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27 prolific film producers of the 21st century
Movie stars, along with some directors, have the most recognizable names when it comes to film. Even though the producer, or a team of producers, does some of the most crucial work bringing a movie to the screen from start to completion, they aren’t often household names.
The producer, or production team, organizes every aspect of getting a film made, from script development to funding to shooting to distribution. That’s why a movie’s main producers get nominated when a movie is up for a Best Picture Academy Award—they’re the ones who led the team that made it happen.
To spotlight some of Hollywood’s most prolific producers, Giggster researched the most film producers of the 21st century and highlighted 27 across different genres, budgets, and corners of the film industry with at least 10 feature credits to their names. To count, the film had to credit the producer as either a producer or executive producer.
Read on for the producers with the most credits who are also behind some of the most popular and critically important movies of the past two decades. You’ll be surprised by the range of projects these producers had their hands in creating.
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Jason Blum produced both of writer-director Jordan Peele’s acclaimed horror smashes, “Get Out” and “Us.” One of Blum’s first producing hits was the 2007 found-footage horror film “Paranormal Activity”; he’s since produced the seven films in the franchise through 2021. His significant films in the past decade include “Whiplash,” “Blackkklansman,” “The Invisible Man,” and “The Hunt.”
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Barbara Broccoli has produced all of the modern James Bond movies, starting with 1995’s “GoldenEye,” when the iconic role of 007 transferred from Timothy Dalton to Pierce Brosnan. Broccoli’s family owns Eon, the production company behind the majority of films in the franchise since 1962’s “Dr. No.” In 2006, the Bond role went to Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale,” who held it through the 2021 box office hit “No Time to Die.”
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Jerry Bruckheimer’s highly influential producer credits include the 1980s hits “Flashdance” and “Top Gun,” each with chart-topping pop songs adding to the films’ cultural splashes. In the 1990s Bruckheimer teamed with director Michael Bay, producing stylish action films like 1995’s “Bad Boys,” through its third franchise installment in 2020. Bruckheimer’s biggest hits throughout the 2000s and 2010s are the five ride-based Disney blockbusters making up the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
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John Davis produced every installment from the popular “Predator” film franchise since 1987, including 2022’s “Prey.” Davis’ other production credits include comic strip-inspired films such as the “Garfield” films and 2010’s “Marmaduke,” along with family fare such as “Eragon,” “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” and “Ferdinand.” Davis has also often worked with comedian Eddie Murphy, having produced “Daddy Day Care,” “Norbit,” and 2019’s “Dolemite Is My Name.”
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Denise Di Novi
Denise Di Novi has notably produced film adaptations based on Nicholas Sparks’ novels such as “Nights in Rodanthe” and 2012’s “The Lucky One.” Di Novi also often produces movies with strong female-centered plots including the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” films and the 1994 and 2019 “Little Women” adaptations. She also produced the cult hit “Heathers” in 1989 and several Tim Burton films such as “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
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Lauren Shuler Donner
Lauren Shuler Donner produced the hugely popular “Free Willy” franchise as well as iconic romcoms like 1980’s “Pretty in Pink” and 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.” However, her most prominent producing credit is with the “X-Men” film franchise; Donner produced “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Deadpool,” as well as other major films of the series.
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Megan Ellison produces award-winning films, helming critically acclaimed movies that have broad appeal, including “Booksmart” and “House of Gucci.” She’s received four Academy Award Best Picture nominations for “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Her,” “American Hustle,” and “Phantom Thread.” Ellison also produced Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire.”
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Kevin Feige, the producer behind the Marvel Universe franchise, is responsible for steering some of the most popular films of all time, including 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” and 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” He also received a Best Picture Oscar nomination for “Black Panther.”
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David Fenkel and Daniel Katz
David Fenkel and Daniel Katz started the production company A24 in 2013, which is known for financing celebrated independent films like award-winners “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird.” The company also offers thrillers such as “Uncut Gems,” in which comedian Adam Sandler stars against type. A24 is also the banner and distributor for innovative, standout horror hits “Hereditary” and “Midsommar.”
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Dede Gardner produces critically acclaimed films with social justice themes such as “The Normal Heart,” which focuses on AIDS activism, and “Selma,” set during the civil rights movement. Gardner also produced such riveting dramas as “Minari,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “Okja.” Gardner won Best Picture Oscars for producing “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight.”
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Aaron and Brenda Gilbert
Aaron and Brenda Gilbert are a married team based in Vancouver, Canada, who started Bron Studio in 2010, a company that both finances and produces renowned films often focused on stories that diverge from mainstream action fare. Among their productions include “Bombshell” and “Pieces of a Woman,” which focuses on the experiences of women and garnered acting award nominations for their respective stars. The Gilberts also produced a number of films focused on the stories and experiences of Black people such as “Respect,” “Queen & Slim,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and “Fences.”
