Robert Shaye

Robert Shaye

Highest Rated: 98% Hairspray (1988)

Lowest Rated: 0% Heart Condition (1990)

Birthday: Mar 3, 1939

Birthplace: Not Available

Best known as the founder, co-chairman, and co-CEO of New Line Cinema, warhorse Robert K. Shaye is responsible for turning that enterprise from a fledgling, independently owned distributor of "arthouse" features and documentaries (circa the late '60s), into one of the most significant film production companies and distributors of motion-picture entertainment in the international marketplace. Fiscally, it currently stands as the fifth-ranked studio in Hollywood thanks to Shaye's efforts. Born March 3, 1939, in Detroit, MI, Shaye initially pursued a career as a film director, authoring a training film for workers at his father's supermarket, and later helming the shorts Image (1963) and On Fighting Witches (1965). He received an MBA from the University of Michigan and a JD from Columbia University School of Law, then accepted a position, in the mid- to late '60s, with New York's Museum of Modern Art (infamous for its extensive archival film holdings) and used the knowledge he obtained from that post to explore the option of establishing a startup film distributorship out of his Greenwich Village apartment. Shaye founded "New Line Cinema" (as he named the business) in 1967, initially as an outlet for rereleases of "cult" films (such as the 1936 Reefer Madness, which became a sensation among potheads) and first-run domestic issues of international films, much as Barney Rosset's Grove Press was doing right at around the same time. But whereas Grove experienced financial difficulty in the early to mid-'70s and watched its film distribution wing fold, New Line enjoyed enormous success on all fronts through the end of the decade. The corporation branched out into far more lucrative and commercial territory (the "mainstream") in the '80s and '90s, largely thanks to the release of Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and -- later on -- the Austin Powers series. In 1993, it inherited the Friday the 13th franchise as well (then dormant for four years, a longer lapse than at any point in the prior history of the series) and successfully revived it with Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, raking in millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Shaye branched out into more independent, arthouse fare (in competition with such entities as Miramax), and established the Fine Line Features distribution wing of New Line in 1990 to help accomplish this goal. With teenage slasher fans and a more discerning, educated viewership under its belt, concurrently, New Line thus managed to reach multiple audiences on opposite sides of the industry spectrum -- an unprecedented move in the American film industry. New Line's successful arthouse projects during the '90s and 2000s include The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993), Pleasantville (1998), Magnolia (1999), About Schmidt (2002), and Punch-Drunk Love (2002), to name only a few among dozens. Over the years, New Line -- under Shaye's aegis -- has become industry godfather to such maverick filmmakers as Craven, John Waters, Alexander Payne, Albert and Allen Hughes, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Robert Altman (in his early '90s Hollywood resurgence). Shaye is a Fulbright Scholar, a trustee of Columbia College, and a member of the New York State Bar Association. He serves on several committees, including the Legal Aid Society of New York, the AFI, and the Board of Trustees of Motion Picture Pioneers.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Ambition Producer 2019
No Score Yet High in the Clouds Producer 2015
94% The Last Impresario Actor 2014
14% The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Executive Producer $31.2M 2013
15% A Nightmare on Elm Street Executive Producer $63.2M 2010
55% The Last Mimzy Director Executive Producer $21.5M 2007
90% Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream Actor 2005
93% The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Executive Producer $364.1M 2003
41% Freddy vs. Jason Executive Producer $82.3M 2003
95% The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Executive Producer $339.8M 2002
65% Festival in Cannes Bert Shuster $41.5K 2002
91% The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Executive Producer $314.1M 2001
70% Frequency Executive Producer 2000
80% Divine Trash Actor 1997
80% Wes Craven's New Nightmare Himself 1994
63% Blink Executive Producer 1994
17% National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Actor 1993
20% Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Bus Ticket Booth Man (uncredited) Producer 1991
No Score Yet Book of Love Director 1991
0% Heart Condition Producer 1990
19% Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Executive Producer Producer 1990
32% A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child Producer 1989
14% The Prince of Pennsylvania Producer 1988
55% A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Actor Producer 1988
27% Critters 2: The Main Course Executive Producer 1988
98% Hairspray Executive Producer Producer 1988
No Score Yet Stranded Producer Executive Producer 1987
77% The Hidden Actor Producer 1987
No Score Yet My Demon Lover Producer 1987
74% A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Producer 1987
No Score Yet Quiet Cool Producer 1986
55% Critters Executive Producer 1986
43% A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge Producer 1985
94% A Nightmare on Elm Street Producer 1984
No Score Yet The First Time Executive Producer 1983
78% Alone in the Dark Screenwriter Producer 1982
93% Polyester Executive Producer 1981
No Score Yet Stunts Producer Executive Producer 1977
No Score Yet It's Showtime Producer 1977


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