Most recently, Spyglass co-financed the multiple Academy Award nominee Seabiscuit, starring Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper, with Birnbaum serving as executive producer. The film was nominated for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, along with nods for Art Direction, Cinematography, Design, Film Editing and Sound Mixing. The film earned more than $120 million at the domestic box office, and the DVD sales topped 6.5 million, making it the best-selling drama on DVD of all time.
Previously, Spyglass co-financed the record-shattering Memorial Day box office hit Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey and directed by Tom Shadyac; the film earned $85.7 million over the holiday, establishing it as the biggest non-sequel opening for a comedy ever. Birnbaum served as executive producer on the film.
Instinct, starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr., was the first Spyglass Entertainment film, released in 1999, followed by The Sixth Sense, the record-breaking hit starring Bruce Willis. Other significant Spyglass hits include Rush Hour 2, which re-teamed Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, Shanghai Noon, starring Chan and Owen Wilson, Unbreakable, the hit follow-up from The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, and Keeping the Faith, the directing debut of actor Edward Norton.
Spyglass also produced The Count of Monte Cristo, directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce and Richard Harris; it was filmed on location in Ireland and Malta. Spyglass previously teamed with Tom Shadyac on the director's supernatural drama Dragonfly, starring Kevin Costner.
Additionally, the company produced Reign of Fire with Richard Zanuck (Driving Miss Daisy, Jaws, The Sting), which Rob Bowman (The X-Files) directed; The Recruit, starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell and directed by Roger Donaldson; and Shanghai Knights, the hit sequel to Shanghai Noon. Spyglass is also co-financier and international rights holder on Abandon, a film directed and written by Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) and starring Benjamin Bratt and Katie Holmes.
Prior to founding Spyglass, Birnbaum, through Caravan Pictures (the production company he helped build with partner Joe Roth), was responsible for such box office hits as the original Rush Hour, Six Days/Seven Nights, Inspector Gadget, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Three Musketeers, Angels in the Outfield and While You Were Sleeping. Before joining Caravan, Birnbaum held the title of President of Worldwide Production and Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox, where he developed such films as Home Alone, Sleeping with the Enemy, Edward Scissorhands, Hot Shots, My Cousin Vinny, The Last of the Mohicans, Die Hard 2 and Mrs. Doubtfire, among others.
Earlier in his career, he produced the popular The Sure Thing, directed by Rob Reiner, and Young Sherlock Holmes, in association with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. For television, he executive-produced the telefilms Scandal Sheet, Happily Ever After, When Your Lovers Leaves and the award-winning All the Kids Do It.
Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, and educated at the University of Denver, Birnbaum was Vice-President of A&M Records and Arista Records, and a senior executive with the Robert Stigwood Organization before entering the film business.
Roger Birnbaum Facts
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