Chris Columbus

One of the more successful filmmakers to come from the Spielberg school of genre moviemaking, writer-director Chris Columbus emerged as a specialist in combining a sensitivity for young people's feelings with a rousing adventure yarn. Columbus entered Hollywood by way of screenwriting with his script for "Gremlins" (1984) being shepherded by Spielberg, who soon became a mentor to the young scribe. After writing the scripts for "The Goonies" (1985) and "Young Sherlock Holmes" (1985), he made his directing debut with the mild family comedy "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987). Columbus entered the realm of blockbuster filmmaker with "Home Alone" (1990), arguably one of the most successful film comedies of all time. Following the sequel "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" (1992), he had another hit with the Robin Williams vehicle "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993), which placed Columbus at the top of Hollywood's list of commercial hitmakers. Despite his overwhelming commercial success, Columbus struggled to earn the respect of critics, many of whom complained that he tended to overly sentimentalize his work by finding simple happy solutions to complicated problems. He typified such criticisms with "Bicentennial Man" (1999), which descended into cheap sentiment after a promising start. Columbus next tackled the incredibly difficult task of bring "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) to life on the big screen. Faithfully adapting that novel and the sequel "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), Columbus helped launch what became one of the most commercially successful franchises in cinema history. Though he faded to the background with "Rent" (2005) and "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010), Columbus remained one of Hollywood's most bankable commercial directors.