This is an interestingly timed bit of news. It’s been a busy week or so for Jerry Bruckheimer, who is seeing his longtime first-look film deal with Disney come to an end after this year, and his latest TV series Hostages premiered on CBS last night. He will be honored with the 27th American Cinematheque award, with the ceremony set for December 12 at the Beverly Hilton. He was a unanimous choice for the honor, the org says, which goes to “an extraordinary filmmaker in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion picture.” In reality the award usually goes to an actor, though last year’s winner Ben Stiller acts and directs. Rob Reiner, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese have won before, but Bruckheimer seems to be the first pure producer to be honored. Here’s the official release that’s longer than the U.S. Tax Code:
Hollywood – Los Angeles, September 23, 2013 – The American Cinematheque announced today that this year’s 27th award will be presented to Jerry Bruckheimer at the Cinematheque’s annual benefit gala. The presentation will take place Thursday, December 12, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The award presentation will be held in the International Ballroom and will include in-person tributes from some of Bruckheimer’s colleagues. Other show participants will be announced as they are confirmed over the coming months.
“The American Cinematheque is extremely pleased to honor Jerry Bruckheimer as the 27th recipient of the American Cinematheque award at our celebration this year,” said Rick Nicita, American Cinematheque Chairman. “Jerry’s monumental accomplishments as producer of many of the most popular and iconic movies of all time, including 19 films that have grossed more than $100 million domestically, made him an obvious choice as the American Cinematheque’s first producer honoree. It does not do justice to his work to only mention a few of his megahits such as TOP GUN, THE ROCK, BLACK HAWK DOWN and ARMAGEDDON and just his multi-picture franchises include PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, NATIONAL TREASURE, BAD BOYS and BEVERLY HILLS COP. His work ethic is matched only by his determination to stay behind the scenes so the American Cinematheque is particularly thrilled to have Jerry accept the respect and congratulations that he deserves from the motion picture industry”.
Bruckheimer was the unanimous choice of the Cinematheque Board of Directors selection committee, which since 1986, has annually honored an extraordinary filmmaker in the entertainment industry, who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion picture. Funds raised benefit the year-round programming of the non-profit cultural organization, the American Cinematheque.
The executive producers of the show are Paul Flattery, Barbara Smith and Irene Crinita is the producer and Kelly Brock co-producer. Corrinne Mann is the event producer. Co-chairs and presenters of the event will be announced as they are confirmed.
Jerry Bruckheimer has for 40 years produced films and television programs of distinction and quality, in the process becoming the most successful producer of all time in both mediums. His productions, with the familiar lightning bolt logo, have not only delighted audiences all over the world, but greatly impacted popular culture over the decades.
Bruckheimer’s films have earned worldwide revenues of over $16 billion in box office, video and recording receipts. In the 2005-6 season he had a record-breaking 10 series on network television, a feat unprecedented in nearly 60 years of television history. His films (19 of which exceeded the $100 million mark in U.S. box office receipts, three of which are on the all-time top ten list and two of which surpassed a billion dollars in international box office) and television programs have been acknowledged with 41 Academy Award® nominations, six Oscars®, eight Grammy Award® nominations, five Grammys, 23 Golden Globe® nominations, four Golden Globes, 118 Emmy Award® nominations, 22 Emmys, 30 People’s Choice Awards nominations, 15 People’s Choice Awards, 12 BAFTA nominations, two BAFTA Awards, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop” and 20 Teen Choice Awards.
But the numbers exist only because of Bruckheimer’s uncanny ability to find the stories and tell them on film. He is, according to the Washington Post, “the man with the golden gut.” He may have been born that way, but more likely, his natural gifts were polished to laser focus in the early years of his career. His first films were the 60-second tales he told as an award-winning commercial producer in his native Detroit. One of those mini-films, a parody of “Bonnie and Clyde” created for Pontiac, was noted for its brilliance in Time Magazine and brought the 23-year-old producer to the attention of world-renowned ad agency BBD&O, which lured him to New York.
Four years on Madison Avenue gave him the experience and confidence to tackle Hollywood, and, just about 30, he was at the helm of memorable films like “Farewell, My Lovely,” “American Gigolo” and 1983’s “Flashdance,” which changed Bruckheimer’s life by grossing $92 million in the U.S. alone and pairing him with Don Simpson, who would be his producing partner for the next 13 years.
