Jon Landau, Oscar-Winning ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ Producer, Dies at 63

Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)
Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)
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Jon Landau, Oscar-Winning ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ Producer, Dies at 63

Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)
Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked closely with director James Cameron on “Titanic" and the “Avatar” series, has died. He was 63.

Alan Bergman, Disney Entertainment co-chairman, announced Landau's death in a statement Saturday. No cause of death was given.

“Jon was a visionary whose extraordinary talent and passion brought some of the most unforgettable stories to life on the big screen. His remarkable contributions to the film industry have left an indelible mark, and he will be profoundly missed. He was an iconic and successful producer yet an even better person and a true force of nature who inspired all around him,” Bergman said.

Landau's partnership with Cameron led to three Oscar nominations and a best picture win for 1997's “Titanic.” Together the pair account for some of the biggest blockbusters in movie history, including “Avatar” and its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Landau's career began in the 1980s as a production manager, and he gradually rose through the ranks until taking on a producer role on “Titanic,” Cameron's expensive epic about the infamous disaster. The bet paid off: “Titanic” became the first movie to cross $1 billion in global box-office earnings and went on to win 11 Oscars, including best picture.

“I can’t act and I can’t compose and I can’t do visual effects. I guess that’s why I’m producing,” Landau said while accepting the award with Cameron.

Their partnership continued, with Landau becoming a top executive at Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. In 2009 the pair watched as “Avatar,” a sci-fi epic filmed and shown in theaters with groundbreaking 3D technology, surpassed the box-office success of “Titanic.” It remains the top-grossing film of all time.

Its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is third on the list.

Landau has been a key player in the “Avatar” franchise, which saw frequent delays of the release of “The Way of Water.” Landau defended the sequel’s progress and Cameron’s ambitious plans to film multiple sequels at once to keep the franchise going.

“A lot has changed but a lot hasn’t,” Landau told The Associated Press in 2022, a few months ahead of the sequel’s release. “One of the things that has not changed is: Why do people turn to entertainment today? Just like they did when the first ‘Avatar’ was released, they do it to escape, to escape the world in which we live.”

Landau was named an executive vice president of feature movies at 20th Century Fox when he was 29, which led him to oversee major hits including “Home Alone” and its sequel, as well as “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “True Lies,” where he first started working closely with Cameron.

Born in New York on July 23, 1960, Landau was the son of film producers Ely and Edie Landau.

Ely Landau died in 1993. Edie Landau, the Oscar-nominated producer of films like “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “Hopscotch” and “The Deadly Game,” died in 2022.

Jon Landau is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Julie, and their sons, Jamie and Jodie.



Netflix Beats Subscriber Targets, Cautions on Ad Growth

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
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Netflix Beats Subscriber Targets, Cautions on Ad Growth

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Netflix said on Thursday it added more than 8 million subscribers in its second quarter as the streaming service benefited from a password-sharing crackdown and the popularity of such titles as "Bridgerton," "Baby Reindeer" and "The Roast of Tom Brady."
While the subscriber gains topped analyst predictions of 5 million, Netflix issued cautious guidance for the third quarter and said its advertising business would not become a primary driver of revenue growth until at least 2026, said Reuters.
Netflix shares reversed initial losses after it reported results to trade up 1% in after-hours trading. The stock has surged nearly a third so far this year.
"Netflix is still the best and most profitable streaming company out there, but with technology stocks generally retreating over the last several days, some investors may sell on the generally good news and taking profits now while waiting for a possible better re-entry point for the stock," said Michael Ashley Schulman, chief investment officer at Running Point Capital.
The streaming video pioneer is facing saturation in the United States and plans to stop regularly reporting new subscriber additions next year. Investors have been zeroing in on the company's relatively new advertising business as a potential source of growth.
On Thursday, Netflix said third-quarter subscriber gains would be lower than the comparable period in 2023 when it had just started the password clamp-down.
The company also said its vice president of ad sales, Peter Naylor, was departing.
Third Bridge analyst Jamie Lumley said Netflix's advertising business "has yet to prove itself from a revenue standpoint."
"Our experts highlight that Amazon has made a much bigger splash in the ad market and Netflix needs to continue working on scale in this segment if it wants to be a major player," Lumley said.
For April through June, Netflix posted diluted per-share earnings of $4.88, compared with consensus forecasts of $4.74 a share, according to LSEG. Revenue for the quarter reached $9.56 billion, in line with estimates.
At the end of June, the new sign-ups brought the total number of global Netflix subscribers to more than 277 million.
Netflix said its ad tier membership grew 34% from the prior quarter, but it did not say how many subscribers chose that option.
"Our ad business is growing nicely and is becoming a more meaningful contributor to our business," Netflix said in a letter to investors. "But building a business from scratch takes time - and coupled with the large size of our subscription revenue - we don't expect advertising to be a primary driver of our revenue growth in 2024 or 2025."
On a post-earnings video, Netflix Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann said the company's advertising business is "growing nicely," but it is building off a small base.
"It's a meaningful contributor," Neumann said. "And then we get (to) '26 and beyond, it can be even more meaningful, and hopefully comes to the point where it's a primary contributor."
The company said it expects third-quarter revenue growth of 14% compared with a year ago.
Three years into its videogame initiative, Netflix said it planned to release a multiplayer game based on "Squid Game" later this year when it debuts Season Two of the dystopian Korean series. It also plans games tied to "Emily in Paris" and "Selling Sunset."