According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median annual salary for directors of television, theater, movies or other productions was $71,350. "Median" indicates the middle income level; half the directors made more, while half made less. Directors in the bottom 10 percent made under $32,080 that year, and the top 10 percent earned over $187,200.
Movies directors brought in the most, with a median yearly salary of $94,110. In the television field, the median salary was $56,950, and it was $49,690 for theatre directors. Radio producers were at the bottom, with $48,110.
These salaries are based on work erratic schedules that include evening, night, weekend and holiday hours. Schedules often vary from week to week. Directors sometimes travel with productions or film away from home, on location.
One-third of all directors are employed by the film and video industries. Television accounts for 14 percent, while radio uses 5 percent of directors. In 2010, the top movie directors brought in millions of dollars, but they often worked as producers, as well. James Cameron was at the top of the list. He made $257 million that year. Steven Spielberg earned $80 million. Writer-director-producer Christopher Nolan received $71.5 million. Tim Burton took home $53 million.