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The 11 Most Commercially Successful Directors You've NEVER Heard Of

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | July 28, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | July 28, 2011 |

Most people know film know the name Wes Anderson. He’s a brilliant director who has influenced scores of films since he Bottle Rocket. And yet, the average box-office take of his six films is $21 million. Kevin Smith is an even more popular director. The average box-office of his nine films is $20 million. Martin Scorsese’s average is $39 million. Woody Allen’s average is $13 million. Danny Boyle’s is $30 million. The Coen Brothers average around $45 million. David Lynch: $12.3 million. David Mamet: $6 million.

And yet, if you are a film fan, those are all names that you know. You probably know them well. You’ve probably seen some or most of their films. And yet, you probably have no idea who Steve Carr is. In the last decade, Carr has made 6 films. The box-office average of those six films is $80 million, better than the average of either Tony or Ridley Scott.

Tony and Ridley Scott are in-demand directors. Steve Carr is a nobody.

In some respects, Hollywood is a funny business. Profit is the top priority, and yet a premium is put on marketing talented directors while many commercially successful directors remain obscure figures in the backgrounds of star-driven vehicles. This is not a complaint, mind you: I wouldn’t consider any of the 11 successful directors listed below talented. But they have demonstrated an ability to make profitable films, and while Martin Scorsese probably makes at least $10 million a film, the guys listed below probably don’t make a lot more than scale.

They are directors-for-hire. They show up. They organize the set. They don’t get their sticky footprints on the film, and they go home. When their films succeed, the stars receive all the attention. When the films fails, the stars receive all the blame. They’re the guys who make the shitty films that fill up the multiplexes, and rarely does anyone know their name (it doesn’t help that they’re all named Bob or Kevin or Andy or Steve).

They are: The 11 Most Commercially Successful Directors You’ve NEVER Heard Of

Donald Petrie

Hits Include: Miss Congeniality ($106 million), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Dates ($105 milllion), Grumpy Old Men ($70 million), and Mystic Pizza ($12 million).

Andy Tennant

Hits Include: Hitch ($179 million), Sweet Home Alabama ($127 million), Ever After: A Cinderalla Story ($65 million), Fool’s Gold ($70 million), and The Bounty Hunter ($67 million).

Raja Gosnell

Hits Include: Scooby Doo ($153 million), Big Momma’s House ($117 million), Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 million), Scooby Doo 2 ($84 million), Never Been Kissed ($55 million), and Yours Mine and Ours ($53 million).

John Hamburg

Hits Include: I Love You, Man ($71 million) and Along Came Polly ($88 million)

Dean Parisot (Oscar Winner)

Hits Include: Fun with Dick and Jane ($110 million) Galaxy Quest ($71 million), Home Fries ($10 million).

David Silverman

Hits Include: Monsters, Inc. ($255 million), The Simpsons Movie ($183 million), and The Road to El Dorado ($50 million).

Walt Becker

Hits Include: Wild Hogs ($168 million) Old Dogs ($49 million), and Van Wilder ($21 million)

Steve Carr

Hits Include: Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($146 million), Dr. Doolittle 2 ($112 million), Daddy Day Care ($104 million), Next Friday ($57 million), and Are We Done Yet? ($50 million)

Kevin Lima

Hits Include: Tarzan ($171 million), Enchanted ($127 million), 102 Dalmatians ($66 million).

Bob Clark

Hits Include: Porky’s ($105 million), Porky’s: The Next Day ($33 million), Baby Geniuses ($27 million), A Christmas Story ($20 million), Black Christmas (1974)

Brian Levant

Hits Include: The Flintstones ($130 million), Are We There Yet? ($82 million), Snow Dogs ($81 million), Jingle All the Way ($60 million).

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.