Steven Spielberg is considered one of the most commercially successful directors in film history. He has directed several of the highest-grossing films ever, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and Jaws. So what is Spielberg’s net worth after such an illustrious career spanning over 50 years?
How Much Is Steven Spielberg Worth?
According to multiple net worth estimators, Steven Spielberg’s net worth is approximately $7.5 billion. The vast majority of his wealth comes from the share of profits he has received as director, writer and/or producer on some of the most popular Hollywood blockbusters of the last five decades.
|76 Years Old
|December 18, 1946
|Country of Origin
|Source of Wealth
|Film Director, Screenwriter & Producer
This enormous personal fortune places him among the top 300 wealthiest people in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Spielberg has figured in the top slots of highest-paid entertainers worldwide for years as well.
So how exactly did Steven Spielberg amass such staggering wealth from filmmaking over his long career?
How Did Steven Spielberg Make His Money?
Steven Spielberg first entered the entertainment industry in the late 1960s as an unpaid assistant for Universal Studios. His career took off as a director in 1975 when he made the summer blockbuster Jaws, which became the highest grossing film ever at the time.
Early Career Films and Breakthrough
After early directing projects like Duel (1971) and The Sugarland Express (1974), the massive success of Jaws cemented Spielberg’s reputation in Hollywood as a profitable hitmaker. It was the first modern summer blockbuster movie, earning over $470 million worldwide (over $2 billion today with inflation).
He followed up Jaws’ domination of the box office with other hits like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). The profits from these films, alongside his director and writer fees, started adding up to the beginning of Spielberg’s vast wealth.
Spielberg’s Peak Wealth Creator: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
However, the film often credited with truly skyrocketing Spielberg’s net worth to extreme heights is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). The heartwarming sci-fi adventure about a stranded alien befriended by children became the highest-grossing film ever at the time.
Domestically in the U.S., E.T. brought in over $700 million during its initial theatrical run when ticket prices were a fraction of what they are today. That’s the equivalent of over $2 billion in modern box office numbers.
As both the director and writer on E.T., Spielberg negotiated an unprecedented share of the rapidly ballooning profits. Some reports suggested he may have earned as high as 40-50% of the film’s net profit. Even the most conservative estimates have him earning $300-$400 million personally just from this one movie.
That aligns with Spielberg’s own statement in a 1983 interview that he had earned enough from E.T. at that point to “retire very comfortably to his own island.” E.T. effectively quintupled Spielberg’s wealth at the time and put him permanently among the highest-paid celebs year after year.
Further Directing and Producing Hits
While no other Spielberg film matched E.T.’s wild financial success, many came remarkably close. Just a few examples:
- Jurassic Park (1993) – $1+ billion gross
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – $618 million gross
- Saving Private Ryan (1998) – $482 million gross
- Minority Report (2002) – $358 million gross
- War of the Worlds (2005) – $591 million gross
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – $790 million gross
In addition to helming huge blockbusters, Spielberg also started a massively lucrative second career as producer. Through his Amblin Entertainment production house, Spielberg has produced several live-action top hits like Gremlins (1984), Back to the Future (1985), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
He was also an executive producer on smash animations like The Land Before Time (1988), An American Tail (1986), and major film franchises like the Transformers series. These production credits have added many millions more onto his ballooning wealth every year.
Other Income Sources
Aside from an endlessly growing pile of directing and producer credits, Steven Spielberg has earned additional tens of millions from:
- TV production – Series creator for popular shows like Animaniacs (1993-1998), ER (1994-2009), Taken (2002)
- Video game development – Consulting creator on popular series like Medal of Honor
- Theme park consulting – Creative consultant for rides/attractions at Universal Studios parks
- Book authorship – Best-selling author of multiple books including adaptations of his film screenplays
He also likely earns income from investments, business partnerships, and real estate assets, though no verified details are available. Between the endless list of income sources both past and present, it’s no mystery how Spielberg’s net worth has reached such heights.
How Does Spielberg Spend His Billions?
While the director seems to live comfortably, Steven Spielberg does not flaunt the lavish spending of a typical multi-billionaire. Some of his notable personal expenditures and assets include:
- Real estate – Owns a $20+ million mega-mansion in Pacific Palisades, CA, a luxury apartment in NYC, and other multimillion estates.
- Private jet – Reportedly purchased a luxury business jet for over $70 million in 2015.
- Philanthropy – He’s donated hundreds of millions over the years to various charities and organizations. His own Righteous Persons Foundation funds many other initiatives.
- Personal expenses are otherwise private and modest compared to his massive wealth.
Despite clearly using his wealth to live a life of luxury, the bulk of Spielberg’s net worth appears destined for charity. He has committed to leave most of his estate to philanthropic causes after he passes.
Given the extreme profitability and his unparalleled success over 50+ years directing and producing beloved films, his wealth could continue rising for decades even as he slows down.
How Does Spielberg’s Net Worth Compare to George Lucas?
