Robert Lee Zemeckis (/zəˈmɛkɪs/; born May 14, 1952) is an American director, film producer and screenwriter frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. He first came to public attention in the 1980s as the director of Romancing the Stone (1984) and the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future film trilogy, as well as the live-action/animated comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). In the 1990s he directed Death Becomes Her and then diversified into more dramatic fare, including 1994's Forrest Gump, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director; the film itself won Best Picture. The films he has directed have ranged across a wide variety of genres, for both adults and families.
Zemeckis' films are characterized by an interest in state-of-the-art special effects, including the early use of the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage in Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Forrest Gump, and the pioneering performance capture techniques seen in The Polar Express (2004), Monster House (2006), Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009) and Welcome to Marwen (2018). Though Zemeckis has often been pigeonholed as a director interested only in special effects, his work has been defended by several critics including David Thomson, who wrote that "No other contemporary director has used special effects to more dramatic and narrative purpose."
Zemeckis at the 2015 Tokyo International Film Festival
Robert Lee Zemeckis
May 14, 1952
|Residence||Santa Barbara, California, U.S.|
|Education||University of Southern California (B.F.A., 1973)|
Mary Ellen Trainor
(m. 1980; div. 2000)
Leslie Harter (m. 2001)
Robert Lee Zemeckis was born on May 14, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Rosa (née Nespeca) and Alphonse Zemeckis. His father was Lithuanian-American while his mother was Italian-American. Zemeckis grew up on the south side of the city. He attended a Roman Catholic grade school and Fenger High School. Zemeckis has said "the truth was that in my family there was no art. I mean, there was no music, there were no books, there was no theater... The only thing I had that was inspirational, was television—and it actually was."
As a child, he loved television and was fascinated by his parents' 8 mm film home movie camera. Starting off by filming family events like birthdays and holidays, he gradually began producing narrative films with his friends that incorporated stop-motion work and other special effects. Along with enjoying movies, Zemeckis remained an avid TV watcher. "You hear so much about the problems with television," he said, "but I think that it saved my life." Television gave Zemeckis his first glimpse of a world outside of his blue-collar upbringing; specifically, he learned of the existence of film schools on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After seeing Bonnie and Clyde with his father and being heavily influenced by it, Zemeckis decided that he wanted to go to film school. His parents disapproved of the idea, Zemeckis later said, "But only in the sense that they were concerned... for my family and my friends and the world that I grew up in, this was the kind of dream that really was impossible. My parents would sit there and say, 'Don't you see where you come from? You can't be a movie director.' I guess maybe some of it I felt I had to do in spite of them, too."
Zemeckis first attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and gained early experience in film as a film cutter for NBC News in Chicago during a summer break. He also edited commercials in his home state. Zemeckis applied to transfer from NIU to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California, and went into the Film School on the strength of an essay and a music video based on a Beatles song. Not having heard from the university itself, Zemeckis called and was told he had been rejected because of his average grades. He gave an "impassioned plea" to the official on the other line, promising to go to summer school and improve his studies, and eventually convinced the school to accept him. Arriving at USC that fall, Zemeckis encountered a program that was, in his words, made up of "a bunch of hippies [and] considered an embarrassment by the university." The classes were difficult, with professors constantly stressing how hard the movie business was. Zemeckis remembered not being much fazed by this, citing the "healthy cynicism" that had been bred into him from his Chicago upbringing.
At USC Zemeckis met a fellow student, writer Bob Gale. Gale later recalled, "The graduate students at USC had this veneer of intellectualism...So Bob and I gravitated toward one another because we wanted to make Hollywood movies. We weren't interested in the French New Wave. We were interested in Clint Eastwood and James Bond and Walt Disney, because that's how we grew up." Zemeckis graduated from USC in 1973, and he and Gale cowrote the unproduced screenplays Tank and Bordello of Blood, which they pitched to John Milius, the latter of which was later developed into a film which was released in 1996.
As a result of winning a Student Academy Award at USC for his film A Field of Honor, Zemeckis came to the attention of Steven Spielberg. Spielberg said, "He barged right past my secretary and sat me down and showed me this student film...and I thought it was spectacular, with police cars and a riot, all dubbed to Elmer Bernstein's score for The Great Escape." Spielberg became Zemeckis's mentor and executive produced his first two films, both of which Gale and Zemeckis co-wrote. He later executive produced other Zemeckis films, including the Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), starring Nancy Allen, and Used Cars (1980), starring Kurt Russell, were well-received critically but were commercial failures. I Wanna Hold Your Hand was the first of several Zemeckis films to incorporate historical figures and celebrities into his movies. In the film, he used archival footage and doubles to simulate the presence of The Beatles. After the failure of his first two films, and the Spielberg-directed bomb 1941 in 1979 (for which Zemeckis and Gale had written the screenplay), the pair gained a reputation for writing "scripts that everyone thought were great [but] somehow didn't translate into movies people wanted to see."
As a result of his reputation within the industry, Zemeckis had trouble finding work in the early 1980s, though he and Gale kept busy. They wrote scripts for other directors, including Car Pool for Brian De Palma and Growing Up for Spielberg; neither ended up getting made. Another Zemeckis-Gale project, about a teenager who accidentally travels back in time to the 1950s, was turned down by every major studio. The director was jobless until Michael Douglas hired him in 1984 to direct Romancing the Stone. A romantic adventure starring Douglas and Kathleen Turner, Romancing was expected to flop (to the point that, after viewing a rough cut of the film, the producers of the then-in-the-works Cocoon fired Zemeckis as director), but the film became a sleeper hit. While working on Romancing the Stone, Zemeckis met composer Alan Silvestri, who has scored all his subsequent pictures.
After Romancing, the director had the clout to direct his time-traveling screenplay, which was titled Back to the Future. Starring Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Christopher Lloyd, the 1985 film was wildly successful upon its release, and was followed by two sequels, released as Back to the Future Part II in 1989 and Back to the Future Part III in 1990. Before the Back to the Future sequels were released, Zemeckis collaborated with Disney and directed another film, the madcap 1940s-set mystery Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which painstakingly combined traditional animation and live action; its US$70 million budget made it one of the most expensive films made up to that point. The film was both a financial and critical success and won three Academy Awards. In 1990, Zemeckis commented, when asked if he would want to make non-comedies, "I would like to be able to do everything. Just now, though, I'm too restless to do anything that's not really zany."
In 1992, Zemeckis directed the black comedy Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. Although his next film would have some comedic elements, it was Zemeckis's first with dramatic elements, and was also his biggest commercial success to date, Forrest Gump (1994). Starring Tom Hanks in the title role, Forrest Gump tells the story of a man with a low I.Q., who unwittingly participates in some of the major events of the twentieth century, falls in love, and interacts with several major historical figures in the process. The film grossed $677 million worldwide and became the top-grossing US film of 1994; it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Hanks) and Best Director (for Zemeckis). In 1997, Zemeckis directed Contact, a long-gestating project based on Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name. The film centers on Eleanor Arroway, a scientist played by Jodie Foster, who believes she has made contact with extraterrestrial beings.
In 1999, Zemeckis donated $5 million towards the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts at USC, a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) center. When the Center opened in March 2001, Zemeckis spoke in a panel about the future of film, alongside friends Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Of those (including Spielberg) who clung to celluloid and disparaged the idea of shooting digitally, Zemeckis said, "These guys are the same ones who have been saying that LPs sound better than CDs. You can argue that until you're blue in the face, but I don't know anyone who's still buying vinyl. The film, as we have traditionally thought of it, is going to be different. But the continuum is man's desire to tell stories around the campfire. The only thing that keeps changing is the campfire." The Robert Zemeckis Center currently hosts many film school classes, much of the Interactive Media Division, and Trojan Vision, USC's student television station, which has been voted the number one college television station in the country.
In 1996, Zemeckis had begun developing a project titled The Castaway with Tom Hanks and writer William Broyles, Jr.. The story, which was inspired by Robinson Crusoe, is about a man who becomes stranded on a desert island and undergoes a profound physical and spiritual change. While working on The Castaway, Zemeckis also became attached to a Hitchcockian thriller titled What Lies Beneath, the story of a married couple experiencing an extreme case of empty nest syndrome that was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. Because Hanks' character needed to undergo a dramatic weight loss over the course of The Castaway (retitled Cast Away for release), Zemeckis decided that the only way to retain the same crew while Hanks lost the weight was to shoot What Lies Beneath in between. He shot the first part of Cast Away in early 1999, and shot What Lies Beneath in fall 1999, completing work on Cast Away in early 2000. Zemeckis later quipped, when asked about shooting two films back-to-back, "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone." What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, was released in July 2000 to mixed reviews, but did well at the box office, grossing over $155 million domestically. Cast Away was released that December and grossed $233 million domestically; Hanks received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Chuck Noland.
In 2004, Zemeckis reteamed with Hanks and directed The Polar Express, based on the children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The Polar Express utilized the computer animation technique known as performance capture, whereby the movements of the actors are captured digitally and used as the basis for the animated characters. As the first major film to use performance capture, The Polar Express caused The New York Times to write that, "Whatever critics and audiences make of this movie, from a technical perspective it could mark a turning point in the gradual transition from an analog to a digital cinema."
In February 2007, Zemeckis and Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook announced plans for a new performance capture film company devoted to CG-created, 3-D movies. The company, ImageMovers Digital, created films using the performance capture technology, with Zemeckis directing most of the projects which Disney distributed and marketed worldwide. Zemeckis used the performance capture technology again in his film, Beowulf, to retell the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the same name. It featured Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins. Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote the adaptation with Roger Avary, described the film as a "cheerfully violent and strange take on the Beowulf legend." The film was released on November 16, 2007, to mostly positive reviews.
In July 2007, Variety announced that Zemeckis had written a screenplay for A Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens' 1843 short story of the same name, with plans to use performance capture and release it under the aegis of ImageMovers Digital. Zemeckis wrote the script with Jim Carrey in mind, and Carrey agreed to play a multitude of roles in the film, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge. The film began production in February 2008 and was released on November 6, 2009, to mixed reviews. Actor Gary Oldman also appeared in the film.
In August 2008, Movies IGN revealed in an interview with Philippe Petit that Zemeckis was working with Petit to turn Petit's memoir To Reach the Clouds into a feature film. Zemeckis is an avid supporter of 3-D Digital Cinema and has stated that since the 3-D presentations of Beowulf, all of his future films would be done in 3-D using digital motion capture. He has reportedly backed away from that statement and said that the decision to use 3-D will be on a film-by-film basis.
On August 19, 2009, it was reported that Zemeckis and his company were in talks with Apple Corps Ltd to remake the animated film Yellow Submarine in 3-D once again utilizing performance capture. However, on March 12, 2010, with Zemeckis' biggest Disney ally gone, former chairman Dick Cook, and amid drastic cost-cutting by the new management team, Disney announced that it was ending its relationship with ImageMovers Digital. The studio's final film, 2011's Zemeckis-produced Mars Needs Moms, was the second worst box office failure in history, with a net loss of roughly $130 million. Zemeckis made his return to live-action filmmaking with Flight, a 2012 drama for Paramount, starring Denzel Washington.
On January 31, 2014, it was announced that a stage musical adaptation of Zemeckis' first Back to the Future film was in production. The show will be co-written by original writers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. According to Gale, the musical will be "true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake".
Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox announced in February 2015 that Zemeckis would direct Brad Pitt in Allied, a romantic thriller set during World War II. The film was released on November 23, 2016.
Zemeckis has said that, for a long time, he sacrificed his personal life in favor of a career. "I won an Academy Award when I was 44 years old," he explained, "but I paid for it with my 20s. That decade of my life from film school till 30 was nothing but work, nothing but absolute, driving work. I had no money. I had no life." In the early 1980s, Zemeckis married actress Mary Ellen Trainor, with whom he had a son, Alexander Francis. He described the marriage as difficult to balance with filmmaking, and his relationship with Trainor eventually ended in divorce. On December 4, 2001, he married actress Leslie Harter, with whom he has three children.
Zemeckis is a private pilot who has logged approximately 1,600 hours of flight time as of October 2012. He flies a Cirrus SR20, known for having a parachute that safely lowers the plane to the ground in case of an emergency.
According to campaign donation records, Zemeckis has frequently contributed to political candidates affiliated with the Democratic Party, as well as PACs that support the interests of aircraft owners and pilots, family planning interests, and a group that advocates for Hollywood women.
|1978||I Wanna Hold Your Hand||Yes||Yes||No||Directorial Debut|
|1984||Romancing the Stone||Yes||No||No|
|1985||Back to the Future||Yes||Yes||No|
|1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit||Yes||No||No|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||Yes||Yes||No|
|1990||Back to the Future Part III||Yes||Yes||No|
|1992||Death Becomes Her||Yes||No||Yes|
|1996||Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood||No||story||executive|
|1999||Robert Zemeckis on Smoking, Drinking and Drugging
in the 20th Century: In Pursuit of Happiness
|2000||What Lies Beneath||Yes||No||Yes|
|2004||The Polar Express||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2009||A Christmas Carol||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Doc Brown Saves the World||Yes||Yes||No||Short film|
|2018||Welcome to Marwen||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1992||The Public Eye||Executive producer|
|1995||Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight|
|1996||The Frighteners||Executive producer|
|1999||House on Haunted Hill|
|2003||Matchstick Men||Executive producer|
|2005||House of Wax|
|The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio|
|2006||Monster House||Executive producer|
|2010||Behind the Burly Q||Executive producer|
|2011||Mars Needs Moms|
|Real Steel||Executive producer|
|2012||Bound by Flesh||Documentary;|
|1989/1996||Tales from the Crypt||Yes||Yes|
|1992||Two-Fisted Tales||Yes||No||Segment: "Yellow"|
|2019||Project Blue Book||No||Yes|
|1985||Back to the Future||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|1994||Forrest Gump||Best Director||Won|
|1985||Back to the Future||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|1994||Forrest Gump||Best Director||Won|
|1985||Back to the Future||Best Screenplay||Nominated|
|1994||Forrest Gump||Best Director||Won|
|1985||Back to the Future||Best Director||Nominated|
|1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit||Won|
|1990||Back to the Future Part III||Nominated|
|1992||Death Becomes Her||Nominated|
|2000||What Lies Beneath||Nominated|
|Year||Film||Academy Awards||BAFTA Awards||Golden Globe Awards|
|1984||Romancing the Stone||1||2||2|
|1985||Back to the Future||4||1||5||4|
|1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit||7||3||5||1||2|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||1||1|
|1992||Death Becomes Her||1||1||1||1||1|
|2004||The Polar Express||3||1||1|
A Christmas Carol is a 2009 American 3D computer animated motion-capture dark fantasy film written, co-produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's 1843 story of the same name and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge. The film also features supporting roles voiced by Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright, and Cary Elwes.
The film was released in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D on November 3, 2009, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It received its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching-on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, which in 2009 had a Dickens theme. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its visuals and the performances of Carrey and Oldman, but criticized its dark tone. It earned $325.3 million on a $175–200 million budget. The film was produced through the process of motion capture, a technique Zemeckis used in his previous films The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).It is Disney's third film retelling of A Christmas Carol, following 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol and 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol.Alan Silvestri
Alan Anthony Silvestri (born March 26, 1950) is an American composer and conductor known for his film and television scores.
He is best known for his frequent collaboration with Robert Zemeckis, composing for such major hit films as the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Cast Away, and Forrest Gump, as well as the superhero films Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Avengers: Infinity War. His other film scores include Predator and its sequel Predator 2, The Abyss, Stuart Little, The Mummy Returns, Lilo & Stitch, Night at the Museum, and Ready Player One. He is a two-time Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee, and a three-time Saturn Award and Primetime Emmy Award recipient.Allied (film)
Allied is a 2016 British-American war thriller film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer and Marion Cotillard as a French Resistance fighter and collaborator who fall in love while posing as a married couple during a mission in Casablanca. Jared Harris, Simon McBurney and Lizzy Caplan also star.
Principal photography began in February 2016 in London. The film premiered in London on November 21, 2016 and was released in the United States on November 23, 2016 by Paramount Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics, although Pitt and particularly Cotillard's performances were praised, and grossed $120 million worldwide. It also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.Arthur Schmidt (film editor)
Arthur Robert Schmidt (born June 17, 1937) is an American film editor with about 27 film credits between 1977 and 2005. Schmidt has had an extended collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis from Back to the Future (1985) to Cast Away (2000).
Schmidt is the son of film editor Arthur P. Schmidt; it is said that the son's education in editing began when he watched his father editing the film Sunset Boulevard (1950). Schmidt graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor's degree in English.
Schmidt received the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and Forrest Gump (1994). In addition to these Oscars, Schmidt has won several "Eddies" from the American Cinema Editors for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (with Craig Wood and Stephen E. Rivkin, 2003), Forrest Gump, and for a television special The Jericho Mile (1979). He has been nominated for major editing awards (including the BAFTA Award for Best Editing) for Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), Back to the Future (with Harry Keramidas, 1985), The Last of the Mohicans (with Dov Hoenig, 1992), and Cast Away (2000). He was the executive producer for The Labyrinth (2010).Schmidt received the 2009 American Cinema Editors Career Achievement Award, which was presented to Schmidt by Robert Zemeckis.Back to the Future
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. It stars Michael J. Fox as teenager Marty McFly, who accidentally travels back in time to 1955, where he meets his future parents and becomes his mother's romantic interest. Christopher Lloyd portrays the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, inventor of the time-traveling DeLorean, who helps Marty repair history and return to 1985.
Zemeckis and Gale wrote the script after Gale wondered whether he would have befriended his father if they had attended school together. Film studios rejected it until the financial success of Zemeckis' Romancing the Stone. Zemeckis approached Steven Spielberg, who agreed to produce the project at Amblin Entertainment, with Universal Pictures as distributor. Fox was the first choice to play Marty, but he was busy filming his television series Family Ties, and Eric Stoltz was cast; after the filmmakers decided he was wrong for the role, a deal was struck to allow Fox to film Back to the Future without interrupting his television schedule.
Back to the Future was released on July 3, 1985 and it grossed over $381 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1985. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, and the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing. It received three Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy). In 2007, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in June 2008 the American Film Institute's special AFI's 10 Top 10 designated it the 10th-best science fiction film. The film began a franchise including two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), an animated series, theme park ride, and several video games.Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Bob Gale. It is the sequel to the 1985 film Back to the Future and the second installment in the Back to the Future trilogy. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, and Lea Thompson. In the plot, Marty McFly (Fox) and his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Lloyd) travel to 2015, where bully Biff Tannen (Wilson) steals Doc's DeLorean time machine and uses it to alter history for the worse.
The film was produced on a $40-million budget and was filmed back to back with its sequel, Part III. Filming began in February 1989 after two years were spent building the sets and writing the scripts. Two actors from the first film, Crispin Glover and Claudia Wells, did not return. While Elisabeth Shue was recast in the role of Wells's character, Jennifer, Glover's character, George McFly, was not only minimized in the plot, but also was obscured and recreated with another actor. Glover successfully sued Zemeckis and Gale, changing how producers can deal with the departure and replacement of actors in a role. Back to the Future Part II was also a ground-breaking project for effects studio Industrial Light & Magic (ILM): In addition to digital compositing, ILM used the VistaGlide motion control camera system, which allowed an actor to portray multiple characters simultaneously on-screen without sacrificing camera movement.
Back to the Future Part II was released by Universal Pictures on November 22, 1989. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $331 million worldwide, making it the third-highest-grossing film of 1989.Back to the Future Part III
Back to the Future Part III is a 1990 American science fiction Western comedy film and the third and final installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson and Lea Thompson. The film continues immediately following Back to the Future Part II (1989); while stranded in 1955 during his time travel adventures, Marty McFly (Fox) discovers that his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, trapped in 1885, was killed by Biff Tannen's great-grandfather Buford. Marty travels to 1885 to rescue Doc.
