Jessica Gardner Reporter

Jessica covers Australia's technology start-up scene, writing on breaking news and trends in entrepreneurialism, media and marketing. She was previously named Australia's best New IT Journalist for 2011.

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Top of the pops

Published 30 November 2010 13:28, Updated 23 December 2010 05:17

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Rockers AC/DC have been replaced by dinosaurs of another kind as the highest paid entertainers on the BRW Top 50 Entertainers list, out in BRW today.

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Global Creatures, the production company behind the global hit, Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular, roared into the top spot with revenue of $140 million in 2009-10. Walking With Dinosaurs premiered in 2007, has grossed $350 million in ticket sales and has been seen by an audience of 6.6 million since then. The show uses animatronics to bring prehistoric times to life. Massive dinosaurs, one four storeys high, stomp and chomp their way around arenas. They are based on go-kart chassis and are controlled by virtual puppeteers with remote controls sending electronic signals to the joints of the huge creatures. Global Creatures’ number one spot tops off a great year for businessman Gerry Ryan, the firm’s majority owner. Ryan, who is the founder and managing director of Jayco Caravans, also won the Melbourne Cup as part owner of Americain.

The rest of the top 10 didn’t throw up too many surprises, with Hollywood exports and children’s entertainers still earning big bucks. To find out who else made the list, pick up a copy of BRW, out December 2.

BRW TOP ENTERTAINERS: TOP 10

RankNameCategoryEarnings 2009-10 ($m)Earnings 2008-09 ($m) (rank)
1 Global Creatures Live production, animatronics 140.0 DEBUT
2 AC/DC Music group 131.4 105.0 (1)
3 The Wiggles Children’s entertainers 33.5 45.0 (3)
4 Hugh Jackman Actor 21.5 16.0 (7)
5 Keith Urban Musician 20.0 20.0 (5)
6 Paul Dainty Promoter 15.0 3.3 (31)
7 Naomi Watts Actor 11.9 7.0 (15)
8 Cate Blanchett Actor 10.8 15.0 (8)
9 Hi-5 Children’s entertainers 9.7 18.0 (6)
10 Nicole Kidman Actor 9.6 11.0 (9)

Source: BRW

LOCOMOTION DERAILS

Pop diva Kylie Minogue crashed the furthest of the top entertainers this year from second place with $47 million in 2009 to 26th place with $4.9 million but still above sister Dannii whose gigs as a presenter on the British version of the X Factor and Australia’s Got Talent contributed to her earnings of $2.8 million. In 2009, Kylie Minogue completed a 49-stop world tour, whereas apart from a few television appearances, she has been quiet this year. She released her 11th album, Aphrodite, in July, so should move back up the ranks again in 2011.

DEBUTS

After Global Creatures’ spectacular debut in first place, Chris Hemsworth was the next highest newbie, in 23rd spot. BRW readers should ask their teenage daughters to explain who he is. The former Home and Away heart-throb continues a tradition of young Aussie talent doing well in Hollywood. He earned $5.1 million for his parts in Hollywood blockbusters Thor and Red Dawn. His younger brother, Liam, is also making a name for himself in Hollywood for dating teen starlet Miley Cyrus and taking roles in films such as Arabian Nights and The Last Song but did not make BRW Top 50 Entertainers cut off.

MISSING PERSONS UNIT

Actor Anthony LaPaglia fell off the list, from earnings of $10 million in 2009, after the US crime series Without a Trace, in which he played FBI agent Jack Malone, was cancelled after seven seasons. The series’ cancellation also accounted for LaPaglia’s co-star, Poppy Montgomery, who made $3.6 million in 2009. LaPaglia took a role in low-budget comedy film Overnight and loaned his voice to an owl in the animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole but it was not enough to get him on the list.

Brisbane twin singing sisters The Veronicas, who earned $2.4 million last year, played some select shows in Japan and England but haven’t released a new album since 2007’s Hook Me Up, so did not make the cut off.

To find out who else made the list and all the movers and shakers, pick up a copy of BRW, out on December 2.

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