Megan Ellison

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Megan Ellison
Born Margaret Elizabeth Ellison
(1986-01-31) January 31, 1986 (age 31)[1]
Santa Clara County, California, U.S.
Occupation Film producer
Years active 2007–present
Partner(s) Robyn Shapiro
Parent(s) Larry Ellison
Barbara Boothe
Family David Ellison (brother)

Margaret Elizabeth "Megan" Ellison (born January 31, 1986) is an American film producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures, established in 2011. She is best known for producing the films Zero Dark Thirty, Her and American Hustle, all of which have earned her Oscar nominations. In 2014, TIME placed her in its list of "100 Most Influential People in the World" - Pioneers.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Megan Ellison was born in Santa Clara County, California, the daughter of billionaire Oracle Corporation chairman Larry Ellison and his ex-wife, Barbara Boothe Ellison. She has one brother, film producer David Ellison.[3] Ellison graduated from Sacred Heart Preparatory in 2004[4] and attended film school at the University of Southern California for one year.[5]


Ellison started out in the film business in 2006 when she contacted Katherine Brooks, the writer and director of Loving Annabelle, about investing in the filmmaker's next movie. The duo made plans for Waking Madison, starring Elisabeth Shue, which told the story of a woman who tries to cure her multiple personality disorder by locking herself in a room without food for 30 days. Ellison financed the film that was reported to have a budget of $2 million. Principal photography took place in 2007. It screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2011 and went straight to DVD in July of that year.[6]

Ellison provided some financing for more movies in 2008 and 2009. The first was Main Street starring Colin Firth. It received little attention at film festivals and failed to gain general release. Passion Play, also made in 2009, got a release but fared poorly at the box office despite a well-known cast of popular actors. However, her investment in the Coen brothers western remake True Grit paid off as that movie found major commercial and critical success when released at the end of 2010.[6]

After that, Ellison received access to much larger sums of money from her father for the production of more movies and partnered with Michael Benaroya to produce and cofinance the thriller Catch .44 starring Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker, and John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era crime drama, Lawless. Around that same time, she began to collaborate with the Creative Artists Agency's film finance group headed by Roeg Sutherland and Micah Green.[6]

She has since founded Annapurna Pictures, a company that plans to take a so-called "Silicon Valley" approach to filmmaking by investing in original, daring movies made by prestigious directors and screenwriters. Believing that risk-averse Hollywood studios have largely abandoned sophisticated dramas, period pieces, and auteur cinema, Annapurna Productions has released Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, a period drama about a cult that resembles Scientology, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Zero Dark Thirty, an action-thriller about the killing of Osama bin Laden from writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow, who made the Oscar-winning movie, The Hurt Locker.[6]

Ellison is developing a film based on "The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", an article about the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by the departing executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller.[7]

In 2011, Ellison outbid Lionsgate for the rights to the Terminator franchise.[8] In January 2014, Ellison removed Annapurna Productions from the reboot of the Terminator franchise.[9]

In 2014, Ellison became the first woman and the fourth person to receive two best picture Academy Award nominations in the same year, which she received for her work on Her and American Hustle.[10] In June 2014, Ellison optioned the screen rights for the memoir A House in the Sky, which tells the story of Amanda Lindhout and her capture by Somali rebels during 2011.[11]

Also in 2014, Ellison was included as part of the Advocate's annual "40 Under 40" list.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Ellison is openly lesbian.[13] Ellison’s company is called Annapurna, after the famous Himalayan circuit she hiked in Nepal in 2006. Ellison has raced speedboats and participated in sailing races, and was a competitive equestrian as well.[14]


As producer[edit]

Year Film Director Other notes
2010 Waking Madison Katherine Brooks
Main Street John Doyle
Passion Play Mitch Glazer Executive Producer
True Grit Joel and Ethan Coen Executive Producer
2011 Catch .44 Aaron Harvey
2012 Lawless John Hillcoat
The Master Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Feature
Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Film
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Nominated—Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
Killing Them Softly Andrew Dominik Credited as Executive Producer
Spring Breakers Harmony Korine Credited as Executive Producer
The Grandmaster Wong Kar-wai Credited as Executive Producer
2013 Her Spike Jonze Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
American Hustle David O. Russell Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated—AACTA International Award for Best Film
Nominated—Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2014 Foxcatcher Bennett Miller Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
2015 Terminator Genisys Alan Taylor executive producer
Joy David O. Russell
Wiener-Dog Todd Solondz
Everybody Wants Some!! Richard Linklater
Sausage Party Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
The Bad Batch Ana Lily Amirpour
20th Century Women Mike Mills
2017 Detroit Kathryn Bigelow In post-production
Downsizing Alexander Payne In post-production
Phantom Thread Paul Thomas Anderson Filming
What Remains of Edith Finch Ian Dallas Executive Producer; a game published by Annapurna Interactive
2018 Isle of Dogs Wes Anderson Filming


  1. ^ "California Births, 1905-1995". Retrieved 2014-01-24. 
  2. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People - Pioneers: Megan Ellison". April 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  3. ^ Software: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle Simon and Schuster, 2004. pp332-333
  4. ^ "Stanford provost speaks at Sacred Heart". The Almanac News. June 16, 2004. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa (2012-03-21). "The Life of Megan Ellison, the 27-Year-Old Mega-Producer Who’s on Pace to Run Hollywood". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2014-01-24. 
  6. ^ a b c d Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes (August 28, 2011). "Silicon Valley Scion Tackles Hollywood". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (2011-02-02). "Locker’s Mark Boal At Center Of WikiLeaks Film Deal As Other Julian Assange Movies Mobilize". 
  8. ^ Danny Leigh. "Megan Ellison: the billionaire heiress out to save the movies ", "", 8 July 2011.
  9. ^ McWeeny, Drew (January 23, 2014). "Megan Ellison removes Annapurna Pictures from the 'Terminator: Genesis' reboot". Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Oscar Nominations: Megan Ellison First Woman to Score 2 Best Picture Nods in Same Year". TheWrap. 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-24. 
  11. ^ Jordan Zakarin (June 25, 2014). "Rooney Mara to Star in ‘A House in the Sky’ for Megan Ellison's Annapurna". The Wrap. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (February 21, 2014). "Megan Ellison: Hollywood’s latest player". Financial Times. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Life of Megan Ellison, the 27-Year-Old Mega-Producer Who’s on Pace to Run Hollywood". Vanity Fair. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 

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