David Kirkpatrick (producer)

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David Paul Kirkpatrick
David Kirkpatrick Introduction Movie-Making.jpg
Born (1951-06-29) June 29, 1951 (age 63)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Occupation Film producer, screenwriter, studio executive
Nationality American
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts
Literary movement Transmedia
Notable awards Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award

David Paul Kirkpatrick (born June 29, 1951) is an American film producer, studio executive and writer. He is perhaps most famous[1] for his career at Paramount Pictures where he started as a story editor, oversaw the studio's exclusive development deal with Eddie Murphy[2] and eventually became President of the Motion Picture Group.[3] Kirkpatrick was also the first motion picture executive to be chief of production at two studios at the same time when he ran Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.[4] He is the Co-Founder of the MIT Center For Future Storytelling, dedicated to elevating the human experience through technology and art.[5] He is currently working in a not-for-profit dedicated to Christian worldview education.[6]


Kirkpatrick graduated from Hudson High School in Hudson Ohio in 1969.


Kirkpatrick sold his first screenplay to Paramount at the age of 17 while still in high school and was teaching screenwriting at California Institute of the Arts at the age of 18 where he received his bachelor's degree in 1974. Kirkpatrick's screenplay Dynamite Woman was produced in 1976 and distributed by New World Pictures.[7] Shortly after, he took a position in the story department at Paramount Pictures. Kirkpatrick worked his way up the ranks at Paramount making his name by overseeing Paramount's exclusive development deal with Eddie Murphy. The arrangement was the most successful of its kind in over 50 years in Hollywood and created several huge hits including the $234 million blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop, still the third highest grossing R-rated film of all time.[8]

During his years at Paramount, Kirkpatrick oversaw the successful Indiana Jones and Star Trek franchises, box office hits like Top Gun (1986), Ghost (1990), and The Hunt for Red October (1990), and award winning films such as Witness (1985), Terms of Endearment (1983), and Reds (1981).[9]

While at Paramount, David worked under legendary industry executives Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg.[10] Both Kirkpatrick and Katzenberg were involved in the development of Coming to America (1988) and the subsequent Buchwald v. Paramount breach of contract lawsuit. The case is considered[by whom?] a watershed decision in reforming "Hollywood accounting" and net profit formulas and was chronicled in the 1992 book Fatal Subtraction.

Kirkpatrick was also instrumental in replacing Hunt for Red October star Alec Baldwin with Harrison Ford in the Jack Ryan franchise. Baldwin revealed this in a March 2011 column on The Huffington Post, in which he accused Kirkpatrick of back-handed dealings in the matter, referring to Kirkpatrick as "a beady-eyed, untalented tool".[11]

Disney and Touchstone[edit]

From 1987 to 1989,[12] Kirkpatrick became the chief of production at Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures becoming the first motion picture executive to hold that position at two studios at the same time. During that period, he oversaw The Little Mermaid (1989), Pretty Woman (1990) and Dead Poets Society (1989) among other films, before returning to Paramount.

Original Voices[edit]

Kirkpatrick left his post at Paramount after an infamous encounter with fellow executive Stanley R. Jaffe that resulted in Kirkpatrick pulling into the lot one day to find his office furniture on the lawn. Afterward, he entered into a production deal with the company and then produced The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), and The Evening Star (1996), a sequel to Terms of Endearment.[13] He then formed his own production company Original Voices concentrating on smaller budget projects, producing the independent hits Big Night (1996) and The Opposite of Sex (1998), with Rysher Entertainment.[14]

Good News Holdings[edit]

In 2006, Kirkpatrick co-founded Good New Holdings, a faith-based entertainment company that produced "spiritainment". The company and Kirkpatrick were featured in a The New York Times profile, "A Once-Feared Kingmaker Called to a Different Battle" in December 2006.[10] The title of the profile refers to the battle outlined in Ephesians 6:12 regarding the struggle over souls.

Plymouth Rock Studios[edit]

After leaving Good News Holdings, Kirkpatrick co-founded Plymouth Rock Studios, a planned $500 million film and television studio that was scheduled to open in 2012 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Other executives involved included Earl Lestz, former President of Paramount Studio Groups for 21 years, real estate developer Bill Wynne,[15] who built Rancho Santa Margarita, and Joe DiLorenzo,[16] former CFO of the Boston Celtics and current Chairman of the Financial Executives International organization. In November 2009, the Studio had announced that it had secured $500 million in financing. The financing eventually fell through. Kirkpatrick and Plymouth Rock Studios parted ways in June 2010.[17]

Rock Organization[edit]

Kirkpatrick took a position in 2011 with the Rock Organization. It is a Christian worldview foundation based in the Midwestern United States. He is working on a transmedia event on the life of Jesus Christ.


David Kirkpatrick produced the 1996 HBO film Rasputin that won the Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series of Motion Picture Made for Television. Alan Rickman won both the Emmy and the Golden Globe for his title performance role in the mini-series. Kirkpatrick also produced The Opposite of Sex, which received the 1999 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. In 2007, he became the first recipient of the "David Award" the lifetime achievement award from Regent University, a Christian college, for "redemptive work" in the entertainment field. The award derives its name from the David of the Old Testament.[18]


  1. ^ "The Monster That Ate Hollywood – Interviews | PBS – FRONTLINE". PBS. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Eddie Murphy Signs Pact with Paramount". The New York Times. August 27, 1987.
  3. ^ "Exex shuffle". Variety. October 29, 1992. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "press release by MIT Media Lab". 
  6. ^ "Home". Anchorsaway. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "All Time Box Office Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "David Kirkpatrick: Hollywood Pioneer Moves to a New Front". Cbn.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "A Once-Feared Kingmaker Called to a Different Battle". The New York Times. December 10, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ Baldwin, Alec (March 11, 2011). "Two and a Half Men Is Better Than None". Huffington Post. 
  12. ^ "PRODUCED BY 2009 // David Kirkpatrick". Producedbyconference.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Dana Harris (May 1, 2005). "Ex-Par prexy kicking it up". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ Charles Lyons (October 20, 2000). "Original Voices gets 'Special'". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Clark, Emily (October 13, 2011). "PLYMOUTH ROCK STUDIOS: And then there was one? – Plymouth, MA – Wicked Local Plymouth". Wickedlocal.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Team. Plymouth Rock Studios". Plymouthrockstudios.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Cofounder splits from Plymouth Rock Studios – The Boston Globe". Boston.com. June 2, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2013. [dead link]
  18. ^ Fisher, Bobbie. "Regent University Christian Leader Magazine: Regent Hosts Candlelight Forum in Hollywood". Regent.edu. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 

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