Margaret Elizabeth Ellison|
January 31, 1986
Santa Clara County, California
|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 (2012), Her (2013), American Hustle (2013), and Phantom Thread (2017), all of which have earned her Oscar nominations. In 2014, she was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Early life and education
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. Her father is of Jewish and Italian descent. She has a brother, film producer David Ellison. Ellison graduated from Sacred Heart Preparatory in 2004 and attended film school at the University of Southern California for one year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2011 and 2012, it was reported that Ellison was working with Boal on developing a movie about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange based on a New York Times Magazine article called "The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller. Amid fierce competition in 2012 among movie studios to produce an Assange biopic, Ellison and Annapurna eventually did not produce the movie, but DreamWorks released The Fifth Estate in 2013.
In 2014, Ellison became the first woman and the fourth person to receive two Academy Award nominations for Best Picture in the same year, which she received for her work on Her and American Hustle. 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 in 2011.
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- Software: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle Simon and Schuster, 2004. pp332-333
- "Stanford provost speaks at Sacred Heart". The Almanac News. June 16, 2004. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- 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.
- Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes (August 28, 2011). "Silicon Valley Scion Tackles Hollywood". New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
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- Watercutter, Angela (17 October 2013). "The Fifth Estate Proves How Hard It Is to Make a Movie About the Internet". Wired. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
- Danny Leigh, "Megan Ellison: the billionaire heiress out to save the movies", "The Guardian", 8 July 2011.
- McWeeny, Drew (January 23, 2014). "Megan Ellison removes Annapurna Pictures from the 'Terminator: Genesis' reboot". Hitflix.com. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Oscar Nominations: Megan Ellison First Woman to Score 2 Best Picture Nods in Same Year". TheWrap. 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
- Jordan Zakarin (25 June 2014). "Rooney Mara to Star in 'A House in the Sky' for Megan Ellison's Annapurna". The Wrap. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "40 Under 40: Megan Ellison Makes Movies You Talk About, The Advocate, 20 August 2014.
- Garrahan, Matthew (February 21, 2014). "Megan Ellison: Hollywood's latest player". Financial Times. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- "The Life of Megan Ellison, the 27-Year-Old Mega-Producer Who's on Pace to Run Hollywood". Vanity Fair. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014.