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Andrew Adamson

Andrew Adamson (cropped).jpg
Adamson in 2013
Born (1966-12-01) 1 December 1966 (age 57)
Auckland, New Zealand
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
  • animator
Years active 1990–present
Children 2

Andrew Ralph Adamson MNZM (born 1 December 1966) is a New Zealand film director, producer, screenwriter and animator. He is best known for co-directing the DreamWorks animated films Shrek (2001) and its sequel Shrek 2 (2004), both films based on the book of the same name by William Steig. He also directed the live-action film adaptations of C. S. Lewis' novels, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and its sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008).

Personal life

Adamson's parents were a homemaker and a computer engineer. Born in New Zealand, Adamson moved to Papua New Guinea with his parents aged eleven, and he returned to Auckland aged eighteen. When 24, he moved to San Francisco, and divided time between there and Los Angeles. Since making the Narnia films, he has settled back in New Zealand. Adamson has two children.


Adamson wanted to be an architect, but missed a university enrollment deadline because of a car accident. He was recruited by Pacific Data Images to work in the USA. The company opened an office in Los Angeles. There he served as a technical director in the following movies: Toys (1992), starring Robin Williams, and Angels in the Outfield (1994), starring Danny Glover. Previously, Adamson specialised in ads but preferred the idea of telling a story in longer format. He served as visual effects supervisor in the 1995 film Batman Forever, A Time to Kill (1996), and Batman & Robin (1997).

Adamson directed Shrek (the first installment in the series), based on the 1990 picture book written by William Steig with a modest budget of US$60 million in 2001. However, the film became a worldwide success, taking in nearly $500 million in the box office, including more than $40 million in its opening week-end. The film featured the lead voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.

The next film in the series, Shrek 2 (2004), had a big Hollywood budget of around $150 million, and was even a bigger success than the first film, taking in more than $900 million worldwide. The film opened to over $100 million, one of the highest openings ever at the time. Adamson directed this film and also wrote the story.

However, he did not direct the next film in the series, Shrek the Third, as he had been contracted by Walden Media to work on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Instead, the film was directed by Chris Miller and Raman Hui while Adamson served as executive producer. The script of the film was written by J. David Stem and Joe Stillman. The third film was financially successful, taking in more than $795 million worldwide with a budget of no more than $160 million, but received mixed reviews from critics.

Adamson achieved commercial success and worldwide attention with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which he co-produced, co-wrote and directed. The film is based on the book of the same name by C.S. Lewis, and won various awards, gained critical praise and was a box office success, becoming the third highest-grossing film worldwide of 2005 according to Box Office Mojo. The film opened in the US and Canada with totals of higher than $65 million and the film ended up with a worldwide gross of $744,783,957 with a budget of $180 million according to Box Office Mojo.

He returned as director to the next Narnia film: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which had a worldwide release in May 2008 and grossed over $419 million at the box office. Adamson returned as producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, released in Australia on 9 December 2010, and in the United States and UK on 10 December the same year. At the moment, though, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media still hold the rights to the series, and they currently retain the option to make The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair in the future. However, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media decided to produce The Magician's Nephew as the next Narnia film instead of The Silver Chair. But, in October 2011, Douglas Gresham confirmed that Walden Media's contract with the C. S. Lewis estate had expired, and any production of a future film was on hold indefinitely.

Experimental hip hop group Death Grips worked with Adamson on their 2018 album Year of the Snitch. He appears on the track "Dilemma," delivering a spoken word introduction to the song.


Year Title Director Writer Producer
2001 Shrek Yes No No
2004 Shrek 2 Yes Yes No
2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Yes Yes Executive
2007 Shrek the Third No Story Executive
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Yes Yes Yes
2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader No No Yes
2012 Mr. Pip Yes Yes Yes
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away Yes Yes Yes

Executive producer only

Other credits

Year Title Role
1992 Toys Technical director
1993 Heart and Souls Animation supervisor
1994 Angels in the Outfield Visual effects supervisor
1995 Batman Forever
1996 The Frighteners Digital effects supervisor
A Time to Kill Visual effects supervisor
1997 Batman & Robin
2000 Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes Grip
2001 Shrek Voice of Duloc Mascot, Songwriter: Merry Men
Pâté Grip; short film
2004 Shrek 2 Voice of Captain of the Guards, Songwriter: Fairy Godmother's Song
2007 Shrek the Third Additional screenplay material
2012 Mirror Mirror Very special thanks
2014 The Dark Horse Special thanks
2018 Year of the Snitch Spoken word on "Dilemma"
2020 Prop Culture Himself, Episode: "The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe"

Accolades and honour

Adamson has directed films which have received several accolades. Shrek won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and the National Board of Review Award for Best Animated Film. Shrek 2 won the People's Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Comedy, Favorite Sequel, and Favorite Animated Movie. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, the BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Family Film, and the Saturn Awards for Best Make-up and Best Special Effects.

Adamson was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to film, in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Andrew Adamson para niños

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