and other principles receive a percentage of the gross. On the heels of this gritty epic, Washington assumed the role of star, co-producer, and director of The Great Debaters. Set in the American South during the 1930s, the movie (produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions) has generated $28 million at the box office to date. Both American Gangster and The Great Debaters earned Golden Globe nominations. The films continue his hot streak: Washington and director Spike Lee reunited to create the 2006 caper film Inside Man, which grossed nearly $200 million worldwide. (The two previously worked together on the 1992 biopic Malcolm X, the basketball drama He Got Game in 1998, and the jazz film Mo’ Better Blues in 1990.) In taking on a myriad of roles and projects, the celebrated star is in a class by himself. -Tennille M. Robinson
How do the top moneymakers on our list stack up in terms of Internet popularity? Well, BE asked the folks at Google to rank our list in terms of highest number of Web searches.
|15||Samuel L. Jackson|
Tyra Banks: Tyra Banks didn’t skip a beat when she traded in the runway for reality TV. As host of America’s Next Top Model, Banks remained in the spotlight with the show generating more viewers than any other on the CW Network. As a result, she solidified a deal to keep the program on the air through the 2009-10 season. Thirty-second advertising spots during each first-run hour-long episode were sold at $135,000 each last year. That’s nearly $52 million in advertising revenues generated by just one season of the program. ANTM is now in its 10th cycle with versions of the show shown across the globe. An avid entrepreneur, Banks, the CEO of Bankable Productions, launched The Tyra Banks Show, a daytime talk show, in 2005. Her shows’ moneymaking power as well as her own sizeable income lands the