Jon Landau at the at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, December 10, 2022, Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson.
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Jon Landau with James Cameron
Forecourt Ceremony held on Thursday, January 12, 2023
Born: July 23, 1960, in New York City
Age at the time of the ceremony: 62
Died: July 5, 2024, in Los Angeles, California, age 63
Jon Landau is a film-producing partner to James Cameron, having been on every significant production the director has been involved with since 1994. Their collaboration has been — fruitful, to say the least.

Jon is from a showbiz family. His parents both were movie producers, Edie and Ely Landau. After attending USC Cinema School, he drifted into production supervision, which must have satisfied his executive bent and the desire to be on-set where the action is. Landau was production supervisor on the low-budget rom-com Key Exchange (released in August 1985) with Brooke Adam at Fox.

He was unit production manager on F/X (released in February 1986) with Bryan Brown, released through Orion, on Manhunter (which played the Chinese in August 1986) with William L. Petersen through DEG, on Making Mr. Right (released in April 1987) with John Malkovich at Orion, was co-producer on Campus Man (released in April 1987) with John Dye at Paramount and was a co-producer on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (released in June 1989) with Rick Moranis at Disney. Landau was also a co-producer and unit production manager on on Warren Beatty's passion project Dick Tracy (released in June 1990).

Just how does one take a string of films such as these and become head of production at a Hollywood studio? You and I will never know, but somehow, Landau managed to work his way up to being Executive Vice President of Feature Film Production at 20th Century Fox, where he oversaw films like Die Hard II (released in July 1990) with Bruce Willis, The Last of the Mohicans (released in September 1992) with Daniel Day-Lewis, True Lies (which played the Chinese in July 1994) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis (where he would have his first run-ins with director James Cameron) and that deathless classic, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers : The Movie (released in June 1995) with Karan Ashley.

The lives of motion picture executives go mostly unnoticed until nosy historians show up long after everything is done, and Landau is no exception. Obviously, he and Cameron hit it off, because they got together and began to work on something Cameron had always wanted to do: make a film about the HMS Titanic.

With Landau out at Fox, he and Cameron pitched their idea to new Fox head Peter Chernin, who despite his reservations, green-lit it, hoping to cement a relationship with Cameron. Landau became co-producer and unit production manager on the most famous film to come out of the 1990s.

While ballooning to the highest budget in Hollywood history, with infighting at Cameron's Digital Domain effects house, and a second studio (Paramount) recruited to add more money, many industry people thought that Titanic (which had its U. S. Premiere at the Chinese and went on to play for 11 Weeks starting in December 1997) with Leonardo DiCaprio, would be a flop. The historical spectacle succeeded as show-biz, generating many repeated viewings by its devoted audiences. Landau bagged an Oscar for Best Picture with Cameron.

Together at Cameron's Lightstorm production company, Landau was co-producer on Solaris (released in November 2002) with George Clooney. We were heading back to fantasy territory.

The unique 3D film Avatar (which had its U.S. Premiere at the Chinese on Wednesday, December 16, 2009) with Sam Worthington, combined several of Cameron's obsessions and became the top-grossing film in the world. It still is.

Landau was along for co-producing Alita: Battle Angel (which played the Chinese in February 2019) with Rosa Salazar, co-producer on the documentary Bruce Springsteen's Leter to You streaming on Apple+ in October 2020, and was co-producer on Avatar: The Way of Water (which played the Chinese in December 2022) with Sam Worthington. This film did so much business that more episodes are on their way.

Landau was felled by cancer in July 2024, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 63.
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Jon Landau Forecourt block. Executed by unknown, Thursday, January 12, 2023. 31 x 24 inches.
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. James Cameron / Jon Landau Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, January 12, 2023. Having done the deed, Jon Landau poses with his longtime producing partner, James Cameron. Nina Prommer/Milestone Photo.
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