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Robotic Dinosaurs Among Australia's Richest Entertainers

Hugh Jackman is up, Anthony LaPaglia is out and a group of robotic dinosaurs have roared into top place on BRW magazine’s annual list of Australia’s richest entertainers.

A girl gestures towards a Tyrannosaurus Rex at the media call for Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, Australia.
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A girl gestures towards a Tyrannosaurus Rex at the media call for Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, Australia.

It has been a spectacular run for the little-known production company known as Global Creatures. Majority-owned by caravan entrepreneur Gerry Ryan, the company raked in A$140 million ($138 million) last financial year after turning the BBC series Walking With the Dinosaurs into a sell-out theatrical spectacle. The Sydney-based company even managed to knock rock veterans AC/DC into second place, after the group finished their Black Ice world tour with a cool A$131 million in earnings for the year.

Children’s group the Wiggles also capped off a good year. Not only did they collect Order of Australia honors, but they also maintained third position on the list with earnings of A$33.5 million from stage performances, DVDs and merchandising.

The title of Australia’s best-paid actor went to Hugh Jackman. The X-Men star picked up A$21.5 million for the year, which also helped him claim fourth place on the list. That’s as Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, took the title of Australia’s best-paid entertainment couple. Both stars made the top ten after making just under A$30 million for the year.

Collectively it’s been a lucrative 12 months for Australia’s top performers. According to BRW, earnings for Australia’s top 50 entertainers jumped A$110.4 million to A$579.5 million last year. But despite the big numbers there were a few notable exceptions.

Russell Crowe will be scratching his head come tax time. The Gladiator star completely missed the top ten in 2009/10 as his earnings slipped from A$25 to A$8.6 million. It was also a quiet year for pop star Kylie Minogue. Her income tumbled a massive 90 percent from A$47 million to just A$4.9 million during the year. Anthony LaPaglia disappeared “Without a Trace”. The demise of the long-running U.S. crime series saw him fall completely from the top fifty.

But Australia’s stars aren't the only ones raking in the big bucks. Despite the global financial crisis, Forbes Magazine estimates earnings for the world’s highest-paid celebrities jumping 14 percent to US$1.41 billion in the year to June 2010.