JJ Abrams is one of the hottest names in Hollywood these days, producing and directing major projects such as Star Trek and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, despite his affinity for science fiction and galaxies far, far away, Abrams actually got his start by telling more grounded stories based right here on Earth.
With a diverse profile and raising acclaim, it’s no wonder his net worth sits at $120 million.
JJ Abrams was born in New York City on June 27, 1966, to television producer Gerald W. Abrams and executive producer Carol Ann Abrams. Ever since he was young, Abrams was obsessed with film. He received his first super 8mm camera when he was eight years old and began making amateur movies. He moved to Los Angeles for high school before moving back to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College. While he initially planned on attending art school, his father convinced him to enroll in a traditional college.
Abrams first film came in 1990 with Taking Care of Business. However, his big break would not come until 1998, when he co-wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film Armageddon and co-created the hit TV college drama series Felicity, helping launch the career of Keri Russel and running for four seasons. Three years later, Abrams founded his own production company — Bad Robot — with Bryan Burk. Under this new name, Abrams co-created spy drama Alias starring Jennifer Garner, which ran for five seasons.
In 2004, Abrams co-created Lost, which follows the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 on a mysterious and dangerous island. The show became an instant hit and revolutionized TV with its use of flashbacks and (spoiler alert) flashforwards and is expansive and deep mythology. The drama ran for six seasons and ended with a controversial series finale that left many fans upset with its lack of closure and answers regarding many of its mysteries.
While Abrams directed multiple episodes of Felicity, Alias and Lost, he made his feature film directorial debut with Mission Impossible III (2006), his first take with a massive movie franchise. The film grossed $397 million and received high critical acclaim, especially the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as the film’s antagonist.
Abrams was also responsible for launching the Cloverfield franchise, producing Cloverfield (2008) and its two sequels, 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). The films have grossed over $280 million dollars. He also produced several more successful TV projects, including Fringe, Person of Interest and 11.22.63.
Into the Stars
In 2009, Abrams successfully rebooted the Star Trek franchise with his critically acclaimed titular film starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy. The film grossed $385.7 million and spawned two sequels. The film arguably relaunched Star Trek into the modern day, paving the way for the CBS All Access dramas Star Trek: Discovery and Picard. There are even rumors that Quentin Tarantino will helm the fourth film.
That was not the only galaxy Abrams helped relaunch. He also directed Disney’s first Star Wars film after they bought Lucasfilm. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) introduced fans to new characters such as Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and brought back beloved heroes Luke (Mark Hamill), Leah (Carrie Fisher) and Han (Harrison Ford). The film was well-received by fans and critics, grossing $2.068 billion and becoming the highest-grossing film of 2015 and the fourth-highest grossing film of all time. Abrams is set to return as director for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will conclude the story that started with The Phantom Menace (or A New Hope, depending on who you ask), in what Disney now calls the “Skywalker Saga.”
JJ Abrams is a brilliant mind who can create his own worlds, while also giving new life to fan-favorite universes. He has helped launch the career of multiple A-list stars and his work always gets people talking by the watercooler. While he may be worth $120 million now, expect that number to rise very fast in the near future.