The 30 Most Powerful Film Producers in Hollywood

5:25 PM 4/13/2015

by THR Staff

Yes, the film world’s one-time cush deals can be seen these days only in the rearview mirror. But great content is still the secret sauce for the studios and their bottom-line corporate owners as the industry’s convulsions create a new class of players who can keep everything from a mega-franchise like 'Transformers' to an idiosyncratic Oscar winner (hello, 'Birdman'!) on track.

Illustration by: Wren McDonald
Full List
  • Full List
  • A-F
  • G-L
  • M-R
  • S-Z
  • Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form

    Platinum Dunes

    With a combination of big-budget, high-testosterone movies (Transformers, which Bay, 50, produces with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura) and low-budget genre hits (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Purge), Bay and his longtime partners have become a moviemaking machine. They rarely are in one place at the same time: Bay operates out of both L.A. and his home base in Miami (where he stays in touch with the team via a digital command center), while Fuller, 49, and Form, 46, stick to Santa Monica (that's when they're not traveling for their various TV series, such as Black Sails and The Last Ship). They've recently launched another Paramount franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which earned $485 million globally in 2014, along with new ventures in the microbudget world that they stepped into just a few years ago when they realized the mid-budget horror genre was dead. After three releases in 2014, they're working on sequels to Ouija and Purge and a reboot of Friday the 13th. " 'No' is never the answer, no matter what," says Form. "There's always a way to get something done."

  • Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner

    Working Title Films

    In their dry, low-key British way, Bevan, 57, and Fellner, 55, have managed to make some of the most original and arresting films of the past 30 years — from 1985's My Beautiful Laundrette to 2012's Les Miserables to last year's The Theory of Everything. They've done it by investing in often-unlikely material like Theory, about British physicist Stephen Hawking and his battle with ALS, which won Eddie Redmayne a best actor Oscar. Those films helped boost the careers of directors Stephen Frears, Tom Hooper and James Marsh, and the company remains unusually auteur-friendly. "Working so far from Hollywood allows us to protect our directors," says the London-based Fellner, who, with Bevan, has had a first-look deal with Universal since 1999. Among the producers' upcoming movies are a few that might add to their nearly $6 billion in box office and 71 Oscar nominations, including the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar!; Sofia Coppola's live-action The Little Mermaid; and, hopefully, the latest in the Bridget Jones saga, Bridget Jones's Baby. Says Fellner, "The good producers are the ones who bite into a bone and won't let go."

  • Jason Blum

    Blumhouse

    In 2000, Blum, 46, moved from New York to L.A. and went from being a razzle-dazzle Miramax exec to a guy schlepping scripts in his crummy Ford Escort. "It was a huge wake-up call," he says. "I went from being at the top of everyone's phone sheet to the bottom. It was one of the toughest times in my life." Now he's riding high, having built a microbudget film empire that kicked off with 2007's Paranormal Activity. Since the $15,000 horror film earned $193 million worldwide, he has birthed such horror franchises as The Purge, Sinister and Insidious. Now he's branching out. He struck a 10-year, multiplatform deal with Universal in 2014; produced the Oscar best picture nominee Whiplash; and was a key player on HBO's much-discussed documentary series The Jinx. Still, he says, scary movies always will be at the core of Blumhouse, which has more than a dozen films primed for release in the next year alone, including Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2 and Jem and the Holograms. "It's a lot easier to hear your own voice when you've had success," he says.

  • Jerry Bruckheimer

    Jerry Bruckheimer Films

    Bruckheimer, 71, has ruled the Hollywood roost as the most prolific and successful producer of the past 20 years (with a thriving TV business to accompany his film empire). Having begun his career partnered with the late Don Simpson, he has endured the occasional setback, most recently when Disney severed its longtime deal with him following the disappointments of 2010's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and 2013's The Lone Ranger. "I wanted to make more of a variety of movies," he says, arguing that the split was his decision (rather than the studio's), partly to make R-rated movies for mature audiences. "We did Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, and they all balance themselves out," he says. It's the Pirates franchise that's now most important for Disney, and Bruckheimer is in production on the fifth, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, with a possible sixth in the offing "if Johnny [Depp] wants to do it." His new home is Paramount, and his three-year deal returns him to the studio where his producing career began with Flashdance and Top Gun (a sequel is being developed). "I had a lot of good luck there," he says, "and I hope it will continue."

