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Appian Way Productions

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Appian Way Productions
Industry Entertainment
Headquarters West Hollywood, California
Key people
Leonardo DiCaprio (founder)

Appian Way Productions is a film production company in West Hollywood, California, established by actor and producer Leonardo DiCaprio. The company's first film was The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004). It then released the 2004 biopic The Aviator, starring DiCaprio as Howard Hughes. The film was a critical and commercial success, and earned several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Its following productions were released three years later—the comedy drama Gardener of Eden (2007) and the documentary The 11th Hour (2007). This was followed by the commercial successes of the psychological horror Orphan (2009), the psychological thriller Shutter Island (2010) and the dark fantasy film Red Riding Hood (2011). The company had three releases in 2013, including the crime thriller Runner Runner and the thriller film Out of the Furnace (2013), both of which performed poorly at the box-office. Appian Way released the biopic The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), a critical and commercial success, which was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


Appian Way Productions was founded by Leonardo DiCaprio. Its first film was The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), starring Sean Penn as Samuel Byck who attempted to assassinate president Richard Nixon in 1974.[1] It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.[2] The company's next film was the 2004 biopic The Aviator, produced in association with Forward Pass, Intermedia, and Initial Entertainment Group. Based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham, the film depicted the life of Howard Hughes (DiCaprio), an aviation pioneer who became a successful film producer between the late 1920s and late 1940s while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder.[3][4] Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Sukhdev Sandhu described the film as "a gorgeous tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood" even though it "tips the balance of spectacle versus substance in favour of the former." He praised Martin Scorsese's direction, DiCaprio and the supporting cast but panned Kate Beckinsale's performance.[5] With a worldwide gross of $213.7 million against a budget of $110 million, the film proved to be a commercial success.[6] The film earned a total of eleven nominations at the 77th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Scorsese) and Best Actor (DiCaprio), and won five of them, including a Best Supporting Actress award for Cate Blanchett.[7]

Appian Way's next film was released three years later—the comedy drama Gardener of Eden which, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck, "lacks the necessary dramatic urgency or black humor to connect with audiences".[8] A few months later, it released The 11th Hour, a documentary about global warming. The film featured 50 experts on environmental issues and the solutions, and won the Earthwatch Environmental Film Award through the National Geographic Channel in March 2008.[9] DiCaprio wrote a three-season television series Greensburg (2008–10) which was produced by the company.[10] The company, along with Dark Castle Entertainment, released the 2009 psychological horror film Orphan, which told the story of a couple who, after the death of their unborn child, adopt a mysterious 9-year-old girl. The film's content, depicting a murderous adoptee, created controversy among the adoption community, which stated that it promotes negative stereotypes about orphans.[11] Although the film received mixed reviews, it was a commercial success.[12] Scorsese reunited with the company to make the film Shutter Island (2010), a psychological thriller based on the 2003 novel of same name by Dennis Lehane. DiCaprio played U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who investigates a psychiatric facility located on an island but eventually comes to question his own sanity. A commercial success, the film received generally positive reviews; Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised the film's direction and performances but criticized its "silly twist ending", calling it "supremely exasperating".[13][14]

Red Riding Hood, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, was Appian Way's first release in 2011. In the film, which is set in a village haunted by werewolves, a young girl falls in love with an orphan woodcutter, much to her family's displeasure. Earlier in production, the film was titled The Girl with the Red Riding Hood.[15] Although it was poorly received by critics—Mary Pols of Time named it one of the Top 10 Worst Movies of 2011—it performed modestly at the box-office.[16][17] The company's final release in 2011 was Detachment, a Tony Kaye-directed drama on high school education system.[18] Three films were produced by the company in 2013; the first was Runner Runner, an ensemble crime thriller, which The Guardian's Xan Brooks described as "a lazy, trashy film that barely goes through the motions".[19] The thriller Out of the Furnace, the company's second release, was also negatively received by critics and was a box office bomb.[20] Scorsese directed the company's final film in 2013—The Wolf of Wall Street, a biopic on the life of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), a New York stockbroker who runs a firm that engages in securities fraud and money laundering on Wall Street in the 1990s. The screenplay was adapted by Terence Winter from Belfort's memoir of the same name.[21] The film was banned in Kenya, Malaysia and Nepal for its controversial depiction of events, explicit sexual content, profanity, and hard drug use.[22][23] Nonetheless, it was a major commercial success and it went on to be the 17th-highest-grossing film of 2013.[24] According to copyright infringement tracking site Excipio, the film was the most widely infringed of 2014, as it was downloaded illegally over 30 million times via torrent sites.[25] The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, although it failed to win in any category.[26]

