6 Comments

Billion Dollar Grossing Directors Who Are Not “Brand Names”

According to Box Office Mojo, there are 87 directors whose collective films have earned over a billion dollars worldwide, yet many of these directors live in obscurity while others have become celebrities thanks to their film careers.  The so-called “brand name” filmmakers have a large following and are generally household names: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Michael Bay, Quentin Tarantino, and so forth.  Some directors who only have a few movies to their names are marketed as commodities, such as J.J. Abrams, Bryan Singer, Jon Favreau, and Judd Apatow, while others like Bret Ratner, McG, Zack Snyder, M. Night Shyamalan, and David Yates have to live down a perceived bad reputation among fans.  “Brand name” directors might have distinctive visual styles, had fame previous to becoming directors, or have become infamous due to the films they made.  In all cases, their names have become known as much as their films or are synonymous with a genre of film.

What’s the difference between a “brand name” director and one who is successful yet remains mostly anonymous?  One litmus test is in the advertisements for an upcoming movie–if it screams the director’s name, then they’re cashing in on the fact that everyone knows this person, but if it just says “from the director of [insert previous hit movie here],” then the director has yet to reach celebrity status despite his or her box office success.  During the movies, their names flash by on screen (usually twice) and are promptly forgotten by the audience.  By looking at these directors and their filmology, it is surprising what movies have contributed to a billion dollars earned in ticket sales around the world.

Betty Thomas

$1,011,461,528 worldwide gross box office receipts*

$563,321,488 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
  2. John Tucker Must Die
  3. I Spy
  4. 28 Days
  5. Doctor Dolittle
  6. Private Parts
  7. The Brady Bunch Movie

Andrew Davis

$1,011,461,528 worldwide gross box office receipts

$571,811,414 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Guardian
  2. Holes
  3. Collateral Damage
  4. A Perfect Murder
  5. Chain Reaction
  6. Steal Big, Steal Little
  7. The Fugitive
  8. Under Siege
  9. The Package
  10. Above the Law
  11. Code of Silence
  12. The Final Terror
  13. Stony Island

Adam Shankman

$1,050,194,839 worldwide gross box office receipts

$804,662,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Bedtime Stories
  2. Hairspray (2007)
  3. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
  4. The Pacifier
  5. Bringing Down the House
  6. A Walk to Remember
  7. A Walk to Remember

Andy Tennant

$1,057,246,027 worldwide gross box office receipts

$786,322,800 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Bounty Hunter
  2. Fool’s Gold
  3. Hitch
  4. Sweet Home Alabama
  5. Anna and the King
  6. Ever After: A Cinderella Story
  7. Fools Rush In
  8. It Takes Two

Peter Segal

$1,085,700,314 worldwide gross box office receipts

$774,428,153 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Get Smart
  2. The Longest Yard
  3. 50 First Dates
  4. Anger Management
  5. The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
  6. My Fellow Americans
  7. Tommy Boy
  8. The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

David Silverman

$1,128,870,346 worldwide gross box office receipts

$635,351,700 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Simpsons Movie
  2. Monsters, Inc. (co-director)
  3. The Road to El Dorado

.

Phillip Noyce

$1,133,442,151 worldwide gross box office receipts

$522,061,568 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Salt
  2. Catch a Fire
  3. Rabbit-Proof Fence
  4. The Quiet American
  5. The Bone Collector
  6. The Saint
  7. Clear and Present Danger
  8. Sliver
  9. Patriot Games
  10. Blind Fury
  11. Dead Calm
  12. Echoes of Paradise

Nancy Meyers

$1,157,187,942 worldwide gross box office receipts

$715,894,500 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. It’s Complicated
  2. The Holiday
  3. Something’s Gotta Give
  4. What Women Want
  5. The Parent Trap

.

Justin Lin

$1,169,129,669 worldwide gross box office receipts

$473,183,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Fast Five
  2. Fast and Furious
  3. Finishing the Game
  4. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  5. Annapolis
  6. Better Luck Tomorrow

.