  • Dana Brunetti

    Trigger Street Productions

    His contemporary dramas such as The Social Network ($225 million worldwide) and Captain Phillips ($219 million worldwide) have been wildly profitable while also scoring best picture nominations, but Brunetti, 41, laments that he still faces resistance whenever he and Trigger Street partner Kevin Spacey pitch projects in a similar vein. "All the studios want to make now is tentpoles," he says. When it comes to boundary-pushing adult fare, he has found a more receptive buyer in Netflix, which has renewed the Emmy-winning House of Cards for a fourth season. But he can't really complain now that he's found a franchise of his own: The $568 million-grossing Fifty Shades of Grey (which he produced without Spacey). His takeaway: "Find great material that you can be passionate about because producing is like pushing f—ing rocks uphill."

  • Peter Chernin

    Chernin Entertainment

    Together, they typically produce at least two films and as many as four a year for his Fox-based company. (As the former president and COO of News Corp., Chernin had a golden parachute of an exit deal that guaranteed two release slots a year with the studio.) Still, says Chernin, 63, the challenges he faces aren't "any different from when I was running the studio 20 years ago: to corral all the elements — the star, the director — within the budget." Those can range from $43 million for female comedy The Heat to the $140 million spent on the epic Exodus: Gods and Kings. Says Topping, 46, "I feel like the middle has really dropped out, and dramas and thrillers and non-R-rated romantic comedies and all sorts of things that used to exist in that middle zone are much harder to get made." Their prolific pace continues with three releases set for 2016, including Peregrine's Home for Peculiars, with Tim Burton at the helm, and two more in 2017, including an untitled follow-up to their biggest hit, 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which grossed $709 million worldwide.

  • John Davis

    Davis Entertainment

    Just when you thought the indefatigable producer (he's made 99 movies and is itching to get to his 100th) was shifting from film to TV following the whopping success of his NBC series The Blacklist, the laid-back Davis, 60, is about to release three of his most high-profile movies. He got his friend, director David O. Russell, to commit to Joy as his first film after American Hustle — bringing with him Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in a true-life story about a single mom who hits it big when her Miracle Mop takes off on QVC. "[Russell's] the greatest talent magnet I've ever met," says Davis. And he's got a new take on Mary Shelley's antihero in Victor Frankenstein and the long-in-the-works Man From U.N.C.L.E., which opens in August. The Harvard MBA and businessman — whose investments include a pizza company and a joint venture to develop Fox movies as Broadway shows — works from offices in Brentwood, but his heart is at Fox, where he has had a first-look movie deal for 21 years. His father, Marvin, first brought him there after buying the studio, and he's still following Dad's advice to "dream big and don't be afraid of taking outside risks."

  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura

    Di Bonaventura Pictures

    Di Bonaventura, 58, is widely known by his first name alone; if someone mentions "Lorenzo," you know exactly who they mean. A longtime Warners executive, he has spent the past decade as Paramount's go-to guy for big action vehicles such as the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises. The Transformers series alone has generated $3.8 billion at the box office, and he's trying to get Transformers 5 underway, with Bay back in the saddle as director. "We're both pretty straightforward guys who speak bluntly, so we've never had an issue," he says, somewhat improbably. Operating from a vast draftsman's desk that consumes a huge swath of his office, Di Bonaventura is expanding into TV with his television partner Dan McDermott, a former DW and ABC exec, with pilots at Syfy and USA. "The challenge," he says, "is main­taining your family at home and some semblance of life in L.A."

  • Megan Ellison

    Annapurna Pictures

    You know you've arrived when Scott Rudin starts noticing you. Rudin infamously called the young producer "this bipolar 28-year-old lunatic" in a hacked Sony email, to which Ellison, now 29, responded on Twitter, "I always thought of myself more as eccentric." Eccentrically, she bets her own money (a fortune rumored to be as high as $2 billion), much of it entrusted to her by her father, ex-Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, on specialty films and midrange dramas. She also avoids the press, operates from offices in a house high up in the Hills and regularly communicates with her 82,700 Twitter followers. Yet without her, True Grit, The Master and Foxcatcher never would have been, and she has collected three best picture Oscar noms with Zero Dark Thirty, Her and American Hustle, which together have earned $431 million worldwide. She recently signed a two-picture deal with David O. Russell (now in production on Joy) and has hired her own marketing czar, David Kaminow, from Sony. Some wonder whether she's flying too close to the sun, but she has tweeted, "I relate deeply to Jack London's credo. I would rather be ashes than dust."

