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Todd Phillips

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Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips
Phillips in 2009
Born Todd Bunzl
(1970-12-20) December 20, 1970
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation director, producer, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1993–present
Notable work(s) Road Trip
Old School
The Hangover
Due Date
Project X

Todd Phillips (born December 20, 1970), also known as Todd Bunzl is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and actor. He is best known for writing and directing Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover film series and Due Date. He also produced the 2012 black comedy film Project X.

Personal life

Phillips was born Todd Bunzl in New York City, and attended New York University Film School, but dropped out[1] in order to focus on completing his first film, the feature-length documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies, about the life and death of the notoriously controversial punk rocker GG Allin. Around that time, he worked at Kim's Video and Music.[1] He also appeared as one of the drivers in the first seasons of Taxicab Confessions on HBO.[2] In a NY Times profile, Phillips claims to have gotten in trouble for shoplifting as a young man[3] and is also second cousins with Richard Silver the wealthy teenager who swindled his family heirlooms.

Career

Director and writer

His first documentary film Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies, centered the life and death of controversial punk rocker GG Allin, while as a junior at NYU and it went on to become one of the biggest grossing student film at the time, even getting a limited theatrical release.[1] Next, he co-directed with then-partner Andrew Gurland for Frat House, a second documentary about college fraternities, it premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary features.[4] It was produced by HBO, but never aired on its channel because many of the film's participants claimed they were paid to re-enact their activities. It was never proven either way.

His third documentary film Bittersweet Motel centered on the jam band Phish, covering its summer and fall 1997 tours, plus footage from their 1998 spring tour of Europe. It ends at The Great Went, a two-day festival held in upstate Maine which attracted 70,000 people. While at Sundance with Frat House, Phillips met director-producer Ivan Reitman who led Phillips into writing and directing his comedy films, Road Trip and Old School, for Reitman's Montecito Picture Company.

Phillips also wrote and directed the 2004 film Starsky & Hutch starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, as well as the 2006 film School for Scoundrels, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder. In 2005, Details Magazine cited Judd Apatow, Adam McKay and Phillips as "The Frat Pack".[5] He worked on Borat (2006), but he resigned his position as a director in early 2005, due to creative differences.[6] Nevertheless, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his role in fashioning the story.

After establishing Green Hat Films in 2008, Phillips directed and produced The Hangover, that was made for a reported $35 million and went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in 2009. Its worldwide gross currently stands at $480 million on February 3, 2012.[7] The film went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy).[8] It also won Best Comedy at the 2009 Broadcast Film Critics Awards.[9] Phillips took almost no up-front salary in exchange for a large share of the film's profits, and has said that the movie's enormous success, combined with his deal, makes it "my Star Wars". After a worldwide gross of $467 million, his share in the film made Phillips around $50 million.[10]

In 2010, Phillips directed, produced and co-wrote Due Date, which starred Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, that was another R-rated comedy and another box office success. It grossed $211,780,324 worldwide[11] In the fall of 2010, production on The Hangover Part II began in Bangkok, Thailand that Phillips directed, produced and co-wrote. The film shot for 63 days and broke all kinds of records upon its release on May 26, 2011. Starting with midnight showings in 2,600 theaters, the film earned $10.4 million, breaking the record for the biggest midnight opening for an R-rated film. The Hangover Part II went on to accrue a launch day total of $31.6 million;[12] nearly doubling The Hangover '​s Friday launch opening ($16.7 million). This amount broke two further records; the highest-grossing opening day for a live-action comedy and the highest-grossing opening day for an R-rated comedy film, replacing Sex and the City ($26.7 million). The three-day opening weekend accumulated $85,946,294 – an average of $23,923 per theater[13] – becoming the highest grossing opening weekend for a comedy film, replacing The Simpsons Movie ($74 million). For the Memorial Day four-day weekend, the film amassed $103.4 million to become the fourth-highest-grossing Memorial Day weekend opening.[13] Finally, the film's worldwide gross of $581,464,305 beat the previous R-rated comedy record holder The Hangover to become the third-biggest R-rated comedy film of all time.[14]

In the credits of every film Phillips has directed, the picture is addressed as "A Todd Phillips Movie", despite the fact that usually these directorial credits are referred to as "A (director) Film".

Actor

Phillips also stars in comedy films with cameo roles:

  • In the film Road Trip (2000), he makes an appearance as "Foot Lover on Bus." He is wearing a track suit and a curly black wig.
  • He has a cameo near the start of Old School (2003) and is at the door asking, "I'm here for the gangbang," and is credited as "Gang Bang Guy." Again, he wears a track suit and the same curly black wig.
  • In The Hangover (2009), Phillips played "Mr. Creepy", dressed in a tracksuit with a black curly wig who is seen as the elevator doors open and appears to have been crouched in front of the girl accompanying him. He returns in The Hangover Part III (his role is uncredited) as a robed man paying a woman in a hotel room.
  • In Due Date (2010) he played Barry, a pot-smoking roommate of Juliette Lewis's character Heidi.

Filmography

Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor
1993 Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies Yes Yes Yes No
1998 Frat House Yes Yes Yes Yes
2000 Road Trip Yes No Yes Yes
Bittersweet Motel Yes Yes Yes No
2003 Old School Yes Yes Yes Yes
2004 Starsky & Hutch Yes No Yes Yes
2006 School for Scoundrels Yes Yes Yes No
2009 The Hangover Yes Yes Yes Yes
2010 Due Date Yes Yes Yes Yes
2011 The Hangover Part II Yes Yes Yes No
2012 Project X No Yes No No
2013 The Hangover Part III Yes Yes Yes Yes

References

  1. ^ a b c Todd Phillips interview at SuicideGirls
  2. ^ Episode #1.3 at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (May 31, 2009). "Finding the Fun in Eternal Frat Boys". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Todd Phillips – Director of Road Trip Road Trip interview at DVD Talk
  5. ^ The Power 50: DETAILS Article on men.style.com
  6. ^ Billington, Alex (September 27, 2006). "Interview with Todd Phillips". FirstShowing.net. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  7. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=hangover.htm
  8. ^ Brad Brevet. "2010 Golden Globe Winners: 'Sherlock Holmes' 1, 'The Hurt Locker' 0". 
  9. ^ http://www.bfca.org/ccawards/2009.php
  10. ^ "'"$200 Million Opening Weekend Has Warner Bros Thinking Third 'Hangover. deadline.com. May 31, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  11. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=duedate.htm
  12. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=hangover2.htm
  13. ^ a b http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=hangover2.htm
  14. ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=hangover2.htm

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