July 24, 2024

Ferrum College : Iron Blade Online

Complete Canadian News World

John Landau, producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, dies at 63

John Landau, producer of ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, dies at 63

John Landau, the Oscar-winning producer and longtime collaborator of director James Cameron who helped bring three of the highest-grossing films of all time, “Titanic” and the two “Avatar” films, to life, died Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 63.

His family announced his death in a statement issued by Disney Entertainment, and the company did not mention the cause of death.

The decades-long collaboration between Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron has made box-office history. Their first film together, “Titanic,” became the first to gross more than $1 billion worldwide after its release in 1997. Their next film together, the 2009 science-fiction epic “Avatar,” broke the box-office record, taking in $1.84 billion.

Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 11, including Best Picture, which Cameron and Landau shared.

“I can’t act, I can’t write, I can’t do visual effects, so I guess that’s why I produce,” Mr. Landau says. He said in his acceptance speech.

John Landau was born on July 23, 1960, in New York City. His first exposure to filmmaking came through his parents, Eli and Eddie Landau, who together produced ambitious independent films for a wide audience, including adaptations of plays by Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee, and Bertolt Brecht.

Many of these adaptations were released through a subscription service created by Landus called American Film Theater, which gave audiences access to regular screenings of film versions of the plays.

He became executive vice president of film production at 20th Century Fox, overseeing films including “Home Alone” (1990), “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), and “Speed” (1994).

It was around that time that he met Mr. Cameron, who was directing “True Lies” (1994), an action comedy for 20th Century Fox, according to the statement. When Mr. Landau decided to leave the company, Mr. Cameron asked him if he would read the script for a project codenamed “Ice Planet.” That project would become “Titanic” and begin a decades-long partnership.

Titanic was not expected to be a huge box office success. The film runs over three hours and prior to its release there was widespread critical news coverage detailing production delays that cost $200 million, far more than the film’s budget. Budget $110 million.

After the huge success of “Titanic,” Mr. Landau told the Los Angeles Times in 1998 that he felt like “the mayor of the city” during production.

“I had all these staff including heads of different departments like special effects, props and wardrobe who needed help and support – sometimes moral support, sometimes financial support,” Lando said.

When it came to the pressure of going tens of millions of dollars over budget, Mr. Landau said, “It was easy to fight for the things we were asking for because we thought they were necessary to create the initial vision of the film.”

“Most producers make movies on a shoestring budget, not a movie,” Mr. Cameron told the Los Angeles Times, but that’s not the case for Mr. Landau.

See also  Amber Heard closed by judge for jury fraud in Depp's case

“The hardest thing to do is balance the extra expense with the aesthetic gain of the film — you have to tap into the director’s mind to some extent,” Mr. Cameron says. “Lando understood what a filmmaker needed.”

The second film that Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron made together, “Avatar,” grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide and was nominated for nine Oscars. It won for best art direction, best cinematography and best visual effects. A sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is set for release in 2022.

Mr. Landau also served as chief operating officer of Mr. Cameron’s production studio, Lightstorm Entertainment, and was the driving force behind the creation of a Walt Disney World attraction inspired by the “Avatar” film series.

The family statement said Mr. Landau is survived by his wife, Julie Landau, their two children, Jamie and Judy, his two sisters, Tina Landau and Kathy Landau, and his brother, Liz.

In December 2009, shortly before the release of Avatar, Landau told the digital magazine Salon how he justified making such expensive films, saying they gave investors a return on their capital, created jobs, and gave audiences “something they can’t get anywhere else.”

“When people go to see our movie, and we may have spent more money than anybody else, you know what? People get more bang for their buck,” Mr. Landau said. “They don’t pay more to see our movie than they would to see Paranormal Activity.”

He also said he made films for the audience, not for critics or award-winning voters.

See also  Auctioneer admits to helping create fake works posing as Basquiat in Orlando

“We want to entertain people, that’s the first and foremost goal,” Mr. Landau said. “If anything else happens, that’s great. But we want people to enjoy the movies, not just sensory-wise but emotionally.”