How Much Money Does J. J. Abrams Make?

J. J. Abrams made $29 million for his Star Wars: The Force Awakens work. This includes co-writing, directing, producing and a cut of the movie’s box office earnings. The figure could grow as high as $33 million, depending on ticket sales.

J. J. Abrams is a hard-hitting director, producer and writer with over 700 credits under his belt. The Hollywood mogul earns an annual salary of more than $27 million. His first big break was a writing credit for the 1991 Harrison Ford hit Regarding Henry.

See figures for Abrams’ earnings from Star Wars and other movies, plus J. J. Abrams net worth figures below.

J. J. Abrams Star Wars Money MadeHow Much Money Did J. J. Abrams Make for Star Wars?

J. J. Abrams earned an estimated $29 million for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All together, he could earn up to $40 million by the time Episode VIII is in the can. Abrams’ Star Wars money breaks down as follows:

J. J. Abrams Star Wars Money 
Direct "The Force Awakens" (estimated base pay)$10,000,000
Direct "The Force Awakens" (2% cut of box office gross over $1 billion)$11,120,000
Produce "The Force Awakens"$7,000,000
Write "The Force Awakens"$1,000,000
Produce "Star Wars: Episode VIII"$7,000,000
Total Abrams Star Wars Earnings$36,120,000

Also see: How Much Money Has Every Star Wars Movie Made?

J. J. Abrams Star Wars EarningsAlthough J. J. Abrams hasn’t released his earnings figures for The Force Awakens, industry experts place the pay for big budget movie directors between $10 million and $30 million per picture. While small-time directors may make only $250,000 per film, virtuosos command an exponentially larger slice of the movie budget pie.

Well respected artists like Ridley Scott make an estimated $7 million to $10 million per movie. Christopher Nolan is reported to have made $20 million for the blockbuster Interstellar. Much of those earnings came from a percentage of the film’s gross.

We had to do some tough estimating to reach a figure for J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars earnings. The Force Awakens is a much, much bigger film that Interstellar, so we’d expect Abrams’ pay to be a lot higher than Nolan’s. That said, Disney is notorious for cutting payouts to stars and directors.

Our best estimate for how much money Abrams made for directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens is $21 million. That’s based on $10 million up front plus a 2% cut of the box office gross.

Also see: How Much Money Did Harrison Ford Make for Star Wars?

Spoiler: Abrams Didn’t Just Direct Star Wars

How Much Money J J Abrams Star WarsWhile J. J. Abrams earned an estimated $21 million to direct 2015’s blockbuster Star Wars hit, he made more money than that from the franchise. Abrams received a co-writing credit with veteran Lawrence Kasdan. He also gets a producer credit for the film.

How much do writers and producers earn? Top writers on big films can earn as much as $1 million for a script. While Abrams split the work with Kasdan, we’re betting the pair got at least $1 million each. After all, The Force Awakens may end up being the biggest film of all time.

Producers earn anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million, depending on the size of the film. Again, since the latest Star Wars installment is in a class of its own, we’re estimating Abrams took another $7 million in producer money.

That brings J. J. Abrams’ total earnings from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to $29 million.

Abrams had to find a Chewbacca stand-in for action scenes in The Force Awakens. Peter Mayhew, who’s been playing the wookie since the 1970s, is in his seventies and sometimes uses a cane to walk. Joonas Suotamo, the “new” Chewbacca, is seen below with Abrams and Ridley. He hashtags the 1/8/16 picture #Newbacca.

But Wait, There’s More!

J J Abrams EarningsYes, Abrams made $29 million so far for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But the director/writer/producer is also credited as producer for the as yet untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII. That forks another $7 million into J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars earnings bucket. That brings Abrams’ total take to $36 million.

The Force Awakens is still earning money, too. By the time all is said and done, Abrams could take in another $4 million as a percentage of sales. That would mean J. J. Abrams made a grand total of $40 million for his Star Wars efforts.

Also see: How Much Money Has Every X-Men Movie Made?

J. J. Abrams Total Money Made

J J Abrams Total Money MadeJ. J. Abrams knocked it out of the park with Star Wars, but the movie magnate isn’t exactly wet behind the ears. He kicked off his career with the feel good hit Regarding Henry and hasn’t slowed down. Abrams boasts over 740 credits, including writing, directing and producing both blockbuster movies and standout T.V. hits.

