Megan Ellison, one of Hollywood’s newest power brokers, has already made an outsized impression. Over the past three years, Ellison has financed a baker’s dozen films that have garnered 35 Oscar nominations, including 17 on Thursday for films she helped finance: David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster.”
Daughter of Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison, the 27-year-old film producer and financier is part of a growing group of young entrepreneurs with deep pockets who are shifting the way Hollywood is bankrolling movies. Backing such high-risk, high-profile pictures as “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Master” that were passed over by the major studio, has led Ellison and her company, Annapurna Pictures, to become among the most sought-after producers in the business.
Her mid-budgeted films, the $42 million “The Master,” the $45 million “Zero Dark Thirty” and the $40 million “American Hustle,” have collectively grossed over $290 million at the worldwide box office.
Ellison has also committed to resurrecting one of Hollywood’s most profitable film franchises, “The Terminator.” In 2012, she shelled out $20 million in order to secure the rights to future “Terminator” projects and star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Writers and directors are also attracted to the young scion for her hands-off approach, championing auteur directors such as Jonze, Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Her overwhelming wealth – her father’s net worth is $41 billion according to Forbes (making him the third-richest American behind Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) – is also a major attraction.
Although she has a sizable pocketbook, Ellison lacks a formal business education and dropped out of USC film school after less than a year. That doesn’t prevent her from single-handedly getting movies into production.
On Thursday, in the wake of the nominations announcement, the press-shy Ellison (who has never granted a personal interview) simply tweeted “17,” a bold but effective statement.