Christopher John "Chris" Weitz (born November 30, 1969) is an Academy Award-nominated American producer, writer, director and actor. He is best known for his work with his brother, Paul Weitz, on the comedy films American Pie and About a Boy, as well as directing the film adaptation of the novel The Golden Compass. It was announced on December 13, 2008 that he was going to be the director for the film, New Moon.
Weitz was born in New York City, New York, the son of actress Susan Kohner and novelist/fashion designer John Weitz. His brother is Paul Weitz. Paul Kohner and Mexican actress Lupita Tovar were his maternal grandparents. His grandmother, Lupita, starred in Santa, Mexico's first talkie in 1932. He is married to Mercedes Martinez with whom he has one son, Sebastian.
He graduated with an English degree from Trinity College in Cambridge.
Weitz began his film career as a co-writer on the 1998 animated film Antz. He followed this with work on various sitcoms such as Off Centre and the 1998 revival of Fantasy Island. In 1999, he and Paul directed and produced American Pie, which became a major box office success. Chris would return as executive producer on the film's two theatrical sequels. In 2001 he directed his second film, the Chris Rock comedy Down To Earth. The following year the brothers co-wrote and directed About a Boy, which earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Golden Compass
In 2003, Weitz was hired to direct New Line Cinema's adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, The Golden Compass, after approaching the studio with an unsolicited 40-page treatment. He was subsequently invited by director Peter Jackson to visit the set of King Kong, in order to gain insight into directing a big-budget film and advice on how to deal with New Line. In 2005, Weitz announced his departure from the film, citing the enormous technical challenges involved, and the fear of being denounced by both the book's fans and detractors; he was subsequently replaced by British director Anand Tucker. Ironically, Tucker left the project in 2006 over creative differences with New Line, and Weitz returned to the director's chair after receiving a letter from Pullman asking him to reconsider.
The film was released in 2007 and was met with mixed reviews. Its U.S. grosses have been described as disappointing in relation to film's $180 million USD budget, although it was a "stellar performer" outside the U.S. with a "stunning" box office likely to hit $250 million. When questioned about a possible sequel, New Line studio co-head Michael Lynne said that "The jury is still very much out on the movie..." Although the second and third screenplays have been written, the economic recession, and protests from religious groups it appears that subsequent production for the series is at a standstill. Its worldwide box office gross stands at $372,234,864.
- Main article: New Moon (film)
On December 13, 2008, he was confirmed as directing the sequel to Twilight, the film adaptation of the novel New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. New Moon opened in theaters on November 20, 2009, one year after the first movie was released. New Moon set records as the biggest midnight opening in domestic box office history, grossing an estimated $26.3 million in 3,514 theatres. The record was previously held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which grossed $22.2 million domestically during its midnight premiere. The film grossed $72.7 million on its opening day domestically, becoming the biggest single-day opening in domestic history, beating The Dark Knight's $67.2 million. This opening strongly contributed to another record: the first time that the top ten films at the domestic box office had a combined gross of over $100 million in a single day.
The opening weekend of New Moon is the third highest opening weekend in domestic history with $142,839,137, and the sixth highest worldwide opening weekend with $274.9 million total. With an estimated budget of just under $50 million, New Moon is the least expensive movie to ever open to more than $200 million worldwide. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the film grossed $42.5 million, and including Wednesday and Thursday ticket sales, grossed $66 million. It earned $230.7 million in its first ten days, which is $38 million more than the previous installment grossed in its entire theatrical run. Internationally, the film grossed roughly $85 million over Thanksgiving weekend, adding up to a total worldwide gross of $473.7 million in just ten days.