  • Kevin Feige

    Marvel Studios

    A follow-up to 2012's The Avengers, which grossed $1.5 billion worldwide and became his biggest hit? No sweat. Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1. Making a deal with Sony for the right to use Spider-Man in a Marvel movie? Piece of cake. So what's the toughest challenge he has ever faced? For Feige, it was casting 2008's Iron Man, since the company's future rested on his making the right choice. He was convinced that Robert Downey Jr. could be for Marvel what Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow had become for Disney: the signature face of a giant franchise. But there were lots of raised eyebrows around town because of Downey's past troubles. Feige's intuition proved prescient, though. Ten Marvel movies (seven of which racked up more than $500 million each) and $7.1 billion later, Feige has redefined how Hollywood plots its biggest tentpoles: The current craze for building cinematic universes, in which characters travel from movie to movie, copies the game plan Feige engineered at Marvel. "This was something we could do that none of the other studios could do," says Feige, who went to USC for film before getting his start with an internship at The Donners' Co., run by Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner. "We believed that our creative impulses would lead to a different type of superhero film," he says.

  • Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen

    Temple Hill Entertainment

    The Twilight franchise ($3.34 billion worldwide) turned onetime roommates Godfrey and Bowen's Temple Hill Entertainment into one of the top production companies in town — and also gave them a baptism by fire when they had to make five films, with four directors, in 39 months. "That was all I did, every minute of every day," says Godfrey, 46. "It took an attention to detail and a single-mindedness that you're not always [capable of] as a producer." Since that franchise ended in 2012, he and Bowen, 46, have kept their focus on stories for female audiences with 2014's The Fault in Our Stars and another John Green adaptation, Paper Towns, out in July. Other projects with Fox — where the two recently re-upped their first-look deal — include Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, a follow-up to last year's Maze Runner, and an adaptation of another hot YA book, Marie Lu's The Young Elites.

  • Brian Grazer & Ron Howard

    Imagine Entertainment

    Grazer, 63, may no longer send shivers down the spines of terrified Universal executives the way he once did, but he still carries enough weight to get what he wants, time in and time out. Such was the case when Sony floated the idea of attaching former co-chair Amy Pascal as a producer on the upcoming Inferno, the third in Imagine's series of Dan Brown adaptations, with Howard once again behind the camera. "We were six weeks from starting the movie," says Grazer, who has been partnered with Howard, 61, for three decades, winning a best picture Oscar for A Beautiful Mind along the way, "so we didn't need any extra producers." Now he's moving forward with four 2015 releases — Pele (about the Brazilian soccer great), Rock the Kasbah (a comedy about a rock manager, from director Barry Levinson), In the Heart of the Sea (a 19th century whaling drama that Howard recently wrapped) and Love the Coopers (a dramedy about a dysfunctional family's reunion). Plus, they're making a big splash in TV, where they have the biggest freshman series in 10 years with Fox's Empire. Admits Grazer, "The volcanic success is surprising."

  • Grant Heslov & George Clooney

    Smokehouse Pictures

    The two longtime buddies — they met in acting class more than 30 years ago — didn't spend much time savoring their best picture Oscar victory for 2012's Argo. The morning after the ceremony, they were off to Europe, where they spent the next five months filming The Monuments Men. Although Clooney, 53, has used their Sony-based production company to investigate politics (The Ides of March and the upcoming Our Brand Is Crisis, directed by David Gordon Green, which looks at political consultants who hire themselves out to foreign countries), Heslov, 51, says the only rule they follow when looking for material is that "we try to mix it up and just find something we haven't done before." Next up is the financial thriller Money Monster, with Clooney starring and Jodie Foster directing. As for winning that Oscar, Heslov adds: "It felt like winning the lottery. It will never happen again, and that takes all the pressure off."

  • David Heyman

    Heyday Films

    Just when you'd think Heyman might be resting on his laurels following the success of 2013's Gravity ($716 million worldwide) and January's Paddington ($258 million worldwide), he has embarked on another daunting challenge: bringing J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them to the screen. Few projects matter as much to Warner Bros. — whose Kevin Tsujihara tagged it as a top priority when he was promoted to chairman in 2013 — making Heyman, 53, one of the studio's most important producers, even though he operates from his base in London. He proved he could deliver when he optioned Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (as it then was called) in galleys and ushered along an eight-movie franchise that earned $7.7 billion worldwide at the box office. The son of producers Norma Heyman (Dangerous Liaisons) and John Heyman (The Go-Between), the onetime gofer for David Lean now is reteaming with Potter co-star Emma Watson on The Queen of the Tearling; making an adaptation of the controversial Jesus Christ biography Zealot; and overseeing an adaptation of best-selling novel The Light Between Oceans, with Michael Fassbender as a lighthouse keeper who finds a baby in a shipwrecked lifeboat.

