Megan Ellison is an American film producer and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Annapurna Pictures, which was established in 2011 with a 'Silicon Valley' approach to filmmaking. Through Annapurna Pictures, Megan Ellison invested large amounts of money into prestigious teams attempting to make risky films. While she has often been criticized for being too ambitious and generous with her budget, she achieved immense success with films like 'Her' and 'American Hustle', which earned her the unique honor of receiving two 'Oscar' nominations in the same year. Some of the other notable films she has produced include 'Waking Madison', 'True Grit', 'The Master', 'Zero Dark Thirty', and 'Phantom Thread'. In 2014, she was included in 'The Advocate's annual '40 Under 40' list and was named among the 100 most influential people in the world by 'Time'.
Childhood & Early Life
Megan Ellison was born as Margaret Elizabeth Ellison on January 31, 1986, in Santa Clara County, California, United States to Larry Ellison and his now ex-wife Barbara Boothe Ellison. Her father is the chairman of Oracle Corporation.
Megan is of Jewish and Italian descent from her father's side and has a brother named David Ellison, who also became a film producer.
She attended Sacred Heart Preparatory and earned her diploma from there in 2004. Thereafter, she joined a film school at the University of Southern California, but left college after a year without completing graduation.
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In 2005, Megan Ellison began her professional career working as a boom operator for the short thriller 'When All Else Fails', written and directed by her brother David Ellison. The next year, she began her production career by contacting Katherine Brooks, the writer and director of 'Loving Annabelle', to invest in her next movie.
Their first film together was titled 'Waking Madison', starring Elisabeth Shue, and depicted how the lead character tries to cure her multiple personality disorder by locking herself in a room without food for 30 days. The $2 million budget film began principal photography in 2007 and was screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2011.
In the meantime, Megan Ellison financed the 2010 drama film 'Main Street' starring Colin Firth, which unfortunately failed to gain general release. The same year, she released 'Passion Play', which consisted of a popular cast but was received poorly at the box office.
At the end of 2010, she released the Coen brothers' western remake 'True Grit', which was her first movie to gain major commercial and critical success. She subsequently received more money from her father and partnered with Michael Benaroya to produce the thriller 'Catch .44', a box office failure, and the crime drama 'Lawless', which was well-received.
In 2011, she founded the media company Annapurna Pictures to fund original, daring movies made by prestigious directors and screenwriters. During this time, she also collaborated with Roeg Sutherland and Micah Green, who headed the Creative Artists Agency's film finance group.
Her production company funded Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' in 2012, which was a period drama about a cult like Scientology. The same year, she also produced the action-thriller 'Zero Dark Thirty', a dramatized version of the killing of Osama bin Laden by 'Oscar'-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.
She was reportedly working on a movie about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2011-12, but ditched the idea due to fierce competition, which resulted in the DreamWorks release 'The Fifth Estate'. Her company had acquired the rights to the 'Terminator' franchise in 2011, but she later removed it from the production of the reboot, which was eventually produced by her brother's company Skydance Productions.
In 2013, her company co-produced the science-fiction romantic drama film 'Her' and the black comedy crime film 'American Hustle', both of which were critically and commercially successful. The films earned her two 'Academy Award' nominations for 'Best Picture', making her the first woman and fourth person to achieve the feat in one year.
In the following years, she produced more critically acclaimed films like 'Foxcatcher', 'Joy', '20th Century Women' and 'Phantom Thread'. Some of her other films included 'Wiener-Dog', 'Sausage Party', 'The Bad Batch', 'Detroit' and 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs'.
'Variety' magazine reported in March 2019 that Annapurna Pictures faced roughly $35 million in material loss due to poor performances of several recent films like 'If Beale Street Could Talk', 'Vice' and 'Destroyer'. In August, amidst reports of bankruptcy, she told her employees that their jobs were safe as she had "no intention of stopping any time soon".
Family & Personal Life
Megan Ellison, who is openly gay, was in a relationship with a woman for about a year according to a 2014 article. Later that year, she began appearing at events with her partner Robyn Shapiro.
Megan Ellison's production company Annapurna Pictures was named after Mount Annapurna in Nepal. She hiked the Annapurna Circuit in 2006.