Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder

Snyder promoting Justice League at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born Zachary Edward Snyder
(1966-03-01) March 1, 1966
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Residence Pasadena, California, United States
Occupation Filmmaker
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Denise Weber (divorced)
Deborah Snyder (m. 2004)
Partner(s) Kirsten Elin
Children Eight children (4 eldest from first marriage, 2 from Elin, 2 adopted with Deborah)

Zachary Edward "Zack" Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American filmmaker, best known for his action and science fiction films. Snyder made his feature film debut with the 2004 remake of the horror film Dawn of the Dead. Since then, he has done a number of comic book and superhero films, including 300 (2007) and Watchmen (2009), as well as the Superman film that started the DC Extended Universe, Man of Steel (2013) and its follow-ups, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017). He also co-wrote the screenplays for 300, Sucker Punch and 300: Rise of an Empire.

Snyder is the co-founder of Cruel and Unusual Films, a production company he established in 2004, alongside his wife Deborah Snyder and producing partner Wesley Coller.[1]

Early life

Snyder was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and raised in Riverside, Connecticut. His mother, Marsha Manley (née Reeves), was a painter and a photography teacher at Daycroft School, which Snyder later attended. His father, Charles Edward "Ed" Snyder, worked as an executive recruiter.[2][3][4] He was raised as a Christian Scientist.[1] Snyder attended Camp Owatonna in Harrison, Maine, during the summer months as a child. Snyder's mother inspired him to study painting a year after high school at Heatherley School of Fine Art in England, although he had already begun filmmaking. Afterward, Snyder attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.


Snyder went on to shoot, as a director and as a cinematographer, television commercials for such clients as the automobile companies Audi, BMW, Subaru and Nissan, amongst others. Other commercial work has been for clients including Nike, Reebok, and Gatorade.

Snyder made his feature film debut with the remake of the horror film Dawn of the Dead (2004), and scored a box office hit with the fantasy war film 300 (2007), adapted from writer-artist Frank Miller's Dark Horse Comics miniseries of the same name. His Warner Bros. film Watchmen was released on March 6, 2009 and grossed $185 million worldwide. His follow-up project/animation debut titled Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole was released on September 24, 2010. Snyder produced, co-wrote, and directed Sucker Punch,[5] which was released on March 25, 2011. The film, based on a script written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya, was about a young woman in a mental hospital who fantasizes of escape with her fellow inmates.

He directed 2013's Man of Steel for Warner Bros., a reboot of the Superman franchise. He will direct a yet-to-be-produced remake of the 1969 film The Illustrated Man,[6] and produced the prequel/sequel to 300, 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). He also wants to direct a segment for an upcoming Heavy Metal 3, and plans to write and direct a sequel to Legend of the Guardians.[7]

During Comic Con 2013, Snyder announced that Batman and Superman would share the screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, released in 2016. Cavill reprised his role as Superman, and Ben Affleck played Batman.[8] In April 2014, Snyder was announced by Warner Bros. to direct the Justice League film after finishing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[9] As of March 2016, Snyder is working on The Last Photograph, a drama about a war photographer in Afghanistan. He is also working on an adaptation of the 1943 novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.[10][11]


Snyder often uses slow motion in and out of the fight scenes in his films, which Amy Nicholson of BoxOffice magazine remarked separates the director from other filmmakers who make multiple cuts and close-ups during a fight. A minute-long shot from 300 shows King Leonidas slaughtering his enemies, the camera zooming in and out to emphasize each kill and move Leonidas makes. Snyder also has a complex use of color, often desaturating most of a shot except for a few vibrant subjects. [12]

Personal life

Snyder lives in Pasadena with his second wife, producer Deborah Snyder. The couple first met in 1996, and married on September 25, 2004 at the St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Manhattan, New York.[13][14]

Snyder has eight children. The four eldest are from a marriage to Denise Weber that ended in divorce. Two are from another relationship, with Kirsten Elin, who was his line producer on commercials for a while.[1] Snyder and his current wife adopted two children during the course of making Man of Steel.[15]



Year Film Director Producer Writer
2004 Dawn of the Dead Yes No No
2007 300 Yes No Yes
2009 Watchmen Yes No No
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Yes No No
2011 Sucker Punch Yes Yes Yes
2013 Man of Steel Yes No No
2014 300: Rise of an Empire No Yes Yes
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Yes No No
Suicide Squad No Executive No
2017 Wonder Woman No Yes Story
Justice League Yes No No
2018 The Flash No Executive No
Aquaman No Yes No
2019 Untitled Justice League sequel[16] Yes No No

Music videos

Year Film Performed by
1992 "You're So Close" Peter Murphy
"Tomorrow" Morrissey
"Somebody to Shove" Soul Asylum
1993 "Black Gold" Soul Asylum
"In the Middle" Alexander O'Neal
1994 "I Know" Dionne Farris
2009 "Desolation Row" My Chemical Romance



Actors Dawn of the Dead
Legend of the Guardians:
The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Sucker Punch
Man of Steel
Batman v Superman:
Dawn of Justice

Justice League
Justice League

Richard Cetrone
Matt Frewer
Michael Kelly
Stephen McHattie
Patrick Sabongui
Eli Snyder
David Wenham
Michael Adamthwaite
Carla Gugino
Alessandro Juliani
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Patrick Wilson
Abbie Cornish
Jena Malone
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Kevin Costner
Diane Lane
Laurence Fishburne
Harry Lennix
Christina Wren
Ben Affleck
Gal Gadot
Ezra Miller
Jason Momoa
Ray Fisher
Amber Heard



While Variety has praised Snyder's visual direction, it has also criticized him for subpar storytelling and excessive iconography.[17] Many of Snyder's films have, however, attained cult status such as 300, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice.[18][19][20][21]

Critical, public and commercial reception to films Zack Snyder has directed as of April 26, 2016:

Year Film Rotten Tomatoes[22] Metacritic[23] CinemaScore[24] Budget Box office[25]
2004 Dawn of the Dead 75% (180 reviews) 59 (37 reviews) B $26 million $102.4 million
2007 300 60% (226 reviews) 52 (42 reviews) A- $65 million $456.1 million
2009 Watchmen 65% (294 reviews) 56 (39 reviews) B $130 million $185.3 million
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole 50% (122 reviews) 53 (21 reviews) A- $80 million $140.1 million
2011 Sucker Punch 24% (204 reviews) 33 (29 reviews) B- $82 million $89.8 million
2013 Man of Steel 55% (300 reviews) 55 (47 reviews) A- $225 million $668.0 million
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 27% (338 reviews) 44 (51 reviews) B $250 million $873.3 million
2017 Justice League N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Awards and nominations

Snyder's body of work has earned him a number of awards, including two Clio Awards and a Gold Lion Award for his Jeep "Frisbee" commercial. He also won an award for his humorous commercial "General's Party".

Year Award Category Nominee Result[26]
2007 Golden Schmoes Award Best Director of the Year 300 Nominated
Hollywood Film Award Hollywood Movie of the Year Won
2008 Saturn Award Best Director Won
Best Writing
Shared with Michael B. Gordon & Kurt Johnstad
2009 ShoWest Award Director of the Year Won
2010 Saturn Award Best Director Watchmen Nominated
SFX Award Best Director Nominated
St. Louis Film Critics Association Award Best Animated Feature Film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Nominated
2013 Hollywood Film Award Hollywood Movie of the Year Man of Steel Nominated
2014 Jupiter Award Best International Film Nominated


  1. 1 2 3 Off Screen, a Long-Running Romance New York Times, FEB. 18, 2011.
  2. "Fan makes a film". Berkshire Eagle, The. March 8, 2007.
  3. "Marsha Snyder Obituary - Pittsfield, MA |". Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  4. "The North Adams Transcript from North Adams, Massachusetts · Page 15". 1958-05-05. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  5. "Zack Snyder: Watchmen". 5 March 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  6. "Updates on The Jetsons & Zack Snyder's The Illustrated Man -". October 4, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  7. Fleming, Mike (October 4, 2010). "SCOOP: Zack Snyder Directing 'Superman'". Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  8. "Zack Snyder Will Direct Superman/Batman Movie Inspired by Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns'".
  9. "Warner Bros. Plans 'Justice League' Movie Directed by Zack Snyder (Exclusive)". Wall Street Journey. April 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  10. "BREAKING: Zack Snyder Taking Director's Chair On THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH". Screen Anarchy. August 2, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  11. "'Batman v. Superman': Married Creative Duo on That R-Rated DVD, Plans for DC Superhero Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. March 17, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  12. Nicholson, Amy (February 26, 2009). "Slow and Steady". Box Office Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  13. Louie, Elaine (October 3, 2004). "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: VOWS; Deborah Johnson and Zack Snyder - New York Times". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  14. Frank Lovece (2009-02-19). "CGI: 'Watchmen'--Zack Snyder brings superhero saga to the finish line". Film Journal International. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  15. "Zack Snyder's Superhero Life". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  16. "Warner Bros. Unveils Full DC Movies Slate Through 2020". IGN. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  17. "Batman v Superman: WB needs a stronger vision". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  18. "CULT MOVIE REVIEW: 300 (2007)". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  19. "The All-American Jesus, Now More Than Ever … Unfortunately". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  20. "Why Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Is Becoming A Cult Classic". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  21. "Emily Browning's Sucker Punch: A Cult Film Classic?". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  22. "Zack Snyder". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  23. "Zack Snyder's Profile". Metacritic. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  24. "CinemaScore". Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  25. "Zack Snyder Movie Box office". Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  26. "Zack Snyder - Awards - IMDb". Retrieved June 13, 2016.

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