THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Watts turned out two of the most critically acclaimed studio tentpoles of the year: X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Both prequels defied the naysayers and revived key franchises.
Rupert Wyatt's Planet of the Apes earned $476.4 million worldwide, and Matthew Vaughn's First Class grossed $353.6 million. "I work really hard up until the last moment to give directors everything they need. I work for the movies first and foremost, and it's a hell of a lot easier when you have great filmmakers," Watts, 41, says.
Her sophisticated if slightly bookish style is reflected in her movies, as is her penchant for working with up-and-coming directors. Born in England, Watts moved to Canada when she was 5 years old with her mother, a nurse's union rep, and her father, a management consultant. She got her start working with the late photographer Herb Ritts on music videos and later became a production executive at Oliver Stone's shop, where she spent 14 years, working on films including U-Turn (1997) and Any Given Sunday (1999). (Stone and Watts were recently reunited when Fox made Stone's sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.)
Watts arrived at Fox as a creative executive and quickly rose through the ranks. She's got a lot to manage these days, between her job and two small children, a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter (her husband, Jonathan Krauss, also is in the biz and works for Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski). "The juggle is substantial, but it makes you better at everything," she says.
In the early evening, Watts enforces a BlackBerry-free zone so as to spend uninterrupted time with her kids. "Once they go to bed, the Berry is back on and the scripts come out."
At work, she's gearing up for the studio's next big release: Cameron Crowe's buzzy Christmas family film We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
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