It was a year of conquest in Hollywood. The worldwide box office soared to a record $25.8 billion, buoyed by global blockbusters like Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and Sony's "The Da Vinci Code." Madonna reclaimed her title as the mightiest force in music, thanks to her record-breaking Confessions tour, which drew over a million fans and generated $195 million in ticket sales. And golf ace Tiger Woods banked $100 million, more in a single year than any athlete in history.
Tinseltown's triumphs are reflected in this year's Celebrity 100, Forbes' annual list of the world's most powerful — and best-paid — celebrities. To generate the list, Forbes analyzes celebrity earnings, plus media metrics like Google hits, press mentions as compiled by Lexis/Nexis, TV and radio mentions from Factiva and the number of times an A-lister appears on the cover of 32 major consumer magazines.
Earnings estimates are for June 2006 to June 2007 and consist of dollars earned solely from entertainment-related income. Management, agent and attorney fees have not been deducted.
Tiger Woods wasn't the only one shattering Celebrity 100 records this year.
Thanks to his share in the box office gross of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," actor Johnny Depp made $92 million in the last 12 months, more than most any other actor has ever earned for a film role. (Mel Gibson made $184 million in 2004 from The Passion of the Christ, but as the producer and director.) With their Bigger Bang tour, the Rolling Stones now own bragging rights to the highest-grossing tour in history, with over $400 million in ticket sales.
For the first time ever, Forbes breaks out Hip-Hop Impresarios as a separate category from Musicians. That's because the three biggest big shots in that field — Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Sean "Diddy" Combs — earn most of their income from their business ventures, including apparel lines, record labels and investments.
Following his triumphant comeback from retirement, rapper Jay-Z debuts on the list in the ninth spot, bolstered by the March sale of his Rocawear clothing label to Iconix for $204 million in cash. 50 Cent should enjoy a sizable jump next year. After Forbes went to press, Coca Cola offered $4.1 billion for Glaceau, the vitamin-infused beverage company in which the former crack dealer owns a minor stake. 50's anticipated take: $100 million.
This year 29 newcomers make the list, including Ben Stiller, whose big-budget special effects farce "Night at the Museum" grossed $573 million worldwide. His participation in the film's "backend" helped him bank $38 million, more money than Celebrity 100 veterans Adam Sandler ($30 million) and Will Smith ($31 million).
Also new this year is the cast of ABC's hit TV series Grey's Anatomy. It wasn't only the $33 million the entire cast made in its recently concluded second season that earned them a coveted spot on the Celebrity 100. (That figure includes the salary of the recently canned Isaiah Washington.) The show's relentless off-set drama — salary disputes, feuding cast-mates, homophobic slurs — crowned it as one of the most talked about shows on television.
Equally noteworthy are the celebrities who fell off the list this year. Box office duds hurt Jim Carrey, Halle Berry and Cameron Diaz. Last year, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won a spot primarily for his $26 million contract signing bonus, but not a single NFL player makes the list this year. Simple Life co-stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie both saw their careers flame out in the last year.
The year's biggest gainers include actress-advocate Angelina Jolie, who bounces to the 14th spot this year from 35th last year, thanks in no small measure to the media maelstrom surrounding her relationship with Brad Pitt. Soccer star David Beckham jumps to 15th this year, from 43rd, on the heels of his lucrative new deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Food Network chef turned talk show princess Rachael Ray moves into the 66th spot this year from 81st last year.
The Forbes Celebrity 100 was edited by Lea Goldman, Monte Burke and Kiri Blakeley Reported by: Kurt Badenhausen, Peter Beller, Alex Davidson, Timothy Doyle, Gail Goldfarb, Evan Hessel, Peter Hoy, Lauren Kerensky, Devon Pendleton, Dorothy Pomerantz, Amanda Schupak, David Serchuk, Lauren Streib and Chaniga Vorasarun. © 2007 Forbes.com