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Early in her career, Dana Goldberg produced commercial hits like “Happy Feet” and “I Am Legend.” After taking the helm at Skydance, she’s produced movies in both the “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek” film franchises starting in the 2010s. She’s also produced big-budget action tentpoles of the “Transformers” and “Terminator” series as well as science fiction actioners like “The Tomorrow War” and “The Old Guard.”
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Nina Jacobson shepherds bestselling book adaptations to the screen. She’s the producer behind the hugely popular “Crazy Rich Asians” and its upcoming sequels, which are based on the novel trilogy by author Kevin Kwan. Jacobson also produced the movie adaptations for the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book franchise and helmed the novel adaptations of “The Hunger Games,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as the rebel heroine in a fascist dystopia.
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Kathleen Kennedy has produced some of the most popular movies of all time, having teamed with Steven Spielberg and helmed Lucasfilm. One of her first production credits was for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Kennedy’s earlier hits were “Jurassic Park” and “The Sixth Sense,” and since 2000, such blockbusters as “War of the Worlds” and the “Star Wars” films. She’s also produced several equine-centered films including “War Horse,” “Seabiscuit,” and “The Young Black Stallion.”
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Charles D. King
Since working as executive producer for 2016’s “Fences,” Charles D. King has produced such films as “Mudbound,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Just Mercy,” and “Harriet.” He founded Macro, a company that centers on producing stories by and about people of color. King also produced “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the first Best Picture Oscar nominee with an all-Black team of producers.
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As a producer with both Dreamworks and Amblin Entertainment until 2008, Laurie MacDonald helmed acclaimed films such as “Gladiator” and “Minority Report.” She also produced the blockbuster “Men in Black” franchise as well as popular horror films like “The Ring,” “The Ring Two,” and “Rings.” MacDonald is also known for award-winning, acclaimed films such as 2020’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and the 2018 documentary “Free Solo.”
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Frank Marshall has a storied career as a producer, with early credits including the Indiana Jones picture, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “Poltergeist.” Marshall, who is the husband to producer Kathleen Kennedy (who also makes this list), often partners with Steven Spielberg. Since the 2000s, Marshall has acted as executive producer for the “Jason Bourne” franchise, and produced the latest “Jurassic Park” franchise films, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and 2022’s “Jurassic World Dominion.”
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Producer Adam McKay received a Best Movie Oscar nomination for Netflix’s 2021 star-studded satire “Don’t Look Up,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep, among other powerhouses. McKay got his start as a producer with the comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and went on to produce comedies like “Step Brothers,” “Anchorman II” and “Bachelorette.”
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Mary Parent produced two of the most popular films of 2021 including the award-winning “Dune” and the box office hit “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Parent has produced the “Godzilla” reboots since 2014 and has also shepherded popular children’s films such as 2015’s “SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” and “Detective Pikachu.” Her first producer credit came with the 1996 heist drama “Set It Off.”
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Starting with 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” most of Tyler Perry’s highly popular films center on the recurring character Madea, inspired by both Perry’s mother and aunt. He also writes, directs, and stars in the films he produces, often playing multiple roles. Perry’s films are strong box office draws, despite being panned by critics. Perry, who produced 2009’s critically acclaimed drama “Precious,” opened his own production company, Tyler Perry Studios, in 2019.
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Director Martin Scorsese occasionally produces films he directs such as “The Aviator,” “Shutter Island,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” each starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and 2019’s “The Irishman.” The acclaimed director often acts as executive producer for independent projects such as 2018’s “Diane,” starring Mary Kay Place in a carefully observed drama, and director Joanna Hogg’s arty films, “The Souvenir” and “The Souvenir: Part II.”
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Stacey Sher often works with auteur directors, including Quentin Tarantino on films such as 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hateful Eight.” Sher also produced the Steven Soderbergh-directed dramas “Out of Sight,” “Erin Brockovich,” and the pandemic drama “Contagion.”
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Jenno Topping is best known for producing the acclaimed award winners “Hidden Figures” and “Ford v Ferrari.” She also produced “The Greatest Showman” and several films in the “Planet of the Apes” reboot. She got her start with the two “Charlie’s Angels” films in the early 2000s, and also worked on romance dramas “Country Strong,” “Catch and Release,” and “The Mountain Between Us.”
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Guillermo del Toro
Director Guillermo del Toro also writes and produces films with a distinctive, often surreal and expressionist visual style. He recently directed and produced 2021’s “Nightmare Alley” and is also known for producing horror films such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Crimson Peak,” as well as the stylish noir fantasy “The Shape of Water,” which claimed 2018’s Best Picture title at the Academy Awards.
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Christine Vachon is the producer behind independent films with strong female characters and themes around gender identity such as “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Carol,” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” She also produced director Todd Haynes’ films “I’m Not There” and “Far From Heaven.” Recently she produced the gripping and innovative drama “First Reformed.”
This story originally appeared on Giggster
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