Together the Simpson/Bruckheimer juggernaut produced one hit after another, including “Top Gun,” “Days of Thunder,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Bad Boys,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Crimson Tide” and the cult satire “The Ref,” which Entertainment Weekly magazine named one of “The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen” in July 2012. Box office success was acknowledged in both 1985 and 1988 when the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) named Bruckheimer Producer of the Year. And in 1988 the Publicists Guild of America chose him, along with Simpson, Motion Picture Showmen of the Year.
In 1996, Bruckheimer produced “The Rock,” re-establishing Sean Connery as an action star and turning an unlikely Nicolas Cage into an action hero. “The Rock,” named Favorite Movie of the Year by NATO, grossed $350 million worldwide and was Bruckheimer’s last movie with Simpson, who died during production.
Now on his own, Bruckheimer followed in 1997 with “Con Air,” which grossed over $230 million, earned a Grammy® and two Oscar® nominations and brought its producer the ShoWest International Box Office Achievement Award for unmatched foreign grosses.
Then came Touchstone Pictures’ megahit “Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Michael Bay, it was the biggest movie of 1998, grossing nearly $560 million worldwide and introducing legendary rock band Aerosmith’s first #1 single, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
By the end of the millennium, Bruckheimer had produced “Enemy of the State,” starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman and “Gone in 60 Seconds,” starring Cage, Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall, both grossing over $225 million worldwide; “Coyote Ugly,” whose soundtrack album went triple platinum; and the NAACP Image Award–winning “Remember the Titans,” starring Denzel Washington. His peers in the Producers Guild of America acknowledged his abilities with the David O. Selznick Award for Lifetime Achievement in Motion Pictures.
He began the 21st century with triple Oscar®-nominee “Pearl Harbor.” Starring Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale and directed by Bay, the film was hailed by World War II veterans and scholars as a worthy re-creation of the event that brought the United States into the war. In addition to multiple award nominations and the Oscar for Best Sound Editing, it earned over $450 million in worldwide box office and has topped $250 million in DVD and video sales.
“Black Hawk Down,” the story of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, starred Hartnett, Eric Bana and Ewan McGregor and was directed by Ridley Scott. The adaptation of the Mark Bowden bestseller was honored with multiple award nominations, two Oscars® and rave reviews.
Turning his hand toward comedy in 2003, Bruckheimer released the raucously funny “Kangaroo Jack,” a family film that won an MTV Award for Best Virtual performance for the kangaroo.
And later in 2003, Bruckheimer unveiled “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley and directed by Gore Verbinski, the comedy/adventure/romance grossed more than $630 million worldwide, earned five Academy Award® nominations and spawned three sequels: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” all of which were to become even bigger hits than the first.
Following “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” Jerry Bruckheimer’s films have included “Bad Boys II”; “Veronica Guerin,” starring Cate Blanchett as the Irish journalist murdered by Dublin crime lords; and “King Arthur,” with Clive Owen starring in the revisionist re-telling of the Arthurian legend.
In 2004 “National Treasure,” starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Justin Bartha and Sean Bean in a roller-coaster adventure about solving the mystery of untold buried treasure, directed by Jon Turteltaub, opened to cheering audiences and grossed more than $335 million worldwide.
“Glory Road,” the story of Texas Western coach Don Haskins, who led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship in 1966, debuted in early 2006 starring Josh Lucas, was honored with an ESPY Award for “Best Sports Movie of the Year” for 2006, while the writers received a Humanitas Prize for work that “honestly explores the complexities of the human experience and sheds light on the positive values of life.”
Summer 2006 brought the theatrical release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” which sailed into the record books by becoming not only Bruckheimer’s most financially successful film, but the highest-grossing movie opening ever in the history of the medium at that time: $132 million in its first three days. Shattering projected estimates, the film earned $55.5 million the first day of release. The final worldwide take of $1.07 billion placed “Dead Man’s Chest” in third position among the highest-grossing films of all time, and is still one of only six films to ever top the billion dollar mark, and creating a true worldwide phenomenon
Teaming for the sixth time with director Tony Scott, Bruckheimer released “Déjà Vu” in late 2006, the story of an ATF agent who falls in love with a complete stranger as he races against time to track down her brutal killer. The film starred Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel, Paula Patton and Val Kilmer.