Edward Zwick

$1,227,358,789 worldwide gross box office receipts

$463,213,015 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Love and Other Drugs
  2. Defiance
  3. Blood Diamond
  4. The Last Samurai
  5. The Siege
  6. Courage Under Fire
  7. Legends of the Fall
  8. Leaving Normal
  9. Glory
  10. About Last Night…

Kelly Asbury

$1,236,369,967 worldwide gross box office receipts

$614,474,034 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Gnomeo and Juliet
  2. Shrek 2
  3. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Pete Docter

$1,256,709,341 worldwide gross box office receipts

$660,553,600 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Up
  2. Monsters, Inc.

.

.

Michael Apted

$1,262,602,036 worldwide gross box office receipts

$568,918,446 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  2. Amazing Grace
  3. Enough
  4. Enigma
  5. The World Is Not Enough
  6. Extreme Measures
  7. Nell
  8. Blink
  9. Thunderheart
  10. Class Action
  11. Gorillas in the Mist
  12. Critical Condition
  13. Firstborn
  14. Gorky Park
  15. Continental Divide
  16. Coal Miner’s Daughter
  17. Agatha

Mike Mitchell

$1,285,182,106 worldwide gross box office receipts

$512,402,513 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
  2. Shrek Forever After
  3. Sky High
  4. Surviving Christmas
  5. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

.

Eric Darnell

$1,308,338,888 worldwide gross box office receipts

$584,043,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  2. Madagascar
  3. Antz

.

.

Jan DeBont

$1,343,244,274 worldwide gross box office receipts

$568,649,082 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
  2. The Haunting
  3. Speed 2: Cruise Control
  4. Twister
  5. Speed

.

Chris Miller

(Not to be confused with the director of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street)

$1,347,918,666 worldwide gross box office receipts

$516,542,100 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Puss in Boots
  2. Shrek the Third

.

Rob Cohen

$1,352,883,090 worldwide gross box office receipts

$812,026,200 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  2. Stealth
  3. XXX
  4. The Fast and the Furious
  5. The Skulls
  6. Daylight
  7. Dragonheart
  8. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
  9. Scandalous
  10. A Small Circle of Friends

Tom McGrath

$1,458,466,790 worldwide gross box office receipts

$577,870,400 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Megamind
  2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  3. Madagascar

.

Chris Weitz

$1,521,040,539 worldwide gross box office receipts

$529,995,300 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. A Better Life
  2. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  3. The Golden Compass
  4. About a Boy
  5. Down to Earth
  6. American Pie (uncredited)

Stephen Sommers

$1,530,213,382 worldwide gross box office receipts

$971,068,100 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
  2. Van Helsing
  3. The Mummy Returns
  4. The Mummy
  5. Deep Rising
  6. The Jungle Book (1994)
  7. The Adventures of Huck Finn
  8. Catch Me If You Can (1989)

Dennis Dugan

$1,541,960,650 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,202,846,900 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Jack and Jill
  2. Just Go With It
  3. Grown Ups
  4. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
  5. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
  6. The Benchwarmers
  7. National Security
  8. Saving Silverman
  9. Big Daddy
  10. Beverly Hills Ninja
  11. Happy Gilmore
  12. Brain Donors
  13. Problem Child

Joe Johnston

$1,565,854,352 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,170,332,400 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. The Wolfman
  3. Hidalgo
  4. Jurassic Park III
  5. October Sky
  6. Jumanji
  7. The Pagemaster
  8. The Rocketeer
  9. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Rob Marshall

$1,566,890,302 worldwide gross box office receipts

$545,042,900 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  2. Nine
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha
  4. Chicago

.

