‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ producer John Landau dies at 63

Oscar-winning producer and longtime collaborator of director James Cameron, John Landau helped bring to life three of the highest-grossing films of all time, “Titanic” and two “Avatar” films. He is 63 years old.

According to a statement from his family provided by Disney, Mr. Landau died Friday in Los Angeles. It did not state the cause of death.

Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron’s decades-long collaboration made box office history. Their first film together, “Titanic,” became the first film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide since its 1997 release. Its grossing record of $1.84 billion was surpassed by their next film together, the sci-fi epic “Avatar” (2009).

“Titanic” was nominated for 14 Oscars and won 11, including Best Picture, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Both Landau shared.

“I can’t act, I can’t compose and I can’t do visual effects, so I guess that’s why I’m producing,” Mr. Landau said in his acceptance speech.

John Landau was born on July 23, 1960 in New York City, according to his family’s statement. His first exposure to filmmaking was through his parents, Eli and Eddie Landau, who produced ambitious independent films for mass audiences, including adaptations of stage plays by Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee, and Bertolt Brecht.

Many of these adaptations were released through a subscription service called Landus American Film Theater, which gave audiences access to regular screenings of film versions of the plays.

He became executive vice president of special productions at 20th Century Fox, where he produced “Home Alone” (1990), “Mrs. Doubt” (1993) and “Speed” (1994).

It was at this time that he met Mr. met Cameron, who directed “True Lies” (1994), an action comedy distributed by 20th Century Fox. Mr. When Landau decided to leave the company, Mr. Cameron asked. That plan would become “Titanic” and kick off a partnership that spanned decades.

“Titanic” was not expected to be a box office success. The film is over three hours long and extensive critical reports before its release detailed production delays that cost $200 million, more than the film itself. $110 million budget.

After the huge success of “Titanic”, Mr. Landau said he felt like “the mayor of the city” during production.

“I had all these elements, including heads of various departments like special effects, props, wardrobe, who sometimes needed moral support, sometimes financial help,” says Mr. Landau said.

And when it came to the stress of spending tens of millions of dollars over budget, “it was easy to fight for the things we asked for because we believed they were necessary to make the initial shot of the movie,” Mr. Landau said.

Mr. Cameron told The Los Angeles Times that “most producers make a budget, not a movie,” but not Mr. Landau.

“It’s a very difficult thing to weigh the extra costs against the aesthetic gains of the film – you have to tap into a director’s brain a little bit,” says Mr. Cameron said. “Landau understands what a filmmaker needs.”

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Mr. Landau and Mr. Cameron’s second film, “Avatar,” grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide and was nominated for nine Oscars. It won for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. “Avatar: The Way of Water”, released in 2022.

Mr. Mr. Landau worked on, and was the driving force behind, the Walt Disney World attraction based on the “Avatar” movies.

Family Statement, Mr. Landau is survived by his wife, Julie Landau; their two sons, Jamie Landau and Jody Landau; his two sisters, Tina Landau and Kathy Landau; his brother Les Landau; and other relatives.

In December 2009, before the release of “Avatar”, Mr. Landau told digital magazine Salon how he justified making such expensive films by giving investors a return on their capital, creating jobs and giving audiences “what they can afford. Not available anywhere else.”

“When they go see our film, we’ve probably spent more money than the next guy, and you know what? Visitors get more bang for their buck,” said Mr. Landau said. “They don’t pay more to see our movie than they do to see ‘Paranormal Activity.’

He also said that he made films for the audience and not for critics or award show voters.

“We want to entertain people, that’s the number one priority,” Mr. Landau said. “If something else comes along, that’s great. But we want people to enjoy films not only viscerally but also emotionally.

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