Simon Kinberg

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Simon Kinberg
Simon Kinberg by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born (1973-08-02) August 2, 1973 (age 42)
London, England
Alma mater Brown University,
Columbia University School of the Arts
Occupation Screenwriter, film producer

Simon Kinberg (born August 2, 1973) is an English-born American screenwriter and film producer. He is best known for his work in the X-Men film franchise, and wrote and/or produced several other box office successes such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sherlock Holmes, Cinderella, and The Martian. His production company is Genre Films (usually credited as Kinberg Genre), which has a first look deal with 20th Century Fox.

Early life[edit]

Kinberg was born in London, England. He is Jewish.[1] His family moved to the United States, and he was raised in Los Angeles, California. Kinberg attended Brentwood School in Los Angeles and graduated in 1991. He later graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, and received his MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts, where he won their highest screenwriting award.[2]


While still in film school, Kinberg sold a pitch to Warner Brothers, then went on to write scripts for Disney, Sony, and DreamWorks, working with Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer, among others. After finishing school, Kinberg moved to Hollywood, where his first screenwriting credit was a sequel to the hit action film xXx (2002), xXx: State of the Union. His next screenwriting venture was the screenplay for Mr. & Mrs. Smith, directed by Doug Liman and starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The script began as Kinberg's thesis project for film school. It went on to gross over $475 million worldwide, and won MTV Movie Awards and People's Choice Awards. Kinberg also wrote the pilot episode for a television adaptation of Mr. & Mrs. Smith for ABC TV. He also appears in the movie, in a scene with Brad Pitt.

Kinberg's next screenwriting job was the highly anticipated sequel to X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), which he co-wrote with Zak Penn. The film made $102 million on its opening weekend, one of the biggest openings in history. Despite receiving mixed reviews, it went on to gross over $460 million worldwide, making it the most successful film in the franchise up to that point. Comic-book writer Chris Claremont wrote the novelization of the film, and made Kinberg a character in the book.[citation needed]

Kinberg reunited with director Doug Liman for the film Jumper (2008). Kinberg wrote and produced the movie, which stars Samuel L. Jackson, Hayden Christensen, and Diane Lane. The film opened number one at the box office on Presidents Day 2008. The film spawned a comic book and video game.

The following year, Kinberg was writer of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. The film was released by Warner Brothers on Christmas 2009 and set the record for the biggest opening weekend ($65 million) in Christmas history. Robert Downey, Jr. won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of the famous detective. The film was nominated for several awards, including two nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards. The final worldwide gross for the film was over $520 million.

Kinberg was the producer of X-Men: First Class at 20th Century Fox, directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. The film opened June 3, 2011, number one at the box office, with 87% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

Kinberg was the writer and producer of the film This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy, released February 17, 2012. He was also co-screenwriter and an executive producer of the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in that same year.

In 2013, Kinberg produced Elysium, directed by Neill Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. The film was released August 9, 2013, and opened number one at the box office.

Most recently, Kinberg was the writer and the producer of the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, which unites the cast from all the X-Men films, including Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, and new members like Peter Dinklage and Omar Sy. The film garnered a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an "A" Cinemascore from audiences. The film grossed over 745 million dollars, and is widely considered the best film in the franchise.

That same year, he produced Let's Be Cops, which became a surprise summer hit.

Kinberg produced the Neill Blomkamp film Chappie, starring Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, and Sharlto Copley. In addition, he produced the 2015 live-action version of Cinderella at Disney, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. The movie premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and was Certified Fresh at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed more than 500 million dollars worldwide. He also worked on Fantastic Four as a writer and producer. The film was a box office and critical disappointment. His next film was The Martian (2015), based on the eponymous novel, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, and Kate Mara, among others. The film was part of the Toronto Film Festival, and the New York Film Festival. It grossed more than 100 million dollars opening weekend around the world. It marked the tenth film that Kinberg has written and/or produced that opened #1 at the box office.

He is currently writing and producing X-Men: Apocalypse, the next film in the X-Men franchise. He is also producing an adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic novel Murder on the Orient Express, which will reunite Kinberg with director Kenneth Branagh and producer Ridley Scott. Kinberg is also producing a remake of Logan's Run, and the live action film of Magic: The Gathering.[3]

In addition, Kinberg is producing the X-Men spin-off films, Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, and Gambit, starring Channing Tatum. Both films are to be released in 2016.

Kinberg is also very involved in the new Star Wars films. The Hollywood Reporter initially reported that Lawrence Kasdan, writer of Episode V and Episode VI, and Kinberg would write and produce Episode VIII and Episode IX of the new Star Wars films;[4] a week later the publication stated that Kasdan and Kinberg would only be working on future Star Wars projects, but not necessarily on Episode VIII and Episode IX.[5] In addition to working on the films, he is also the creator, writer, and executive producer of the new Star Wars Rebels animated series, which includes many of the original characters, and airs on the Disney networks.

Script doctoring[edit]

Kinberg was an uncredited script doctor for many movies, including Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Date Night (2010), Knight and Day (2010), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014).[citation needed]


Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Producer
2002 The Legacy Yes No TV film
2005 XXX: State of the Union Yes No
Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yes No
Fantastic Four No No uncredited as writer
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Yes No co-wrote with Zak Penn
2007 Mr. & Mrs. Smith Yes No TV adaptation of the feature film
also executive producer
Go Next (short) No Yes Short film
2008 Jumper Yes Yes
2009 Sherlock Holmes Yes No
2011 X-Men: First Class No Yes
2012 This Means War Yes Yes
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Yes No Also executive producer
2013 Elysium No Yes
2014 Let's Be Cops No Yes
X-Men: Days of Future Past Yes Yes
Star Wars Rebels (TV series) Yes No Also executive producer
Ouija Yes No
2015 Cinderella No Yes
Chappie No Yes
Fantastic Four Yes Yes
The Martian No Yes
2016 Deadpool No Yes
X-Men: Apocalypse Yes Yes
Gambit No Yes

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2005, Simon received the Movieline magazine award for Screenwriter of the Year, and was named New Power Screenwriter of the Year by Premiere magazine. Kinberg's films have grossed over four billion dollars worldwide. Entertainment Weekly magazine hailed him as the "Four Billion Dollar Man," in their August 7, 2015 issue.

Simon was named commencement speaker for Brentwood School in Los Angeles in 2009.


  1. ^ IGN Interviews Simon Kinberg - IGN. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  2. ^ "Simon Kinberg | Columbia University School of the Arts". Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  3. ^ Borys Kit (2014-01-13). "Fox to Bring 'Magic: The Gathering' to the Big Screen (Exclusive)". Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  4. ^ Kit, Borys (November 20, 2012). "Sources: Lawrence Kasdan, Simon Kinberg Lock Deals to Write and Produce 'Star Wars' Installments". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (November 28, 2012). "Star Wars: How Writers Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg Will Expand the Galaxy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 

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