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The 10 Most Powerful Players In Hollywood

Culture December 6, 2016 By Hugo

For the last 100 years, Hollywood has been the go-to place for any aspiring artist wishing to make it big in show business, and it has remained one of America's most lucrative industries ever since the legendary director D. W. Griffith made his first film there in 1910.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts and entertainment industry accounts for 4% of America's GDP, and the chief driving forces behind such a figure are the industry players themselves. But these are not just any players. They are not (barring one exception) the stars you see on TV and cinema. They are mostly studio executives, in charge of the output we see on a daily basis. They determine what's hot and what's not, and most importantly, they are the tasked with spearheading an industry under constant threat of piracy.

With that in mind, we have profiled 10 of most powerful people in Hollywood according to The Hollywood Reporter's first-ever power list.  

10. Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor/producer)

Admittedly, Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor in an industry we told you is dominated by studio executives, but Leo is no ordinary movie star, and as well as being one the best-paid actors in Hollywood, Leo is an iconic artist who has used his celebrity to promote and influence an array of causes.


And when he isn't wooing the Pope in his documentary on climate change or being labelled a 'real man' by Vladamir Putin when discussing the conservation of tigers, he's carrying non-franchise movies and turning them into box office gold. 

In The Revenant, for instance, the film, barring a supporting role from Tom Hardy and a bear, was pretty much all him, and one of the main reasons the film grossed a spectacular $532m worldwide.


9. Alan Horn (Chairman, Walt Disney Studios)

The 73-year-old may be a seasoned veteran in an ever-changing industry, but Horn makes up for this with his wisdom and has been one of the main catalysts in making certain the studio's blockbuster acquisitions of Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Animation and Pixar were a success.


As well as overseeing the many popular franchises added to the Disney oeuvre, Horn still has time for passion projects, and having been a longtime admirer of Richard Kipling's The Jungle Book; he managed to fend off competition from Warner Brothers and adapt a live-action version of the film. But even passion projects pay off when you're Alan Horn, with the movie grossing $922m worldwide- the 4th highest of 2016.

8. Peter Rice (Chairman and CEO, FOX Networks Group)

While Fox is very much a company associated with its owner and family, Peter Rice, at only 49, is the highest non-Murdoch in command.


Charged with promoting and improving Fox's broadcast and cable channels, not to mention their sports and international operations. Rice's work was responsible for around two-thirds of Fox's revenue last year and has been touted in industry circles as an ideal replacement for Bob Iger at Disney due to his full-on role in film and TV, as well as his accomplished history of running Fox Searchlight.


7. Jeff Bewkes (Chairman and CEO, Time Warner)

Being in charge of a corporation with includes Turner Broadcasting, HBO and Warner Bros is no easy feat, but after putting an added emphasis on on content, Jeff Bewkes has managed to keep thing steady at Time Warner. 


Not that things are easy. Warners faces ongoing struggles in many areas, and after ill-received reviews of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,  coupled with HBO's, inability to capitalise on other dramas following the wild success of Game of Thrones, his position has been under scrutiny.  Despite this, Bewkes received a vote of confidence in January, with the board giving him a three-year contract extension to put things right.

6. Shari Redstone and Sumner Redstone (President, National Amusements, and vice chair, Viacom and CBS Boards; Chairman Emeritus, Viacom and CBS Corp)

For those unfamiliar with Hollywood corporations, then it's worth noting that National Amusements owns most prominent media companies, including Paramount, MTV and Comedy Central. Heading all of them, as well as many others, are Shari Redstone and his daughter, Summer, who own the entire company.


Yes, two people oversee a vast majority of Hollywood's output, and despite ongoing internal disputes, the Redstones remain two of Hollywood's most prominent figures.

5. Ted Sarandos (Chief content officer, Netflix)

Netflix has done to the film and television business what Spotify did for the music industry: it made streaming profitable, something Ted Sarandos cottoned onto when he started Netflix in 1997. And it's because of the increasing role the streaming service has played in not only working with studios but also creating content of its own that has made it a force to be reckoned with. After all, according to one industry insider, there isn't a meal in Hollywood where Netflix isn't mentioned.


Looking forward, Sarandos' aim will be to turn its considerable revenue into bigger profits while also increasing its original movie output, with Brad Pitt's $60m feature 'War Machine' due next year.

4. Steve Burke (CEO, NBCUniversal and senior executive VP, Comcast Corp)

Being in charge of a company as big as NBCUniversal is no easy task, but Steve Burke, at 57, has managed to keep the reigns on a company with an astronomical $6.4 billion cash flow, an impressive 15% increase from last year. In part, this can be attributed to the immense success of 2015's Jurassic World and Furious 7, with both movies 5th and 6th respectively in the highest grossing movies of all time list compiled by IMDB.  


What's more, NBC continues outperforming others in in the key and lucrative 18-to-49 demo and also managed to oversee significant changes to their shows, which most notably included Jimmy Fallon's replacement of Jay Leno and Steven Spielberg's return to making films for the studio.

3. Leslie Moonves (President and CEO, CBS Corp)

Ledlie Moonves lives and breathes entertainment, and has admitted that he can't get through a day without "using a quote from The Godfather" which is probably why the energetic Moonves has seen his company's stock rise 12 percent in the past year thanks to mega-hits like the Survivor and The Big Bang Theory.


Part of Sumner Redstone's vast portfolio, CBS has consistently outperformed its sister company Viacom, and with profits up, the 66-year-old CEO, whose network also took a risk on the British comedian James Corden to front their Late Late Show, is someone whose reputation has only strengthened in the last few years. 

2. James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch (CEO; Executive Chairman; Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox)

Whatever your views on Rupert Murdoch, there's no doubting his business acumen. Starting out in his native Australia before expanding his media operations to England and then America, Rupert Murdoch's media influence, while global, is arguably at its strongest in Tinseltown.


Now 85, the media mogul leaves most of his empire in the hands of his sons James, 43, and Lachlan, 44 in an entertainment portfolio that covers both film and TV, news, and sports. Such a broad portfolio generated $6.7 billion in profit in the fiscal year of 2015, making James and Lachlan the most successful media executives currently working. 

1. Bob Iger (Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Co)

At 65, Bob Igler is at the top of his game, a feat recognised by The Hollywood Reporter, who named him as Hollywood's most influential figure. And when you are competing with a media baron like Rupert Murdoch, gaining the coveted number one position isn't easy. But then again, Iger has never been phased by competition, and after a gaining a degree in television and radio, one senses that he was tailor-made for one of Hollywood's most important jobs. 


Yes, Bob isn't only one of Hollywood's most esteemed CEO's, he's also one of Amerca's. And after being in charge of the studio's successful expansion, which has seen it acquire franchises like Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar while opening theme parks in the lucrative East Asia market, it's little wonder Forbes has consistently recognised Disney as one of the "World's Most Reputable Companies". Yahoo Finance even named Disney their "Company of The Year" in 2013.

Most recently, and perhaps in recognition of his business acumen, it was also announced by President-elect Donald Trump that Iger and a select amount of other business leaders had been chosen to form part of his strategic and policy advisory committee, even though the CEO donated to Hilary Clinton's campaign in the recent election. 

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