Who Are the Top-Grossing Screenwriters?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Last year’s strike by writers and actors in Hollywood helped emphasize the immense contribution that writers, especially screenwriters, make to the entertainment industry. As both chance and the calendar would have it, Jan. 5 is National Screenwriters Day.

In recognizing that occasion, BetMaryland.com decided to take a break from covering Maryland sports betting to look at which U.S. states have produced some of the best screenwriters in filmmaking.

We utilized the website, the-numbers.com, to identify the top 100 grossing screenwriters in Worldwide Box Office.

BetMaryland.com – your source for Maryland sports betting apps - then utilized the IMDB’s database to find the birthplace of those 100 screenwriters on the-numbers.com list to determine the states that have produced those top grossing screenwriters.

States with the Best Screenwriters

Overall RankState# of Screenwriters
1New York29
3New Jersey7


Top of List and Maryland’s Best

At top of the list is writer-director James Cameron, whose movies have grossed more than $9.73 billion. Among Cameron blockbusters are “Titanic,” “Avatar” and “Terminator.”

There were three Marylanders on the top 100 grossing list, led at No. 38 by Jeff Pinkner, who went to Pikesville High School near Baltimore. Pinkner is credited with writing that’s contributed to movies with about $3.55 billion in box office, according to the-numbers.com.  Keep in mind, the website offers the following disclaimer: “Since we are still actively researching technical roles, we consider this chart to be in beta mode. The table includes data for movies in The Numbers database. While we make every effort to collect all available data, there are inevitably omissions and errors.”

More information about Pinkner from the website indicates the movies with which he’s been associated, including specific technical roles are: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (screenwriter), “Jumanji: The Next Level” (screenwriter and executive producer) and “Venom” (screenwriter and story creator). A few of Pinkner’s other projects were the TV show “Lost” and the film “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Other Notable Maryland Film Legends

While not appearing on the-numbers.com list, other Marylanders have been responsible for writing well-known scripts, for both the big screen and TV, with which many viewers are familiar.

At the top of such a rollcall would be Baltimore native Barry Levinson (Forest Park Senior High School), who both wrote and directed the quintessential Baltimore movie, “Diner.”  Including “Diner,” Levinson was responsible for four Baltimore-based movies: “Tin Men, Avalon and Liberty Heights.”  He also won an Oscar for directing “Rain Man.” Levinson’s Hollywood associations are a who’s who of the entertainment business. including Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, Robert Redford and many others.

On the avant garde side of show biz is Baltimore County native John Waters (Calvert Hall and Boys’ Latin). Waters’ scripts, such as “Pink Flamingo” and “Polyester,” were followed by the hit “Hairspray.” He also has many acting credits, often playing himself.

Noted for his TV work, David Simon is from Bethesda, Md., a suburb of Washington D.C. Simon, once a reporter at the Baltimore Sun, was responsible for  TV shows, such as “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “The Wire.”

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the World Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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