How Peter Jackson gained power in 2004
His $20 million paycheck for King Kong sent shock waves through Hollywood. No director — not Spielberg, not Cameron — has ever been paid such a huge up-front salary. But then, given The Return of the King’s billion-dollar gross (and its 11-for-11 win at the Oscars), Universal may have bought itself a bargain (the money also covers Jackson’s producing and writing fees). Still, it’s a groundbreaking precedent, making Jackson the current 800-ton gorilla of filmmakers.