Who Are the Best Screenwriters from Michigan?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Jan. 5 is National Screenwriters Day across America. To celebrate, we took a break from Michigan sports betting to compare the Great Lakes State to the rest of the USA in terms of producing successful screenwriters, according to box office performance.

Using The-Numbers.com, we found the top 100 screenwriters whose movies have grossed the most money across the world-wide box office. From there, we scoured IMDB to find the home state of each writer.

BetMichigan.com – your source for Michigan sportsbook promos - charted which states have produced the most successful screenwriters. 

States with the Best Screenwriters

Overall RankState# of Screenwriters
1New York29
2California22
3New Jersey7
4Florida5
5Illinois4
T-6Massachusetts3
T-6Pennsylvania3
T-6Maryland3
T-6Michigan3

 

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The Most Profitable of All Time

While entertainment meccas New York and California unsurprisingly rank No. 1 and 2 on our list of states that have produced the most successful screenwriters, the most profitable box office scribe is from north of the border. Thanks to the mega-success of “Avatar,” “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” and “Titanic,” films written by James Cameron have brought in $9.37 billion. Of course, Cameron often directs his own scripts — most recently, overseeing the behemoth production of “Avatar 2: The Way of Water.”

Between the two Avatar films and Titanic, Cameron is responsible for three of the top five highest-grossing films ever. Meanwhile, the top two states on our list are represented by the second- and third-highest grossing screenwriters of all time. Christopher Markus, of Buffalo, NY, and Stephen McFeely, from Walnut Creek, Calif., are the writing team behind a slew of box office smashes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — including the first three Captain America films, and both parts of the concluding Avengers films, “Infinity Wars” and “Endgame.” They’ve almost made as much as Cameron, grossing $9.35 billion internationally.

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For its part, Michigan boasts three of the top 100 most successful screenwriters, including two in the top 50. The 15th-highest grossing screenwriter of all time, Terry Rossio, was born in Kalamazoo. Alongside his writing partner, Ted Elliott (who was born in California), Rossio has written the scripts of Disney’s original “Aladdin” animated movie, as well as “Shrek” and the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Combined, scripts he’s written have brought in $5.48 billion around the world.

At 48th on the list of the highest-grossing screenwriters is Ann Arbor’s own David S. Goyer, who penned all three “Blade” films, as well as kicking off Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy by writing “Batman Begins.” However, his biggest box office hits as a screenwriter were the 2013 Superman film “Man of Steel,” and the epic comic book face-off film, 2016’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.” All told, Goyer has brought in more than $3 billion for Hollywood studios.

Interestingly, Michiganders Ted Elliott and David S. Goyer worked together early in their careers and are both credited as screenwriters on the 1994 film “The Puppet Masters.” Unfortunately for all involved, that one flopped badly. It earned only $8.6 million at the box office.

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Author

Jeff Parker is an entertainment and sports writer for BetMichigan.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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