Raja Gosnell

$1,579,784,400 worldwide gross box office receipts

$929,912,200 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Smurfs
  2. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
  3. Yours, Mine and Ours
  4. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
  5. Scooby-Doo
  6. Big Momma’s House
  7. Never Been Kissed
  8. Home Alone 3

Tom Shadyac

$1,598,108,021 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,359,079,700 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. I Am
  2. Evan Almighty
  3. Bruce Almighty
  4. Dragonfly
  5. Patch Adams
  6. Liar Liar
  7. The Nutty Professor (1996)
  8. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jay Roach

$1,618,741,562 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,369,577,300 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Dinner for Schmucks
  2. Meet the Fockers
  3. Austin Powers in Goldmember
  4. Meet the Parents
  5. Mystery, Alaska
  6. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  7. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Andrew Stanton

$1,644,659,185 worldwide gross box office receipts

$738,419,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. John Carter (still playing in the theaters as of date of publication)
  2. WALL-E
  3. Finding Nemo

.

Todd Phillips

$1,662,146,756 worldwide gross box office receipts

$967,447,200 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Hangover Part II
  2. Due Date
  3. The Hangover
  4. School for Scoundrels
  5. Starsky and Hutch
  6. Old School
  7. Bittersweet Motel
  8. Road Trip

Jon Turteltaub

$1,682,533,409 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,193,298,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  2. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
  3. National Treasure
  4. Disney’s The Kid
  5. Instinct
  6. Phenomenon
  7. While You Were Sleeping
  8. Cool Runnings
  9. 3 Ninjas

Rob Minkoff

$1,735,088,372 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,148,998,300 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Flypaper
  2. The Forbidden Kingdom
  3. The Haunted Mansion
  4. Stuart Little 2
  5. Stuart Little
  6. The Lion King

Mike Newell

$1,813,022,353 worldwide gross box office receipts

$777,366,000 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  2. Love in the Time of Cholera
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  4. Mona Lisa Smile
  5. Pushing Tin
  6. Donnie Brasco
  7. An Awfully Big Adventure
  8. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  9. Into the West
  10. Enchanted April
  11. Amazing Grace and Chuck
  12. The Good Father
  13. Dance with a Stranger
  14. The Awakening

Martin Campbell

$1,899,192,701 worldwide gross box office receipts

$924,407,200 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Green Lantern
  2. Edge of Darkness
  3. Casino Royale
  4. The Legend of Zorro
  5. Beyond Borders
  6. Vertical Limit
  7. The Mask of Zorro
  8. GoldenEye
  9. No Escape
  10. Defenseless
  11. Criminal Law

Shawn Levy

$1,938,917,818 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,070,177,300 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Real Steel
  2. Date Night
  3. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
  4. Night at the Museum
  5. The Pink Panther (2006)
  6. Cheaper by the Dozen
  7. Just Married
  8. Big Fat Liar

Andrew Adamson

$2,568,926,659 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,434,786,600 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. Shrek 2
  4. Shrek

.

Carlos Saldanha

$2,670,686,201 worldwide gross box office receipts

$973,682,400 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Rio
  2. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
  3. Ice Age: The Meltdown
  4. Robots (co-director)
  5. Ice Age (co-director)

.

Lee Unkrich

$2,941,447,665 worldwide gross box office receipts

$1,577,462,900 domestic gross box office receipts adjusted for ticket price inflation

Films directed:

  1. Toy Story 3
  2. Finding Nemo
  3. Monsters, Inc.
  4. Toy Story 2

.

BRAND NAME DIRECTORS NOT LISTED:

The following “brand name” directors all have earned over a billion (in some cases two or three billion) in worldwide box office:

  1. Steven Spielberg
  2. James Cameron
  3. Michael Bay
  4. David Yates
  5. Robert Zemeckis
  6. Chris Columbus
  7. Peter Jackson
  8. Ron Howard
  9. Gore Verbinski
  10. Tim Burton
  11. George Lucas
  12. Roland Emmerich
  13. Sam Raimi
  14. Christopher Nolan
  15. Ridley Scott
  16. Clint Eastwood
  17. John Lasseter
  18. M. Night Shyamalan
  19. Tony Scott
  20. Brad Bird
  21. Richard Donner
  22. Steven Soderbergh
  23. Brett Ratner
  24. Ivan Reitman
  25. David Fincher
  26. Wolfgang Petersen
  27. Garry Marshall
  28. Martin Scorsese
  29. Andrew & Larry (a.k.a. Lana) Wachowski
  30. Barry Sonnenfeld
  31. Jon Favreau
  32. Joel Schumacher
  33. Bryan Singer
  34. Barry Levinson
  35. The Farrelly Brothers
  36. Oliver Stone
  37. John McTiernan
  38. John Woo
  39. Guy Ritchie
  40. Sylvester Stallone
  41. Brian De Palma
  42. McG
  43. Robert Rodriguez
  44. Sydney Pollack
  45. Mike Nichols
  46. J.J. Abrams
  47. Renny Harlin
  48. Michael Mann
  49. Paul Verhoeven

NOTE: Woody Allen barely missed this list with an estimated worldwide gross of $920,000,000, but data on several of his films is missing, so it is possible that he also broke a billion dollars and would therefore be number 50.

*All dollar figures were taken from Boxofficemojo.com.  Worldwide grosses were determined from adding unadjusted domestic grosses with worldwide grosses provided.  Not all motion pictures had worldwide figures.

copyright © 2012 FilmVerse

1057246027

About these ads

6 comments on “Billion Dollar Grossing Directors Who Are Not “Brand Names”

  1. VERY interesting and informative post, Jamie! I think you’re right that a lot of these folks aren’t household names, though cinephiles probably recognize them. I think Todd Philips are becoming more well-known now, and the Pixar directors like Unkrich and Stanton are probably not going to reach ‘brand-name’ status as it’s hard to escape that Pixar umbrella. Like you said in the comment above, people go see the next Pixar film, regardless of the director. It’s amazing how lopsided the amount of male to female filmmakers, oh speaking of which, I think Nancy Meyers are quite well-known amongst female moviegoers, but maybe ’cause there are so few female directors out there.

    • Thanks, Ruth. I was actually hoping Kathryn Bigelow would be on the list, but her movies just haven’t made a whole ton of money. Penny Marshall is another woman who I expected to be up there, but she hasn’t had a hit in a long time, so inflation has kept her down. Another noticeable disconnect is that on this list there is only one Asian director and no black directors. It gets worse if you add in the list at the bottom of the article of brand name directors, but at least there are two more Asians (M. Night Shyamalan and John Woo–sorry, Spike Lee).

      • Well, after seeing what made up the demographics of the Academy (AMPAS), it’s clear that Hollywood is still very much dominated by white males. Yeah, I was quite surprised to see Justin Lin on the list, but wow people do love those Fast & Furious movies!

  2. I think that a lot of these directors not being brand names, though I recognized a lot of them, is because they don’t place a real mark on movies. They are workhorses and serve a producer or a studio instead of being authors trying to tell a story. They don’t write their own stories, develop their characters next to nothing outside of the script and have no vision whatsoever. All they can do is direct a movie, finish it on time and within the budget and in the end that’s what counts for studios. Take Raja Gosnell for instance; all the man does is create kids movies with talking animals. But is there one moment in Scooby Doo or Beverly hills Chihuahua you thought: wow the director really did a great job here?
    People like Michael bay have a certain way of filming, Paul Verhoeven always generates a lot of controversy, Spielberg is just a pretty good director. There are some directors here who directed CG-movies but when you direct those you basically always are overshadowed by company names like Disney and Dreamworks.

    • Yep, absolutely. People go to see the next Pixar film, not the next Lee Unkrich film (though John Lasseter is definitely the name synonymous with Pixar). It’s like Robert Stevenson, who directed a ton of Disney films (including “Mary Poppins”), but I doubt if anyone recognizes him as a director. His name was overshadowed by the studio, and most people probably thought Walt himself directed the films Stevenson helmed. And yes, the “workhorse” directors are definitely ones that can deliver the movie the studios want, but rarely have an artistic vision that marks their movies as their own.

  3. […] the original post here: Billion Dollar Grossing Directors Who Are Not “Brand Names … Share […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: