International Filmmaker of the Year: Andrew Adamson

Andrew Adamson, to be feted as international filmmaker of the year at Cinema Expo, may have just three movies to his name, but all three are among the world’s 50 top-grossing films of all time and between them have taken over $2 billion at the box office worldwide.

Add in the billions generated by “Shrek,” “Shrek 2” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” from video, DVD, TV and other ancillary rights, and it is obvious why this New Zealander is cherished as a cash cow.

“Shrek 2” is the third-highest-grossing pic of all time in the U.S. and the sixth highest globally.

But Cinema Expo’s award is chiefly in recognition of the success of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“He has an incredible ability to entertain and delight moviegoers of all ages worldwide,” comments Mitch Neuhauser, co-managing director of Cinema Expo. “He is a fantastic storyteller with talent beyond belief.”

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is up to 23rd in the all-time B.O. charts in the U.S. and 20th globally overall, plus it has become Disney’s biggest-grossing film of all time, overtaking “Toy Story 2.

Since being released on DVD April 4 in the U.S., it has sold more than 11 million units, making it the highest-selling video in the U.S. so far in 2006, a situation being repeated in other markets around the world.

Befitting its filmmaker, who is being honored for his international appeal, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” has grossed nearly 55% more in international markets ($450 million) than it has in America ($291 million).

“Shrek 2” also grossed more in the international territories than it did in the U.S., a reflection of the global appeal of Adamson’s work.

“Andrew is a true visionary at the forefront of the next generation of filmmakers,” says Cary Granat, CEO of Walden Media, the company responsible for the Narnia franchise. “His ability to bridge the gap between imagination and cutting-edge technology made ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ such a magical film.”

Adamson began his career nearly 20 years ago in his native New Zealand as a computer animator. In 1986 he became design director-senior animator at Video Images, where he worked on a variety of broadcast logos and commercials.

In 1991 he joined PDI, now PDI/DreamWorks, where his credits as a visual effects supervisor included “Angels in the Outfield” and “Double Dragon.”

He also worked on the vfx for “True Lies,” “Batman Forever,” and “Batman & Robin,” before being asked to direct “Shrek.”

Adamson has had little rest since completing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” — he’s already in production on “Shrek 3,” due for a May 2007 release, and pre-production on “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” which will reunite most of the principal cast and creative team responsible for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Adamson will not only direct but will also serve as a producer and co-writer. “Prince Caspian” is due out in summer 2008.

“Moviegoers around the world were unanimous in their love and enthusiasm for ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ ” says Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, “and ‘Prince Caspian’ will offer lots of new thrills and adventures in this magical land.”

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