Christopher Columbus Face-Off: Who Has Had the Greater Impact on Film?
It's the second Monday in October and you know what that means -- it's Columbus Day, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's 1492 arrival in the Americas. But let's not forget, approximately 500 years after the Italian explorer set foot in the New World, a young filmmaker also named Christopher Columbus pioneered a new world of family comedy with hits like The Goonies, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and the Harry Potter franchise. In honor of today's holiday, Movieline wonders which Christopher Columbus had the bigger impact on cinema -- the navigator who brought attention to the mass of land that would eventually encompass the U.S. center of filmmaking and provide setting for millions of films -- or the filmmaker who established some of our most nostalgic family films (Adventures in Babysitting included) as well as three Harry Potter movies. Let's investigate below!
Movieline will employ a highly scientific point system to establish just which Christopher Columbus affected the world of filmmaking more. The higher score at the end of the piece will reflect whose impact was greater.
The Explorer's Hollywood Legacy
· Did not discover the Americas as was previously thought, but is credited for bringing the Americas to the Western hemisphere's attention so that they could be colonized and eventually become home to many of film's greatest directors, screenwriters, actors and production members: +10
· Because of his role as a founding figure of the New World, the use of the words "Columbia" and "Columbus" spread after the American Revolution. Two U.S. capital cities were named after him -- Columbus, Ohio and Columbia, South Carolina -- which hosted filming on several films including Traffic, Chasers, Chattahoochie and Something to Talk About: +1
· Similarly, the navigator helped inspire the name of Columbia Pictures, the Sony subsidiary that became well-known in the '30s and '40s for contract stars Jean Arthur, Cary Grant, the Three Stooges and Rita Hayworth. The studio also produced titles ranging from the Oscar-winning classics On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Tootsie to box office-crushing features like Spider-Man, The Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale: +5
· Ruined the Americas for the indigenous peoples who had inhabited the New World before his "discovery." Spread infectious diseases to the New World, the most fatal of which was smallpox: -10
· Inspired a Ridley Scott film, 1492: Conquest of Paradise: +1
· Has similarly inspired a 1949 British biographical film (Christopher Columbus), a 1985 television mini-series (also titled Christopher Columbus), a poorly received comedy (Carry on Columbus) and cornered the market on any film that involves the discovery of the new world ever: +3
· Inspired an episode of The Sopranos: +1
· Inspired the title of the 2008 Val Kilmer thriller Columbus Day: +1/2
· Has been played onscreen by Gérard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne: +1
· Even inspired the name of filmmaker Christopher Columbus's production company (1492 Pictures): +1
Total: 13 1/2
The Filmmaker's Hollywood Legacy:
· Wrote Gremlins and The Goonies: +2
· Directed Adventures in Babysitting: +1
· Directed Home Alone: +2
· Played himself onscreen in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: +/-0
· Directed Mrs. Doubtfire: +1
· Although was one of Hollywood's biggest commercial directors in the '90s, failed to ever truly win critics over by making his films overly sentimental with, as detractors pointed out, simple movie solutions to complicated problems. This would keep the filmmaker from becoming an especially influential or award-winning filmmaker: -2
· Wrote Christmas with the Kranks and directed Bicentennial Man: -2
· Successfully adapted the Harry Potter series for the screen -- making it one of the most beloved and lucrative film franchises in recent history: +5
· Afterward, he failed to successfully adapt Rent for the screen like he had done with J.K. Rowling's literary series: -1/2
Total: 6 1/2
Conclusion: According to Movieline's calculations, Christopher Columbus the explorer has had more of an impact on film. To be fair, the historical navigator has had 500+ years on the director to propagate a legacy that would ultimately find its way into movie theaters in multiple ways. Give Christopher Columbus the filmmaker that much time to affect the filmmaking industry and we could have entirely different outcomes on our hands, especially considering the inevitable remakes that his hit original films will inspire.