Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger remains the most powerful person in entertainment, only adding to his empire with $71 billion of 21st Century Fox assets. But his dominance is one of the few things that hasn’t changed since THR published 2017’s list of Hollywood’s most influential figures. Along with Disney-Fox, 2018 saw AT&T win a judge’s blessing to acquire Time Warner, spawning new entity WarnerMedia — whose chief, John Stankey, arrives at No. 4. There were the milestones: Filmmakers Ryan Coogler (No. 93) and Jon M. Chu (No. 97) brought inclusive movies to the multiplex, smashing records along the way. And there are the movements: #MeToo and Time’s Up drove a reckoning. Out of work, and off the THR 100, are John Lasseter, Roy Price, Brett Ratner and, just this month, Leslie Moonves. His spot has gone to Ronan Farrow, whose reporting took the CBS chief down.
Along with Farrow, there are 34 people making their first appearance on the THR 100, many of them female and diverse — including stars (summer 2017 breakout Tiffany Haddish, No. 79), producers (LeBron James, No. 75), execs (Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura, No. 9) and creators (Kenya Barris, No. 81). White men still make up 70 percent of this list — but the sands are shifting, more rapidly and more unpredictably than ever, as THR takes stock of Hollywood power now.
Methodology: During a months-long process, editors compiled the THR 100 based on the size and reach of a person’s purview, the success of his or her projects since 2017’s list, the power to get a project made (company ownership helps) and the ineffables: heat, clout and intangible indicators of influence gleaned from conversations with top insiders (not to mention THR’s daily reporting).
Profiles written by Paul Bond, Rebecca Ford, Stephen Galloway, Mia Galuppo, Lesley Goldberg, Marisa Guthrie, Natalie Jarvey, Gregg Kilday, Borys Kit, Pamela McClintock, Michael O’Connell, Lacey Rose, Bryn Elise Sandberg, Tatiana Siegel, Rebecca Sun and Benjamin Svetkey.
100 – Ronan Farrow – Journalist
Farrow earned his place on this list by rewriting its highest ranks: His persistence in bringing to light accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct by Hollywood titans has set off an industry earthquake, earning him hero status and media stardom (including a multi-doc deal at HBO), not to mention awards (no less than a Pulitzer, along with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor of The New York Times, for reporting that uncovered decades of predation by Harvey Weinstein, spurring the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements). His first report about Leslie Moonves in July, detailing accusations of misconduct and retaliation by the CBS chief, was a body blow. His second, containing far more serious allegations, served to dispatch one of the most powerful execs in media. And Farrow, 30, is not done; his book Catch and Kill will detail just how far the powerful will go to silence and terrorize victims.
MY FOCUS FOR 2019 “I can barely think past my next deadline, please stop stressing me out with this 2019 talk.”
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “Hopefully, increasingly: impunity.”
WHEN I WANT TO TRULY UNPLUG, I … “Lose terribly at Mario Kart.”
99 – Elisabeth Moss – Actor/producer
Thanks to a portfolio that includes Mad Men, Top of the Lake and The Handmaid’s Tale, for which she is two-time 2017 Emmy winner and a hands-on producer, Moss, 36, has become the undisputed “Queen of Peak TV.” Now, she’s leveraging that status into film roles (see her forthcoming mob drama The Kitchen, opposite Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy) and TV passion projects (Hulu’s already released dance doc, Ballet Now).
FICTIONAL CHARACTER I IDENTIFY WITH “Any Salinger character.”
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “More sleep.”
WHAT’S USUALLY PLAYING IN MY CAR “Max Richter or Rihanna.”
I’M STARSTRUCK BY Ann Dowd
WHEN I WANT TO TRULY UNPLUG, I … “Watch The Office or anything by Armando Iannucci.”
98 – David Ellison – CEO, Skydance
After stumbles including 2017’s Geostorm, Ellison’s banner landed another hit with Mission: Impossible — Fallout, which saw a franchise-high $61.5 million domestic debut in July and has earned $761 million worldwide. Ellison, 35, is staying in the Tom Cruise business with the Top Gun sequel and has teamed with Netflix on 6 Underground.
WHEN I WANT TO TRULY UNPLUG, I … “Go flying.”
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “Time with friends and family.”
I’M STILL INTIMIDATED BY Bill Clinton
WHAT’S USUALLY PLAYING IN MY CAR “Country music.”
IF I COULD STEAL ANYONE’S ROLODEX … David Geffen
THE NICEST PERSON IN HOLLYWOOD IS … “The memory of Tom Sherak.”
97 – Jon M. Chu – Director/producer ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
Riding high on his record-breaking Warner Bros.’ romcom Crazy Rich Asians($188 million), he’ll next direct the adaptation of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical. Chu, 38, is also set to direct and exec produce a series inspired by 11-year-old investigative reporter Hilde Lysiak for Apple.
I’M STARSTRUCK BY “Lin-Manuel Miranda. I should get over it since we are working together, but I still talk like an idiot around him because I’m so distracted by his aura.”
SOMEONE IN THE INDUSTRY WHO HAS MORE POWER THAN PEOPLE MIGHT EXPECT “Twitter has more power than people might expect because it’s not just fanboys complaining about what they want in the next comic book movie; it’s our whole culture demanding what we want from the movie industry itself. The movements that have begun through social media have changed the whole landscape of movies and our business in the past several years, and it’s only gaining momentum.”
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “True love and true friends.”
WHAT’S USUALLY PLAYING IN MY CAR “Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, or some bad best of the ’90s mix.”
96 – Tom Cruise – Actor/producer
In 2017, the 56-year-old had double flops with American Made and The Mummy, but Mission: Impossible — Fallout and its franchise-best $761 million haul put him back in the action hero cockpit — a handy place to be for 2020’s Top Gun: Maverick.
95 – Joe and Anthony Russo – Filmmakers/principals
Even as they jump into the next Avengers movie (Infinity War will likely be 2018’s highest grosser), Joe, 47, and Anthony, 48, are pouring attention on AGBO — their Huayi Brothers Media-backed studio shoots Chris Hemsworth thriller Dhaka this fall. They’re prepping the release of Assassination Nation (which AGBO and Neon bought at Sundance) and developing an international TV event series for Amazon.
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “Empathy.”
IF I COULD STEAL ANYONE’S ROLODEX … “Hildaur Neilson [inventor of the rolodex].”
WE’RE STILL INTIMIDATED BY “The guy in the booth at Gate 4 at Warner Bros.”
THE NICEST PERSON IN HOLLYWOOD IS … “The other guy in the booth at Gate 4 at Warner Bros. (Note: Hope this doesn’t cause any complications for the guys in the booth at Gate 4 at Warner Bros.)”
94 – Michael B. Jordan – Actor/producer
He took on his first villain role in Marvel’s Black Panther ($1.3 billion worldwide) and reprises his Adonis Johnson for Warner Bros.’ Creed II (Nov. 21), but the 31-year-old also is taking the lead as a change agent, working with WarnerMedia on the creation of its companywide inclusion policy. His film Just Mercy (he’ll star and produce) will be the first project made under the new policy.
THE ONE THING POWER DOESN’T GET YOU “Satisfaction. That comes from taking the power you have and using it to empower others.”
IF I COULD STEAL ANYONE’S ROLODEX … Barack Obama
WHEN I WANT TO TRULY UNPLUG, I … “Travel. But more on a realistic day-to-day level, I’ll play a video game to unwind and clear my head.”
THE NICEST PERSON IN HOLLYWOOD IS … Will Smith