This post is part of our Money Face-Offs feature. Let us know who you think comes out ahead in this head-to-head match-up, and check out other Money Face-Off posts.
For pretentious film students and pop-culture-savvy hipsters alike, it's a debate as old as the hills of Tatooine ... who is the greatest movie mogul of all time? Is it George Lucas, mastermind behind the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series, or Steven Spielberg, director of such Oscar-nominated fare as E.T., Schindler's List, and Saving Private Ryan. The pair always come up in conversation next to one another, and they will be forever linked through Raiders of the Lost Ark -- the first Indiana Jones movie -- which Lucas scripted and executive produced, and Spielberg directed.
Let's take a look at the resumes. Lucas assumed the director's chair for four of the six Star Wars movies (the original 1977 film and the three prequels), and American Graffiti, all of which he wrote. His name appears in the production credits of 47 past and upcoming projects (according to IMDB.com), including multiple video-game titles. He's been nominated four times for an Academy Award -- for the direction and the writing of Star Wars (the original) and American Graffiti. Other than a 1992 memorial award, he has never won.
Not only a creative force, Lucas is quite the successful businessman as well, as evidenced by his fortune of roughly $3.6 billion. His visual-effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, was founded in 1975 and remains one of the go-to shops for special effects, used by the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean movies and others. Under Lucas's sizable corporate umbrella are Skywalker Sound -- a sound effects firm -- video game company LucasArts, and Lucas Licensing, which owns the rights to the Star Wars characters.
Spielberg is "only" worth $3.0 billion, but has more Oscar gold to his credit, with three wins, for directing Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List, and producing the latter. Spielberg has been nominated four additional times as a director (Close Encounters of the Third Kind; E.T.; Raiders of the Lost Ark; and Munich) and four times as a producer (E.T.; The Color Purple, Saving Private Ryan; and Letters from Iwo Jima). And there are plenty of people who still believe Ryan was suspiciously robbed of Best Picture honors by Shakespeare in Love, but that's neither here nor there.
While Lucas has stepped back from the camera a bit, focusing on new technologies, Spielberg continues to plug along in Hollywood. This year alone, he served as an executive producer of the television show "On the Lot" and the summer blockbuster Transformers. Contrary to Lucas's continued devotion to his various companies, Spielberg has unloaded his interest in DreamWorks, finalizing a sale to Paramount Pictures in early 2006.
Though some might believe that the two men are in constant comparison with one another, any competition is friendly. The two are teaming up again next year to work on the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise.
Vote in our poll for Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, and let us know in the comments why your choice has the financial edge in this match-up. Also be sure to check out our other Money Face-Offs.