  • Nina Jacobson

    Color Force

    You'd think after surviving four installments of the Hunger Games franchise (the last of which will open in November), anyone would want a rest. But for Jacobson, 49 — a former executive who segued to producing only when she lost her job at Disney in 2006 — the long haul just whetted her appetite for more. She was on the Mockingjay set last summer in Atlanta with Lionsgate's Erik Feig, director Francis Lawrence and screenwriter Peter Craig when "Erik mentioned The Odyssey," she recounts. "It's that essential story from which so many stories have sprung." And so Jacobson, who signed a three-year deal with Fox 2000 in June, is developing an adaptation of Homer's epic tale, along with a host of other projects, including Where'd You Go, Bernadette (which has Richard Linklater directing Maria Semple's novel), Crazy Rich Asians (about three rich Chinese families preparing a massive wedding) and a movie version of Donna Tartt's best-selling novel The Goldfinch (which Jacobson is producing with Brett Ratner). She admits, "As a producer, any time I'm not in production, it makes me nuts."

  • Broderick Johnson & Andrew Kosove

    Alcon Entertainment

    By making financial discipline a hallmark of their privately held company, Johnson, 47, and Kosove, 45, who met as undergraduates at Princeton, found an equity partner in FedEx founder Frederick Smith when they opened their doors in 1997. Initially focusing on family fare and midrange thrillers, they hit it big with the 2009 Oscar-contending The Blind Side — having grossed $309 million worldwide, it's their biggest hit. A long-term deal with Warners guarantees them distribution for the movies they finance. Point Break, a new version of the 1991 surf-noir pic, is due out at Christmas — and with Harrison Ford set to reprise his role in Blade Runner and Ryan Gosling to star, they may even have a franchise in their future.

  • Simon Kinberg

    Genre Films

    Having launched his career with his original screenplay for 2005's Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Kinberg, 41, has become the rare A-list writer to transition to an equally hot producing career. He is keeper of Fox's lucrative X-Men universe, citing 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past (his highest-grossing hit with $748 million worldwide) as his biggest producing challenge. "It was a very ambitious swing to get two casts [X-Men and X-Men: First Class] together to do a time-travel movie that was really complicated," he says. He still writes (Fantastic Four, opening Aug. 7, which he produced as well) and also will wear both producing and writing hats on a 2018 untitled Star Wars stand-alone film. Hollywood's reliance on sequels, remakes and reboots doesn't mean originality is dead, he insists: "So many of my favorite films, whether it's The Godfather: Part II or Empire Strikes Back or Terminator 2, were either sequels or based on other material. The challenge is keeping these films fresh and unique and their own experience and their own event."

  • Roy Lee

    Vertigo Entertainment

    Courtesy of Vertigo Ent.

    Lee, 46, has a secret source for material: his two daughters, Claire, 11, and Lane, 9. They pitched him the idea for three of his upcoming movies — Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy's and Adventure Time — though they weren't behind his biggest hit, 2014's The Lego Movie (produced with Dan Lin). That has set a high bar for the film's sequels, which he currently has in development, but his biggest challenge yet might be the film adaptation of his favorite novel, Stephen King's 1,152-page horror/fantasy novel The Stand, which has gone through various writers and proposed incarnations. Now the Warners film is being designed as a two-parter, with Josh Boone writing the current draft. "I just know if we do it right, we will have the next Lord of the Rings, set in contemporary America," says Lee, whose production pact at Warners runs through 2016.

  • John Lesher

    LBI Entertainment

    As a former agent with one of the best director rosters in the business, Lesher, 48, is a filmmaker-centric producer. And that paid off when former client Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman made its triumphant run for Oscar glory (it also grossed $102 million worldwide on an $18 million budget). Lesher, who served a stint as a top Paramount exec, notes that with so much other media competing for viewers’ time, "you have to make the experience of watching a film in the cinema something unique and special." Next up, he has Scott Cooper’s Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as convicted mobster Whitey Bulger.

