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PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS
THE LIGHTNING THIEF

CHRIS COLUMBUS (Director/Producer) is a major force in contemporary Hollywood and one of the most successful filmmakers of his generation. His eclectic gallery of motion pictures over the past 25 years runs the gamut from fantasy (Joe Dante's "Gremlins”) and adventure (Richard Donner's "The Goonies”) to comedy ("Home Alone” and "Home Alone 2”) and the launching of one of the industry's most successful franchises ever, in the first two "Harry Potter” films.

Columbus was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside of Youngstown, Ohio. As a youngster, he aspired to be a cartoonist for Marvel Comics, eventually making the connection between comic books and movie storyboards. In high school, he began making homegrown 8mm films from his own storyboards (a practice which he continues to this day). After high school, he enrolled in the Directors Program at New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.

The aspiring director first attained success as a screenwriter, selling his first script "Jocks” (a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Catholic schoolboy who tries out for a football team), while still in college. After graduating from NYU, he immediately gained prominence in Hollywood by writing several original scripts produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment.

The consecutive box-office hits of "Gremlins” (1984) and "The Goonies” (1985) were both original and entertaining films that intertwined high notes of offbeat, edgy, often outrageous humor against more classic adventure-thriller backdrops. Continuing his association with Spielberg, he next collaborated with director Barry Levinson with another unique take on the genre, the fantasy adventure "Young Sherlock Holmes.”

These screenwriting achievements led Columbus to direct his first two features, the comedy "Adventures in Babysitting” (1987, ironically not from his own script), and his homage to the legend of Elvis Presley, "Heartbreak Hotel” a year later.

A meeting with John Hughes brought Columbus to the helm of the box-office phenomenon "Home Alone” (1990), the first of three collaborations with the prolific filmmaker which included the hit sequel "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) and another semi-autobiographical story, "Only the Lonely” (1991). The latter, a bittersweet comedy-drama directed by Columbus from his own original screenplay, was praised for featuring one of the late John Candy's best performances, and for the return to the screen of legendary movie star Maureen O'Hara, a role he wrote specifically for the actress.

Columbus' smash hit comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, bent genders as well as genres, to great critical and public acclaim. Columbus next directed another comedy "Nine Months” (1995), with Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore, before turning to drama with "Stepmom” (1998) starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. He reunited again with Williams on the poignant fantasy film, "Bicentennial Man.”

Columbus faced a daunting task when he landed the assignment to direct "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” (2001), the first film based on J.K. Rowling's monumentally successful series of books. With millions of avid, fanatical readers in a high state of expectation and anticipation, Columbus cast completely unknown youngsters Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the leading roles of Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Once again, he demonstrated his acumen for nurturing and cultivating young talent by turning this inexperienced trio into natural screen performers.

The success of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” led Columbus to the second movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002), resulting in another huge global box-office success (both films sit among the Top 100 grossing films of all time). He served as producer on the third film in the franchise, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (like the first two, a BAFTA nominee) before directing the film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical "Rent.” He most recently stepped back into the director's chair to helm the romantic comedy, "I Love You, Beth Cooper,” the project which preceded this one.

In addition to his writing and directorial achievements, Columbus and his producing partners at 1492 Pictures have made a series of commercial blockbusters that include "Fantastic Four” and the sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Surfer,” "Night at the Museum” and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” "Cheaper by the Dozen,” "Christmas with the Kranks” (which Columbus also wrote) and "Jingle All the Way.”

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