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Steven Spielberg used his success as a springboard, DreamWorks SKG was formed in 1994

Spielberg followed up the success of Jaws two years later with his next film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which received an academy nomination for best director. Not every Spielberg film has received acclaim however, as proven by the disastrous failure of the film 1941, his first attempt at comedy (released in 1979). This disappointment did not discourage him however, and he next teamed up with a friend of his named George Lucas. Together, Spielberg and Lucas adapted an action adventure picture based on serials they both loved as kids called Raiders of the Lost Arc. The film earned Spielberg another best director Oscar nomination.

One year later (1982), Spielberg’s next film E.T The Extra Terrestrial became the biggest domestic moneymaker of all time.  E.T. was in fact the first movie to be produced by Amblin Entertainment, a production company formed by Spielberg in 1982 carrying the name of his first big break in the business. Amblin was only a production studio, and worked together with many other studios such as Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers. With the Amblin name and logo prevalent, many films became immediate successes and American icons, including such films as Twister, E.T., Back to the future, Gremlins, Jurassic Park, Schindlers List and Saving Private Ryan.

A big challenge was presented to Spielberg in 1985. After receiving much criticism that he couldn’t make a picture with adult content, he directed the movie The Color Purple.  Although Spielberg himself did not receive an Oscar nomination, the film received 11.

Over the next few years, Spielberg directed and produced a number of movies that received little recognition, making it appear as if his career was folding. In 1993, Spielberg proved himself as one of Hollywood’s elite, as Jurassic Park and Schindlers List encapsulated the interest of every type of movie-goer and critic, satisfying the needs of commerce and art alike.  Jurassic Park grossed $100 million in the first 9 days of release (passing up E.T.’s box office record) and Schindlers List granted him his first Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture.

Using his tremendous success as a springboard, DreamWorks SKG was formed in 1994. The first new movie studio to form in Hollywood in over 75 years, DreamWorks joined the forces of Spielberg, Jeffery Katzenberg (formerly with Disney) and David Geffen (of Geffen Records) along with the backing of numerous outside partners and investors. DreamWorks promised to be a major force in all forms of entertainment from movies to music, television and video games. Amistad was the first film directed by Spielberg under the new DreamWorks label. Unfortunately, the blockbuster movie Titanic was released at the same time making it seem as if Amistad was a big failure, although it didn’t do especially bad at the box office. More recently, movies such as Deep Impact and Saving Private Ryan have proven DreamWorks a force to be reckoned with, along with the overwhelming success of American Beauty, up for 8 Oscars this year.

Spielberg credits much of his success and happiness to his wife and children... Amblin

Throughout the years, Spielberg has been recognized not only by the Academy Awards, but various other nominations including Golden Globe and Directors Guild awards. He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and the prestigious Irving G. Thasberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Personally, Spielberg credits much of his success and happiness to his wife and children. He met actress Cate Capshaw at auditions for “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in which she was cast as the leading role, and the couple married seven years later. The couple has a total of 7 children (2 adopted and 2 from previous marriages).

As a major American icon, Spielberg has written, acted in, directed and or produced many award-winning, top grossing movies of all time, along with some of the most remembered and loved.  Roger Ebert (Sun-Times film critic) has stated “If Spielberg never directed another film, his place in movie history would be secure. No other director has been more successful at the box office and few have placed more titles on various lists of great films. No director or producer has ever put together a more popular body of work. That’s why the movies we’re seeing are made in his image.” 

Spielberg treads a whole new path

While others are trying to figure out how they can follow in his footsteps, Spielberg treads a whole new path. Yes indeed, Mr. Spielberg may have paused for a week or two to recuperate after his surgery, but his finale’ is nowhere in site. He returned to DreamWorks on February 14th 2000 to start up on his next project.


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