In May 2007, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” third in the blockbuster trilogy, opened around the world simultaneously. Shattering more domestic and international records in its wake, “At World’s End” became the fastest film in history to reach half a billion dollars in overseas grosses. By early July, the film had amassed a worldwide total of $960 million, giving “At World’s End” hallowed status as the number one worldwide movie of the year, and, at that time, the sixth biggest film of all time in total box office receipts.
Released on December 21st, 2007, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”—the follow-up to Bruckheimer’s 2004 hit, again starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Jon Turteltaub—opened to a smash number one weekend of nearly $45 million, almost $10 million more than the first film. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” remained in the number one box office position for three consecutive weeks, with the combined box office total reaching $440 million. In addition to reuniting Cage with “National Treasure” stars Jon Voight, Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha, Academy Award®–winning actress Helen Mirren and four-time Oscar® nominee Ed Harris were also welcomed to the cast.
Next up from Jerry Bruckheimer Films in February 2009 was “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” a romantic comedy based on the best-selling novels by Sophie Kinsella, starring Isla Fisher and directed by P.J. Hogan (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”). This was followed by the international box office hit “G-Force,” a technically innovative 3D adventure film which combined live action and computer imagery under the innovative direction of Academy Award®–winning visual effects wizard Hoyt Yeatman. The film featured the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau and Steve Buscemi, and live-action performances by Bill Nighy, Zach Galifianakis and Will Arnett.
Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ 2010 productions for Walt Disney Pictures continued the producer’s tradition for quality. “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” an epic fantasy adventure directed by Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”), starred Jake Gyllenhaal, newcomer Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. A worldwide success, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is now the highest-grossing film based upon a video game. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” an imaginative comedic adventure partially inspired by the classic animated section of “Fantasia,” marked a reunion for Bruckheimer with star Nicolas Cage and director Jon Turteltaub following their “National Treasure” successes, with the cast also featuring Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina and Teresa Palmer.
Johnny Depp, in his Academy Award nominated performance, returned as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” released on May 20, 2011 in Disney Digital 3-D. Starring alongside Depp in the spectacular new adventure, directed by Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”) were Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane. Opening worldwide, the film’s opening weekend global box office of $256.3 million was not only the best overseas opener for the franchise, but the all-time record-breaker for an international debut. In only its first five days, “On Stranger Tides” amassed a staggering cumulative domestic and international box office total of $346.4 million. Among the film’s milestones were the 4th biggest global opening of all time, the biggest opening day and weekend of all time in the emerging market of Russia and fifth biggest domestic opening in the long history of The Walt Disney Studios. “On Stranger Tides” crossed the $600 million global threshold in only 12 days, matching the previous industry record set by “At World’s End” in 2007, and in its second week of release, the film remained in first place in more than 50 territories against stiff new summer competition. “On Stranger Tides” joined its predecessors “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” on the all-time top ten box office list on June 20th, exactly one month after its theatrical release.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” became only one of eight films of all time to cross the landmark $1 billion in international box office on July 2nd, less than seven weeks after release, joining “Dead Man’s Chest” among that heralded list.
Collectively, the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films to date have brought in some $3.7 billion at the worldwide box office, $900 million from homevideo and $1.6 billion from merchandise sales, marking it as a truly international cultural phenomenon.
In February 2012, production began on iconic locations in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah on the epic adventure “The Lone Ranger,” a spectacular and highly ambitious reinvention of the classic tale which reunited the team behind the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films: Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp, bringing his great inventiveness to the role of Tonto. Released on July 3, 2013, “The Lone Ranger” also starred Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) in the title role, joined by an international cast including Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.
Most recently, filming began June 3rd, 2013 on “Beware the Night,” a unique paranormal thriller from Screen Gems, filmed entirely on location in New York City directed by acclaimed filmmaker Scott Derrickson (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “Sinister”) and starring Eric Bana of “Black Hawk Down,” Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale and Sean Harris. Also for future release will be the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” epic, starring Johnny Depp in his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow, and directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, whose “Kon Tiki” was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award and Golden Globe Award as Best Foreign Language Film.