In 2015, DiCaprio produced and starred in the biographical western thriller The Revenant, which is based on in part on Michael Punke's 2002 novel of the same name, which itself is inspired by the life of frontiersman Hugh Glass. The film was well received by critics, with Justin Change of Variety reviewing: "Bleak as hell but considerably more beautiful, this nightmarish plunge into a frigid, forbidding American outback is a movie of pitiless violence, grueling intensity and continually breathtaking imagery".[27] As of October 2015, the company is filming Live by Night, a crime film based on the 2012 novel of same name.[28]

In May 2016, Appian Way Productions signed a three-year, first-look production deal with Paramount Pictures. [29]




  1. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 17, 2004). "Review: 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon'". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Assassination of Richard Nixon". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ Santas, Constantine; Wilson, James M.; Colavito, Maria; Baker, Djoymi (2014). The Encyclopedia of Epic Films. Scarecrow Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8108-8248-5. 
  4. ^ Winter, Jessica (June 10, 2005). "The Aviator". The Guardian. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Thrillingly bumpy ride towards madness". The Daily Telegraph. December 24, 2004. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Aviator (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ "The 77th Academy Awards (2005) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ Scheck, Frank (April 26, 2007). "The Gardener of Eden". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  9. ^ Kohli, Gayrajan (December 21, 2014). "Why You Should Watch 'The 11th Hour' With Leonardo DiCaprio". Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Greensburg Season 3 to Air on Planet Green". Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  11. ^ Crary, David (July 19, 2009). "Advocates of adoption upset by 'Orphan' film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  12. ^ Ochoa, George (2011). Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films. McFarland. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7864-8654-0. 
  13. ^ "Shutter Island (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  14. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (March 11, 2010). "Shutter Island". The Guardian. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ Sperling, Nicole (April 23, 2010). "'Twilight' director Catherine Hardwicke talks new project: 'Red Riding Hood'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  16. ^ Pols, Mary (December 7, 2011). "The Top 10 Everything of 2011 – Red Riding Hood". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Red Riding Hood". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  18. ^ Travers, Peter (March 15, 2012). "Detachment Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ Brooks, Xan (September 26, 2013). "Runner Runner – review". The Guardian. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  20. ^ Kaufman, Amy (December 8, 2013). "'Frozen' tops 'Catching Fire,' but 'Furnace' generates no heat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ Harding, Nick (January 12, 2014). "Jordan Belfort: The real Wolf of Wall Street and the men who brought him down". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Kenya arrests over banned Wolf of Wall Street film". BBC News. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "'The Wolf Of Wall Street' banned in Malaysia and Nepal". NME. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  24. ^ "2013 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  25. ^ Spangler, Todd (December 28, 2014). "Top 20 Most Pirated Movies of 2014 Led by 'Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Frozen,' 'Gravity'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Oscar nominations 2014: full list of nominees". The Daily Telegraph. March 2, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  27. ^ Chang, Justin (December 4, 2015). "Film Review: 'The Revenant'". Variety. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Ben Affleck suits up in 1920s attire for first day of filming Live By Night... while Jennifer Garner takes kids to school in Halloween costumes". Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions Signs Three-Year Deal With Paramount". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 

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