In a roller-coaster year of megamergers and megadeals, the ranking of showbiz’s top execs, makers and stars sees big moves and a more dynamic (and diverse) group of powerhouses as the Obamas join Netflix, Phoebe Waller-Bridge ignites the town’s creatives and J.Lo hustles her way onto the ultimate industry A list.
Hollywood, like the rest of America, is increasingly dividing itself into the haves and the have nots. Through mergers (Disney and Fox), buyouts (AT&T gobbling up Time Warner) and an arms race for talent ($250 million for J.J. Abrams?), the upper echelon of the content business has never been more influential or fabulously compensated. With that in mind, this is The Hollywood Reporter 100, the fourth annual ranked list of the most powerful people in entertainment.
While Disney CEO Bob Iger retains his status as No. 1 (acquiring the $71.3 billion Fox assets and generating a record $8 billion at the box office make that choice an easy one), moving up on the list are figures from Shari Redstone (No. 4), who’ll see the Viacom-CBS merger she masterminded come to fruition this year, to Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige (No. 5), the most important Disney employee not named Iger, and Ava DuVernay (No.59), who jumps nearly 30 slots on the strength of her creative clout, Emmy nominations and leadership in Hollywood’s gender parity and inclusion efforts.
Hitting the list for the first time are Barack and Michelle Obama (No. 50), whose Higher Ground shingle is making waves via deals with Netflix and Spotify, along with Aquaman helmer James Wan (No. 80) and Hustlers star-producer Jennifer Lopez (No. 92). They’re all among the 32 new names shaking up the entertainment world — but perhaps no single figure has had more seismic impact than David Young (No. 93), executive director of the WGA West, who has led the guild’s fight with the talent agencies over affiliate production and packaging fees (and caused the agency leaders to tumble a few spots on the list.)
As the Streaming Wars further disrupt Hollywood hierarchies and upend conventional wisdom about audiences, creators and distributors, THR‘s annual list captures the dynamic landscape of entertainment power now. These are the haves.