Back to the Future Part III was filmed in California and Arizona, and was produced on a $40 million budget back-to-back with Part II. Part III was released in the United States on May 25, 1990, six months after the previous installment. Part III earned $244.5 million worldwide, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1990.Cast Away
Cast Away is a 2000 American survival drama film directed and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Nick Searcy. The film depicts a FedEx employee marooned on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific and his attempts to survive on the island using remnants of his plane's cargo.
The film was released on December 22, 2000. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $429 million worldwide, with Hanks being nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards.Contact (1997 American film)
Contact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name; Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote the story outline for the film.
Jodie Foster portrays the film's protagonist, Dr. Eleanor "Ellie" Arroway, a SETI scientist who finds strong evidence of extraterrestrial life and is chosen to make first contact. The film also stars Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, John Hurt, Angela Bassett, Rob Lowe, Jake Busey and David Morse.
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan began working on the film in 1979. Together, they wrote a 100+ page film treatment and set up Contact at Warner Bros. with Peter Guber and Lynda Obst as producers. When development stalled on the film, Sagan published Contact as a novel in 1985 and the film adaptation was rejuvenated in 1989. Roland Joffé and George Miller had planned to direct it, but Joffé dropped out in 1993 and Warner Bros. fired Miller in 1995. Robert Zemeckis was eventually hired to direct, and filming for Contact lasted from September 1996 to February 1997. Sony Pictures Imageworks handled most of the visual effects sequences.
The film was released on July 11, 1997. Contact grossed approximately $171 million in worldwide box office totals. The film won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and received multiple awards and nominations at the Saturn Awards.Don Burgess (cinematographer)
Don Michael Burgess, , (born May 28, 1956) is an American cinematographer who was nominated for the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography for Forrest Gump (1994), directed by frequent collaborator Robert Zemeckis. Burgess was Director of Photography for films including Cast Away (2000), Spider-Man (2002), The Polar Express (2004) Enchanted (2007), Source Code (2011), The Muppets (2011), The Conjuring 2 (2016), and Aquaman (2018). He studied at the ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles.Flight (2012 film)
Flight is a 2012 American drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by John Gatins. It stars Denzel Washington as William "Whip" Whitaker Sr., an alcoholic airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after it suffers an in-flight mechanical failure, saving nearly everyone on board. Immediately following the crash, he is hailed a hero, but an investigation soon leads to questions that put the captain in a different light.
This film is inspired by the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. A box office success generating positive reviews, Flight is the first live-action film directed by Zemeckis since Cast Away and What Lies Beneath in 2000, and his first R-rated film since Used Cars in 1980. The film was nominated twice at the 85th Academy Awards, for Best Actor (Washington) and Best Original Screenplay (Gatins).I Wanna Hold Your Hand (film)
I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a 1978 American comedy film directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, which takes its name from the 1963 song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles. It was produced and co-written by Bob Gale.
The film is about "Beatlemania" and is a fictionalized account of the day of the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964). It was released in 1978 by Universal Pictures.
The film is the feature film directorial debut of Robert Zemeckis and also the first film that Steven Spielberg executive produced. Even though modestly budgeted, in order to convince Universal to bankroll it, Spielberg had to promise studio executives that, if Zemeckis was seen to be doing a markedly poor job, he would step in and direct the film himself.Despite positive previews and critical response, the film was not a financial success and was considered a flop, unable to recoup its rather modest $2.8 million budget. Zemeckis later said, "One of the great memories in my life is going to the preview. I didn't know what to expect [but] the audience just went wild. They were laughing and cheering. It was just great. Then we learned a really sad lesson....just because a movie worked with a preview audience didn't mean anyone wanted to go see it."Over a year later, in December 1979, four of the film's stars—Bobby DiCicco, Wendie Jo Sperber, Nancy Allen and Eddie Deezen—appeared in the Spielberg-directed comedy film 1941, which was also written by Gale and Zemeckis. Susan Kendall Newman, who played Janis Goldman, is the daughter of Paul Newman and Jackie Witte.ImageMovers
ImageMovers is an American independent film production company founded by director Robert Zemeckis and producers Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey in 1997. The company is known for producing such films as Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000) and The Polar Express (2004). From 2007 to 2011, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers founded a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital which produced two performance captured animated films: A Christmas Carol (2009) and Mars Needs Moms (2011) for Walt Disney Pictures.Romancing the Stone
Romancing the Stone is a 1984 American romantic comedy-adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Diane Thomas. The film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, and was followed by a 1985 sequel titled The Jewel of the Nile.
