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Blockbuster hits released by Army veteran Barry Reardon at Warner Brothers

Barry Reardon is a name synonymous with mastery, strategy and success in the motion picture business.
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Barry Reardon. (Warner Bros)

Barry Reardon is synonymous with mastery, strategy and success in the motion picture business. He served as the President of Sales and Distribution for Warner Brothers. His nickname was “The Dean of Distribution,” and he headed theatrical distribution for the studio from 1978 to 1999. Under his tenure, some of the greatest for Warner Brothers and of all time was released at the right time in the right way. While running distribution, the studio sat atop with the best three in North American box-office market share for 16 of his 20 years on the job. He oversaw the release of blockbusters, comedies and Oscar winners during his leadership. He served in the U.S. Army in Intelligence during the mid-1950s in Europe before his days in entertainment. His career in the industry began at Paramount Pictures in New York City as an associate to the VP of Finance and his next move was to be the marketing and distribution VP and Assistant to the President. He eventually made his way to WB and the rest is history.

Let’s take a look at some of the top films released by Barry Reardon during his tenure

1. Unforgiven

Unforgiven is a great Western film starring, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood with a starring cast of heavyweights such as Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris. The story follows old outlaw and gunman Willaim Munny. He does one more job after he has tried farming for years. The movie made $159M at the box office on a budget of $14.4M. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hackman) and Best Film Editing (Joel Cox). Eastwood had been nominated for Best Actor but lost out to Al Pacino for Scent of Woman. Eastwood dedicated the film to directors and mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel and former CEO of Time Warner Steve Ross. The movie is in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

2. Twister

Endless are the fun and thrills to be had with seeing Twister on the big screen. It is an epic disaster film directed by Jan de Bont from a Michael Crichton (yes of Jurassic Park) and Anne-Marie Martin screenplay. The film was produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michael Crichton and Ian Bryce with Steven Spielberg and Gerald R. Molen (a Marine) serving as EPs. The movie stars Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Rick and Todd Field. The story follows a group of amateur storm chasers following Oklahoma tornadoes. The movie made $495M at the box office and received Oscar nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound.

3. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential rolled out onto the big screen in 1997 and served as a fresh neo-noir crime film based on James Ellroy’s 1990 novel of the same name. The movie was directed, produced and co-written by Curtis Hanson. The story follows a group of LAPD officers in early 1950s Los Angeles who interact with and are in cahoots with organized crime, celebrities, prostitution and overall police corruption. It stars Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell and Danny DeVito. Even with Austrailian-born leads (Pearce and Crowe), it brought in $126M on a budget of $35M. The movie was nominated for nine awards, including Best Picture, winning two Best Supporting Actress (Basinger) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Titanic won every other category that L.A. Confidential was up for that year.

4. The Fugitive

The Fugitive is an action thriller film built upon the famous 1960s TV series of the same name that starred David Janssen. The movie is directed by Andrew Davis and was produced by Arnold Kopelson. It stars Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward and Joe Pantoliano. The film is similar to the TV show with Dr. Richard Kimlbe being accused of a crime he did not commit, the murder of his wife, and escaping from law enforcement. He is pursued by U.S. Marshals across the Illinois countryside and Chicago cityscape as Kimble attempts to prove his innocence and that it was the one-armed man. The movie made $370M on a budget of $44M and it was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture with Jones will Best Supporting Actor for his role of Deputy Marshal Gerard.