While Leonardo DiCaprio was the highest grossing star of 2010, James Cameron is at the top of Vanity Fair’s list of those making the most bank off of the industry.

The environmentally-focused director earned a tidy $257 million for writing, directing and producing “Avatar”, plus back-end box office receipts, merchandising and DVD revenue. That number is incredible — but well below the $350M estimated by Deadline earlier in the year. Still, we don’t feel to bad for the guy.

With cash like that, there’s really no reason why his new Lightstorm Production studio plans can’t be a green model for the rest of Hollywood. I’d love to see Cameron invest a bit more green in his lifestyle to match his passion in activism.

Anyways — back to the list: Despite starring in one of 2010′s worst films (“The Tourist), Johnny Depp still came away with second place, raking in an amazing $100M. Most of that is probably due to his upcoming fourth “Pirates of the Carribean Film”, but there were also a paycheck in there for “Alice in Wonderland” (another terrible movie, though Depp shined).

Rounding out the top five are Steven Spielberg ($80M, mostly on revenue from theme parks and older works), Christopher Nolan ($71.5, because “Inception” was bigger than anyone predicted), and Leonardo DiCaprio ($62M, because like Nolan, Leo was wise to accept a nice chunk of percentage gross in return for a lower paycheck. Guy made a stunning $59M on this film alone!)

Check out the full VF list here!

Related:

Want more Cameron? Jump here to see our interview with the man (in partnership with LivingEco.com) that Ken Spector did on the red carpet last year.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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