Chris Columbus (filmmaker)

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Chris Columbus
Born Chris Joseph Columbus
September 10, 1958 (1958-09-10) (age 55)
Spangler, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, producer, director
Years active 1984–present
Spouse Monica Devereux (1983–present)

Chris Joseph Columbus[1] (born September 10, 1958) is an American movie director, producer and screenwriter. His most successful movies are Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Home Alone.

Early life[change | change source]

Columbus was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. He is the son of Mary Irene (née Puskar) and Alex Michael Columbus.[2][3][4] Columbus is of Italian and Czech descent.[5] He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio and from New York University's movie school at the Tisch School of the Arts.

Career[change | change source]

Columbus worked as a screenwriter with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Productions, working on Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). He wrote the first episodes of the animated series Galaxy High (1986) and later made his directorial debut with the teen comedy Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Heartbreak Hotel (1988).

His directorial work includes Home Alone (1990), Only the Lonely (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Nine Months (1995), Stepmom (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Rent (2005), I Love You Beth Cooper (2009) and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010).

Columbus founded his production company named 1492 Pictures in 1995, intended as a play to Columbus's more famous namesake, Christopher Columbus.

Success and criticism[change | change source]

The character types preferred by Columbus are the everyday American men, women and children who struggle to uphold family traditions against a changing, sometimes intimidating (scary) society.[2] In 1993 he said: "I can understand the validity of showing people the ugliness of the world, but I also think there is a place for movies to leave people with a sense of hope. If your film isn't going to do that, I just don't think it's worth making."[2]

Personal life[change | change source]

Columbus married Monica Devereux in 1983, with whom he had four children: Eleanor, Violet, Brendan, and Isabella. Columbus lives in San Francisco's Pacific Heights, where his children attend or previously attended Saint Ignatius College Preparatory. He donated money to the school for a new building, which is named after him.

Columbus's daughter Eleanor appeared as the character Susan Bones in the two Potter movies he directed, making her one of only two Americans cast as students, along with cousin Robert Ayres (Boy in Study Hall #2 in his second Harry Potter movie). She also appeared as an infant in Home Alone with her grandmother and had a small cameo along with her father in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Two of his other children, Violet and Brendan, appeared in unnamed cameo roles in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Chris and his son also have an uncredited cameo in Rent.

Violet Columbus also appeared in I Love You, Beth Cooper, singing "Forget Me" at the very beginning of graduation and the entire movie itself.

His wife Monica Devereux made a small appearance in Home Alone as the red-headed flight attendant, and in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York as the Plaza telephone operator.

His father-in-law appeared in Home Alone as a Chicago policeman who checks the McAllisters' home to see if Kevin is there.

Filmography[change | change source]

Year Title Writer Producer Director Gross (US$)
1984 Reckless $8 million
Gremlins $153 million
1985 The Goonies $61 million
Young Sherlock Holmes $20 million
1987 Adventures in Babysitting $34 million
1988 Heartbreak Hotel $6 million
1990 Home Alone $286 million
1991 Only the Lonely $22 million
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York $174 million
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire $219 million
1995 Nine Months $70 million
1996 Jingle All the Way $61 million
1998 Stepmom $91 million
1999 Bicentennial Man $58 million
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone $318 million
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets $262 million
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban $250 million
Christmas with the Kranks $74 million
2005 Fantastic Four $155 million
Rent $29 million
2006 Night at the Museum $251 million
2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer $132 million
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $177 million
I Love You, Beth Cooper $15 million
2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief $86 million
The Last Campaign
2011 The Help
Will Sebastian
Welcome to Hoxford
The Graveyard Book
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom
2013 Killer Pizza

References[change | change source]