DAVID ZUCKER (Director)
Laughs, laughs, and one more laugh thrown in for good measure has always been David Zucker’s guideline to generating a riotous comedy which leaves audiences doubled over in hilarity. Mixing equal parts slapstick and dry wit, Zucker created his own genre of comedy with the 1980 hit “Airplane!,” paving the way for other comedies in its vein such as the “Austin Powers” films, “Dumb and Dumber,” “Road Trip,” and the SCARY MOVIE trio of films. Known for his trademark hands on approach to directing comedy and his ability to bring out the funny side of the most serious dramatic actor, Zucker has proven himself a trailblazer of a genre, which has been imitated many times over, yet never truly replicated.
Zucker returns to direct SCARY MOVIE 4, having directed SCARY MOVIE 3, the third installment of the highly successful franchise for Dimension Films. SCARY MOVIE 3 continued the zany antics which began as a spoof on horror films such as “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” SCARY MOVIE 3 starred Queen Latifah, Charlie Sheen, Eddie Griffin, Regina Hall, Anna Faris, and Zucker alumnus Leslie Nielsen in an ensemble cast. This proved to be the right formula for success, as SCARY MOVIE 3 landed at the top of the box office, grossing over $48M in its opening weekend and grossing over $110M in total at the domestic box office. This time around, Zucker has delivered even more outrageous laughs and pushed the limits further than ever before.
Zucker’s first hit landed in 1980 with the success of “Airplane!,” for which he shared directing credits with his brother Jerry Zucker and long-time friend Jim Abrahams. Conceived by David as a “comedy without comedians,” “Airplane!” featured dramatic actors like Robert Stack and Peter Graves delivering zany dialogue with straight-laced sincerity. Unbeknownst to him, Zucker had created an entirely new drama which became a fresh beacon in the comedic world. The spoof became the surprise hit of 1980, taking over $83M in gross box office receipts and positioned Zucker and company as kingpins of Hollywood comedy. Zucker’s streak continued, in collaboration with Abrahams and his brother, with the secret agent spoof “Top Secret!” starring Val Kilmer and the biting farce “Ruthless People” starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito, which became one of the top-grossing films of 1986, grossing over $71M.
In 1988, David Zucker ventured on to his first film as solo director. “The Naked Gun” starred Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin, a detective with a penchant for finding himself in awkward situations and public fiascos. Co-starring Priscilla Presley, “The Naked Gun” became a runaway hit, inspiring two follow-ups, “The Naked Gun 2,” which surpassed the original at the box office, and “The Naked Gun 33 1/3,” produced by Zucker, was also another box-office hit.
David Zucker started out after college with a few borrowed video tape decks and an old camera. He convinced brother Jerry and friend Jim Abrahams to join him in creating the Kentucky Fried Theater in the back of a bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin. Moving to Los Angeles in 1972, their success continued with a new show, presenting their unique, satirical blend of videotaped, filmed, and live sketches. In five years, they became the most successful small theater group in Los Angeles history. In 1977, they collaborated on their first feature, aptly titled “Kentucky Fried Movie,” which became a hit independent release and remains a cult classic to this day.
In recent years, Zucker has also branched out into other genres, adding diverse projects to his producing credits. From such films as the taut thriller, “Phone Booth” starring Colin Farrell to the sentimental drama “A Walk in the Clouds” starring Keanu Reeves, Zucker has shown his wide range of talent and an eye for commercially successful material.