire series since it began in 2008. He also appears alongside Sylvester Stallone in Reach Me, which is set for release next year.
$1.2 million After appearing in big US action film Sucker Punch in 2011, Abbie Cornish will appear in another science fiction film, RoboCop, next year. She plays RoboCop’s wife in the remake of the popular 1987 film.
$1.1 million Josh Lawson stars in US TV series House of Lies and has a small role in upcoming Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In 2012, he was in another Will Ferrell movie, The Campaign.
$1.1 million Toni Collette’s latest role is as a doctor in US TV series Hostages. Appeared in last year’s Hitchcock alongside Anthony Hopkins. Grew up in western Sydney and rose to prominence in 1994’s Muriel’s Wedding.
$1.1 million Former journalist David Koch has made one of the most successful transitions to breakfast TV of all time. He is credited with breaking rival Channel 9’s stranglehold on the slot after being appointed as co-host of Sunrise on Channel 7 in 2002. Koch has one of the best salaries in Australian TV, despite Sunrise’s non-prime time slot.
$1.1 million UK-based Singer Peter Andre played 31 shows across Britain between November and January last year. He has been in high demand as a reality TV star since his marriage to glamour model Katie Price and recently began hosting lifestyle show Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover.
$1.1 million It’s not often that Kylie Minogue plays second fiddle to her younger sister Dannii. For three decades, Kylie has been the Minogue family’s biggest star but she falls below her sister on the Top Entertainers this year, after a relatively quiet year. Her salary will rise next year when she appears on The Voice UK.
$1.0 million Delta Goodrem makes much less than the multimillion salaries of her fellow judges on TV show The Voice but her deal still helps her make the Top Entertainers list this year. Released an album, Dancing with a Broken Heart, in the past financial year.
The Temper Trap
$1.0 millionExtensive touring throughout the 2013 financial year wins The Temper Trap a place on the Top Entertainers this year. They played about 70 shows across Europe, the US and Australia. Their music has been used in TV advertisements for Chrysler and Diet Coke, and they won best group at the 2012 ARIA Music Awards.
$1.0 million Jai Courtney appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the most recent Die Hard film, A Good Day to Die Hard. He is also set to reprise his role in another rumoured sequel. Also appeared in Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher.
$1.0 million Breakfast host Ross Stevenson remains one of the big earners in Australian radio. He co-hosts 3AW’s breakfast show with John Burns. A former lawyer, Stevenson has been employed by 3AW since 1990.
$1.0 million Liam Hemsworth is likely to make the Top Entertainers role for several more years after securing a key role in The Hunger Games series of movies, the first of which was released last year. Brother of Chris Hemsworth, Liam is perhaps best known for his former relationship with Miley Cyrus.
$1.0 million It’s been a breakout year for Rebel Wilson, who has built one of the biggest profiles of the many Australian actors in Hollywood. She has appeared in movies Pitch Perfect and Pain & Gain. More recently, her American TV show Super Fun Night has premiered to mixed reviews. Lost an endorsement deal with Jenny Craig this year.
All figures are gross earnings for the year to June 30 2013.