Bruckheimer brought the power of the lightning bolt to television in 2000 with “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” starring William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger. It quickly became the number one show on television, averaging 25 million viewers a week, and, along with its two spin-offs, “C.S.I.: Miami”—distinguished as the biggest television series hit on a global scale in 2005 as well as being broadcast TV’s #1 prime-time series for the summer of 2006—and “C.S.I.: NY” helped catapult languishing CBS back to the top of the broadcast heap. In June 2012, the Monte Carlo International TV Festival honored “C.S.I.” with its International TV Audience Award as the most watched television drama series in the world, having already won that honor previously in 2007, ’08, ’10 and ‘11, with “C.S.I.: Miami” taking the prize in 2006. Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor Ted Danson took on the leading role of “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” in July 2011 in time for the program’s 12th season.
Jerry Bruckheimer Television broadened its imprint by telling compelling stories and delivering viewers in huge numbers with such programs as “Without a Trace,” “Cold Case,” “Dark Blue” (the producer’s first foray into cable) and “The Amazing Race,” a nine-time Emmy Award-winner in the category of Reality Program – Competition, eight of those won consecutively. Fall 2013 saw the debut of Jerry Bruckheimer Television’s provocative new thriller for CBS, “Hostages,” starring Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, which will be followed later in the year by the tentatively titled “Marshal Law: Texas,” a reality series for TNT.
In 2004, Bruckheimer made the “Time 100,” a list of the most influential people in the world. Also in 2004, Bruckheimer was named number one in the Power Issue of Entertainment Weekly. Variety selected Bruckheimer as their Showman of the Year for 2006. This award—determined by Variety’s top editors and reporters—is presented to an individual who has had significant economic impact, innovations and/or breakthroughs in the entertainment industry.
Bruckheimer was presented with the Salute to Excellence Award from The Museum of Television and Radio for 2006 for his contribution to the television medium. And, in 2007, the Producers Guild of America presented him with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television for his extraordinary body of work in television.
In March 2010, ShoWest honored Bruckheimer with their Lifetime Achievement Award, his fifth honor from that organization following his awards as Producer of the Year in 1985, 1988 and 1999, and Box Office Achievement in 1998. On May 17th, 2010—the same night as the U.S. premiere of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”—he planted his hand and footprints into the concrete in the forecourt of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. On the same evening, he was honored by the American Film Institute with a retrospective of five of his blockbuster films, introduced by their casts and filmmakers.
2012 saw Bruckheimer receiving the Outstanding Producer of Competition Television honor from the Producers Guild of America for “The Amazing Race,” as well as the prestigious Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Another great honor was bestowed upon Jerry Bruckheimer on June 24, 2013, when he received his own Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, further cementing his show business immortality.
In her 2008 autobiography, “In the Frame,” Dame Helen Mirren recalls Bruckheimer, during the course of filming “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” as “gentle, supportive and courageous, proving the saying ‘he who dares, wins.’”
Jerry Bruckheimer has been successful in many genres and multiple mediums because he’s a great storyteller, takes dares…and almost always wins. Look for the lightning bolt. The best stories are right behind it.
Previous American Cinematheque Award honorees include: Eddie Murphy (1986); Bette Midler (1987); Robin Williams (1988); Steven Spielberg (1989); Ron Howard (1990); Martin Scorsese (1991); Sean Connery (1992); Michael Douglas (1993); Rob Reiner (1994); Mel Gibson (1995); Tom Cruise (1996); John Travolta (1997); Arnold Schwarzenegger (1998); Jodie Foster (1999); Bruce Willis (2000); Nicolas Cage (2001); Denzel Washington (2002); Nicole Kidman (2003); Steve Martin (2004); Al Pacino (2005) George Clooney (2006), Julia Roberts (2007);Samuel L. Jackson (2008); Matt Damon (2010); Robert Downey Jr. (2011) and Ben Stiller (2013).
One thousand entertainment industry notables are expected to attend the Tribute. This annual event is the American Cinematheque’s most important benefit, providing funds for the non-profit film exhibition organization’s programs throughout the year and operation of the historic landmark Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard as well as the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica on Montana Avenue.