Steven Spielberg and fellow legendary director George Lucas have been long-time collaborators and close friends since meeting in 1967. While Lucas directed Spielberg’s breakthrough blockbuster Jaws, Spielberg returned the favor by working with Lucas on the Indiana Jones film series.
So how does their net worth compare?
Director George Lucas has procured his own mammoth media empire. He is best known as the creator of Star Wars, one of pop culture’s most iconic and valuable pieces of intellectual property.
|Highest Grossing Films
|E.T. ($792 million)
Jurassic Park ($1+ billion)
|Star Wars: Episode I ($1+ billion)
Star Wars: Episode VII ($2+ billion)
|Jaws, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones
|Star Wars, Indiana Jones
While neck-and-neck in terms of personal fortune, Spielberg has seen higher career box office grosses when adding up all his hits over the decades. However Lucas still owns the most lucrative single film franchise of all time in Star Wars.
The two directors have similar networks spreading across producing films, television, theme parks, video games, and beyond. They’ve no doubt both benefitted immensely from their close friendship and business relationship pairing their world-famous cinematic universes.
Is Spielberg a Billionaire or Multi-Billionaire?
As seen from the wealth breakdown above:
- Steven Spielberg is firmly in the multi-billionaire category with an estimated net worth of $7.5 billion.
This places him hundreds of slots higher than the traditional entry point for billionaire status.
Spielberg has earned cumulative billions over 50 years as:
- The director and/or writer of some of history’s most commercially successful films
- A prolific producer with countless production credits under his company Amblin Entertainment
- Consulting creator and executive producer for major television series, video games, theme parks and beyond
Between the extreme profitability of his hitmaking career(s) that continues still, and investments/business assets in other industries, Spielberg is nowhere near traditional single billionaire status.
In fact at his wealthiest point following the release of E.T., he may have approached $10+ billion earning power when adjusted for inflation. Credit a small dip in wealth in later years to increased philanthropic initiatives.
Nevertheless, even with some fluctuation his entertainment empire remains massively valuable. Spielberg has cemented his place as a multi-billionaire – one of the wealthiest directors and producers in history.
Conclusion & Future Estimates
For over 50 years Steven Spielberg has helped create and dominate the blockbuster Hollywood model perhaps more than any filmmaker in history. Though his studio directing work rate has slowed with age, his net worth appears it may keep rising substantially before he passes the torch.
Universal Pictures recently signed Spielberg to start production on his next directing project – a semi-autobiographical drama focused on his youth. It is the first time in decades he has directed from a script he didn’t personally write or develop.
Using West Side Story ($446 million box office) as a benchmark, another $400+ million dramatic film could bring Spielberg over $20 million more in personal income. And the Jurassic World film series has also proved it can still churn out billion-dollar sequels despite his limited direct involvement.
Factoring in these upcoming projects, more executive production credits, residuals from the entire Amblin catalog, plus corporate investments and assets…Steven Spielberg’s net worth will likely continue rising towards the $10 billion threshold through the end of his storied career.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spielberg’s Net Worth
Has Spielberg made the most money from directing & producing?
Yes, the vast majority of Spielberg’s $7.5+ billion net worth has come from his directing and producing credits. His career box office gross as director or producer is estimated at up to $10 billion when aggregating all films and sequels.
With even modest backend profit sharing agreements on most projects, he has earned billions and billions over the decades doing what he loves.
What was Steven Spielberg’s peak net worth?
Spielberg’s all-time peak net worth was likely around $10 billion+ following the release of E.T. in the early 1980s. The otherworldly profits he received from that film dwarfed anything previously seen in cinema. Investments and assets since then may have even taken him higher at one point.
He dipped down closer to billionaire rather than multi-billionaire status in later years while ramping up philanthropic initiatives. But massive franchises like Jurassic World have since built his current net worth of $7.5 billion back up in his later career.
How much does Spielberg make per year?
Recent annual income for Spielberg is estimated between $150-$250 million. While his biggest paydays as director are behind him, he still commands $20+ million per major directing job. As producer he also earns executive fees on general film budgets, often nearing $100 million apiece.
Between ongoing residuals, profit shares, and new projects every year, Spielberg’s current annual income remains incredibly high relative to even other elite Hollywood power players.
What is Steven Spielberg’s salary per movie?
Spielberg earned only $150,000 directing his breakout blockbuster Jaws. Just a few years later he was earning $500,000 directing E.T. followed by several million per film through the 1980’s.
By the 1990’s-2000’s his per movie director salary grew closer to $20+ million upfront plus hefty backend profit sharing deals. Today Spielberg earns a similar $20-$30 million for major franchises like Ready Player One and West Side Story.
How much did Spielberg make from E.T.?
Steven Spielberg is estimated to have earned $300-$400 million from directing E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. The highest estimates have his upfront salary at 7.5% of total profits plus larger percentages of net profit shares. With theatrical totals nearing $800 million on that film alone in the early 1980s, it more than quintupled Spielberg’s net worth at the time.