J. J. Abrams’ credits include Lost, Super 8, two Mission: Impossible films, two Star Trek films and many, many more. Here’s a breakdown of Abrams’ total estimated Hollywood earnings to date:

J. J. Abrams Job TypeNumber of CreditsEstimated Pay Per JobTotal J. J. Abrams Pay
J. J. Abrams Total Earnings738$160,066,000
Star Wars Produce (This J. J. Abrams movie is in a class by itself)2$7,000,000$14,000,000
Star Wars Write (Abrams co-wrote)1$1,000,000$1,000,000
Star Wars Direct1$21,120,000$21,120,000
Abrams Major Movie Producer Credits (On the level of Star Trek, Mission Impossible)9$1,000,000$9,000,000
Abrams Small Movie Producer Credits (On the order of Cloverfield, Regarding Henry)7$250,000$1,750,000
Abrams Major Movie Director Credits4$20,000,000$80,000,000
Abrams Major Movie Writing Credits (On the level of Super 8, Mission: Impossible III)4$1,000,000$4,000,000
Abrams Minor Movie Writing Credits5$200,000$1,000,000
Abrams Major T.V. Episode Producer Credits (On the level of "Lost")421$50,000$21,050,000
Abrams Minor T.V. Episode Producer Credits227$25,000$5,675,000
Abrams Major T.V. Episode Writer Credits (On the level of "Lost")27$10,000$270,000
Abrams Minor T.V. Episode Writer Credits17$3,000$51,000
Abrams Major T.V. Episode Director Credits (Lost, etc.)11$100,000$1,100,000
Abrams Minor T.V. Episode Director Credits2$25,000$50,000

Also see: How Much Money Does John Boyega Make?

J. J. Abrams Net Worth

J J Abrams Net WorthIt would be nice for J. J. Abrams if he kept all of the $160 million in earnings listed in the table above. Unfortunately nobody escapes the tax man. Abrams also undoubtedly has expenses to contend with, like agent fees, cost of living and other payouts. On the bright side, the director almost certainly invests his money and earns a bit back.

In the table below, we figured J. J. Abrams’ net worth by adding in tax, expense and investment calculations. Abrams is in a 39.6% federal tax bracket. As a resident of California, he pays 13.3% state taxes. We figured his expenses at 10% of income and his investments at an average of 6% of net worth per year.

YearJ. J. Abrams EarningsTaxes (at 52.9%)Expenses (Estimated at 10% of income)Investment Income (Estimated at 6% of net worth)J. J. Abrams Net Worth
Totals$160,066,000$84,674,914$16,006,600$7,223,784
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1991$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$0$431,887
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1992$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$10,573$874,347
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1993$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$21,404$1,327,638
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1994$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$32,501$1,792,026
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1995$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$43,869$2,267,782
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1996$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$55,515$2,755,184
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1997$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$67,447$3,254,518
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1998$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$79,671$3,766,076
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 1999$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$92,194$4,290,157
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2000$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$105,023$4,827,067
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2001$1,164,116$615,818$116,412$118,167$5,377,121
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2002$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$131,632$6,221,367
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2003$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$152,299$7,086,280
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2004$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$173,472$7,972,365
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2005$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$195,164$8,880,143
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2006$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$217,386$9,810,143
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2007$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$240,152$10,762,909
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2008$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$263,476$11,738,998
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2009$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$287,371$12,738,983
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2010$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$311,850$13,763,447
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2011$1,920,792$1,016,099$192,079$336,929$14,812,990
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2012$25,610,560$13,547,986$2,561,056$362,622$24,677,130
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2013$25,610,560$13,547,986$2,561,056$604,096$34,782,744
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2014$25,610,560$13,547,986$2,561,056$851,482$45,135,743
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2015$25,610,560$13,547,986$2,561,056$1,104,923$55,742,184
J. J. Abrams Net Worth 2016$25,610,560$13,547,986$2,561,056$1,364,569$66,608,270

Also see: How Much Money Does Daisy Ridley Make?

Methodology

How did we figure out how much money J. J. Abrams made for Star Wars and other movies? We took a look at industry expert reports for min and max salaries for different kinds of jobs. The table below shows our findings for the min and max earnings for T.V. and movie writers, directors and producers.

Hollywood JobMin EarningsMax Earnings
TV Producer Pay Per Episode$25,000$100,000
Movie Director Pay (2nd number includes % of box office)$250,000$30,000,000
Movie Writer Pay$100,000$1,000,000
Movie Producer Pay$250,000$5,000,000
TV Director Pay Per Episode$25,000$100,000
TV Writer Pay Per Episode$3,000$10,000

Also see: How Much Money Has Every Marvel Movie Made?

Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a whole different Hoth monster, we added extra for our calculations for payouts for that movie. Since Disney is notorious for undercutting, we shaved some off again.

Sources:

Hollywood Salaries