  • Dan Lin

    Lin Pictures

    Lin, 41, learned early on how unpredictable a producer’s life can be. After eight years as a Warner Bros. exec — while still an MBA student at Harvard, he interned for Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, whom he regards as a mentor — he was preparing to move his family to Australia to produce his first film, a Justice League movie with George Miller directing, when the Writers Guild went on strike and the movie shut down. "I learned that as a producer you have to be really flexible," says Lin. He went on to projects like Warners’ Sherlock Holmes franchise but really struck it big with last year’s The Lego Movie (which he produced with Roy Lee). His first foray into animation, the megahit grossed $469 million worldwide. While he still juggles live action (an adaptation of Stephen King’s It, directed by Cary Fukunaga, is in the works), he’s got two Lego spinoffs (one with Batman) and a sequel in the pipeline. Plus, he now oversees an office complex called Bricksburg in Hollywood whose tenants include Lego movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Says Lin, "My No. 1 priority as a producer is to create an environment at Bricksburg where artists and creators are willing and able to innovate."

  • Todd Lieberman & David Hoberman

    Mandeville Films

    When Hoberman, 62, left his job as president of Disney’s movie division in 1995, nobody thought the ebullient exec would go on to become one of the studio’s most important producers. Since then, he and Lieberman, 42, who rose up through the international side of the business at Hyde Park and Summit before joining Mandeville in 1999, have overseen one of the most eclectic slates around, with movies ranging from David O. Russell’s The Fighter to the romantic comedy The Proposal to the Muppets franchise. Their pictures have earned more than $1 billion worldwide, and now Disney is counting on them for its high-profile live-action Beauty and the Beast, which stars Emma Watson and opens in March 2017. "What we came up with years ago was: 'It would be great to tell that story from the Beast’s perspective,' but it evolved into, 'Let’s tell it the classic way,' " says Lieberman. Not surprisingly, studio chairman Alan Horn recently re-upped their firstlook deal for another three years. Says Hoberman, "It has to be one of the longest-running deals of all time."

  • Frank Marshall

    The Kennedy/Marshall Co.

    Marshall, 68, mastered the franchise game even before franchises became king: His blue-chip résumé includes the Indiana Jones movies — his biggest is 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with $787 million worldwide — and on June 12, Jurassic World will be open for business. But, he says, "It’s very difficult now to develop stories that aren’t big blockbusters or franchises like we used to be able to do." Case in point, his film Miracle on the Hudson about pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who landed a distressed airplane full of passengers on the Hudson River. "I have an uplifting story, but it may not be dark enough. I’ve taken it all around town. I’m now looking in the independent world," he says of the Todd Komarnicki-penned script. "The darker stories seem to get the traction." In the meantime, he’s reuniting with his old pal Steven Spielberg on The BFG and is about to start a fifth Bourne outing, reteaming Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass.

  • Neil Moritz

    Original Film

    Over Thanksgiving weekend 2013, Moritz, 55, and his family were at the Blackberry Farm resort in Tennessee when he was plunged into the crisis that followed the death of his Furious 7 star Paul Walker. "I’ve made over 50 movies, and if I took all those challenges of all those movies together, this was a bigger challenge than all of those combined," he says. "Not only a financial and a personal and emotional challenge for everybody; the real challenge was that we didn’t tarnish Paul’s legacy." The proof of Moritz’s success came when Universal’s Furious 7 opened April 3 — at press time, it had grossed $1 billion worldwide. Now Moritz (whose Sony-based company has made movies like 21 Jump Street) is moving forward with other projects, including Goosebumps, based on the R.L. Stine kids’ horror book series, which opens in October; and Passengers, a sci-fi love story starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner & Jeremy Kleiner

    Plan B Entertainment

    Having survived a heated battle with Paramount over Plan B’s ultimately successful World War Z, the picky production company founded by Pitt (and at one time run as a co-venture with his then-wife Jennifer Aniston), now is aligned with New Regency and RatPac. Running one of the most daring outfits around, Pitt, 51, Gardner, 47, and recently promoted partner Kleiner, 38, not only saw their 12 Years a Slave win the best picture Oscar in 2014, but then also managed the near impossible by bringing Selma to the screen despite having zero cooperation from the Martin Luther King Jr. estate. "Selma is a celebration of incredible people going beyond what they thought possible," says Kleiner, who might be describing Plan B’s own business plan as it preps such films as a World War Z sequel, to be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, among other projects.