Romancing the Stone earned over $86 million worldwide at the box office. It also helped launch Turner to stardom, reintroduced Douglas to the public as a capable leading man, and gave Zemeckis his first box-office success.The Polar Express (film)
The Polar Express is a 2004 American 3D computer-animated film based on the 1985 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, who also served as one of the executive producers on the film. Directed, co-written and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis, the film features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation. The film tells the story of a young boy who, on Christmas Eve, sees a mysterious train bound for the North Pole stop outside his window and is invited aboard by its conductor. The boy joins several other children as they embark on a journey to visit Santa Claus preparing for Christmas.
The film stars Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen, with Tom Hanks in six distinct roles. The film also included a performance by Tinashe at age 9, as the CGI-model for the female protagonist.
Castle Rock Entertainment produced the film in association with Shangri-La Entertainment, ImageMovers, Playtone, and Golden Mean for Warner Bros. Pictures, as Castle Rock's first animated production. The visual effects and performance capture were done at Sony Pictures Imageworks. The film was made with a budget of $165 million, a record-breaking sum for an animated feature at the time.
The film was released in both conventional and IMAX 3D theaters on November 10, 2004. It grossed $310.6 million worldwide, and was later listed in the 2006 Guinness World Book of Records as the first all-digital capture film. The film also marks Michael Jeter's last acting role before his death, and the film was thus dedicated to his memory.The Walk (2015 film)
The Walk is a 2015 American 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Christopher Browne and Zemeckis. It is based on the story of 24-year-old French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz and Steve Valentine.
The film was released by TriStar Pictures on September 30, 2015, in the United States in IMAX 3D, and on October 9 in regular 2D and 3D. It was dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks.Used Cars
Used Cars is a 1980 American satirical black comedy film written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale and directed by Zemeckis. Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) is a devious car salesman working for affable but monumentally unsuccessful used car dealer Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden). Luke's principal rival, located directly across the street, is his more prosperous brother, Roy L. Fuchs (also played by Warden), who is scheming to take over Luke's lot. The film also stars Deborah Harmon and Gerrit Graham, and the supporting cast includes Frank McRae, David L. Lander, Michael McKean, Joe Flaherty, Al Lewis, Dub Taylor, Harry Northup, Dick Miller, and Sarah Wills.
Steven Spielberg and John Milius act as executive producers on the project, while the original musical score was composed by Patrick Williams. Filmed primarily in Mesa, Arizona, the film was released on July 11, 1980.
Although not a box office success at the time, it has since developed cult film status due to its dark, cynical humor and the Zemeckis style. It was marketed with the tagline "Like new, great looking and fully loaded with laughs." It was the only Zemeckis film to be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America until Flight in 2012.Welcome to Marwen
Welcome to Marwen is a 2018 American drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the script with Caroline Thompson. It is inspired by Jeff Malmberg's 2010 documentary Marwencol. The film stars Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis, Siobhan Williams and Neil Jackson, and follows the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man struggling with PTSD who, after having his memory erased from being physically assaulted, creates a fictional village to ease his trauma.
The film was released in the United States by Universal Pictures on December 21, 2018. Critics lamented the inconsistent tone and screenplay, although the visuals received some praise; the film was also a box office bomb, with projected losses for the studio running as much as $60 million.What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath is a 2000 American supernatural horror film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It was the first film by the film studio ImageMovers. It stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as a couple who experience a strange haunting of their home. The film opened in 2,813 theaters in North America, and grossed $291 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the tenth-highest grossing film of the year. It received mixed reviews, but was nominated for three Saturn Awards.