  • Marc Platt

    Marc Platt Productions

    It looked bleak when Platt lost his job as president of production at Universal Pictures in 1998. But since then, he’s soared with movies as various as the Legally Blonde franchise and last year’s musical Into the Woods, which collected $204 million worldwide. Platt, 58, also has made a mark on Broadway, with another mammoth musical, Wicked. And this year might be his most ambitious yet. He’s in post with the Meryl Streep starrer Ricki and the Flash and has the Steven Spielberg Cold War drama Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, hitting theaters in October. He also is about to begin production on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ang Lee’s first film since the global smash Life of Pi. He notes simply, "It’s been an interesting year."

  • Joe Roth

    Roth Films

    "In the 40 years I’ve been [in the business], there’s never been more than 10 people at any given time who can put a movie together who have the taste for material, getting the right director and cast, knowing what budget makes sense," says Roth, 66. He doesn’t count himself in that number, but he doesn’t have to. Whether as an exec at Fox or Disney, as head of his own Revolution Studios (from 2000 to 2007) or now as a truly independent producer (with projects in the works at Disney, Universal and Sony), he’s figured out the formula. His hits have ranged from the $12 million faith-based breakout Heaven Is for Real, which grossed $101 million worldwide, to Disney’s epic fantasy Alice in Wonderland, which passed the $1 billion mark. Most recently, he helped Paula Weinstein and Brian Grazer assemble Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea. He’s got an Alice sequel coming in May 2016, and he’s about to start shooting The Huntsman, a prequel of sorts to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.

  • Charles Roven

    Atlas Entertainment

    Every evening, Roven’s office sends him what he calls his night sheet, a to-do list that’s critical to his overseeing projects that can be taking place simultaneously in wildly scattered time zones. "I print it out and carry it with me," he says. "It’s got many more things on it than I can ever accomplish in one day, but at least it gives me something to attack." At the moment, Roven, 65 — who was part of Christopher Nolan’s $2.5 billion-grossing Batman trilogy and David O. Russell’s Oscar-winning American Hustle — is keeping tabs on Warcraft and Batman v. Superman, both in postproduction; Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and filming in China; and Warners’ supervillain showdown Suicide Squad, which just began shooting in Toronto. "On the first day, I always try to make sure I’m there for the very first setup," he says, though he freely acknowledges he couldn’t oversee so many major movies "without an incredibly supportive team of producing partners."

  • Scott Rudin

    Scott Rudin Productions

    Rudin’s biggest hit, the Mel Gibson thriller Ransom ($309 million worldwide), was released back in 1996, but grosses tell only part of the story. His keen eye for provocative material has resulted in one best picture Oscar, for the Coen brothers’ 2007 No Country for Old Men, and six other noms, most recently for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. "He is absolutely ruthless, but in a good way," says Dana Brunetti, who produced The Social Network and Captain Phillips with Rudin, 56. Having weathered the embarrassing leak of his characteristically blunt email exchanges with former Sony co-chair Amy Pascal, he’s got a typically hyperactive release slate ahead that includes Cameron Crowe’s Aloha on May 29 and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic in October.

  • Scott Stuber

    Bluegrass Films

    A decade after Stuber, 46, stepped down as co-chairman of Universal Pictures — and seven years since he and partner Mary Parent went their separate ways — he remains a staple of Universal’s movie division, responsible for several of its hits (Identity Thief, Ted and Safe House) and several disappointments (Battleship and A Million Ways to Die in the West). His reputation for eclecticism can be seen in his upcoming projects — the Boston Marathon drama Patriot’s Day, starring Mark Wahlberg; CIA comedy Central Intelligence, with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart; Gary Ross’ Civil War drama The Free State of Jones; and Universal’s much-anticipated Ted 2, a follow-up to the midbudget comedy that made $549 million worldwide. Says the married father of two: "You’ve only got your gut and your beliefs. If you come from that place, then at least the journey was authentic."

  • Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher

    Red Wagon Entertainment

    One of the few married couples who jointly produce movies, Wick, 60, and Fisher, 65, have been professionally partnered since 2001, when the latter stepped down from her post as vice chairman of Columbia TriStar Pictures. Since then, they’ve been a formidable pair — conjuring films as varied as Jarhead and Memoirs of a Geisha. Their ability to combine people skills with production know-how has saved movies teetering on the brink of collapse — like Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, which they were able to move from Sony to Warners. Having three daughters also has helped them connect with the YA world, leading to their Divergent series — the second installment, Insurgent, has grossed $251 million worldwide. They’re developing several other female-centric films, including Matriarch and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. They’ve seen it all, right down to a stressed-out cat that couldn’t perform its scene in Stuart Little. Recalls Fisher, "Doug said, 'I don’t know what else could go wrong.' "

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