Robert Shaye founded New Line Cinema in 1967 and has guided the company's growth from a privately held distributor of art films into one of the entertainment industry's leading independent motion picture production and distribution companies. Shaye met with early success as a young filmmaker when he won First Prize at the prestigious Society of Cinematologists' Rosenthal Competition, where he was honored for the Best Motion Picture by an American Director Under the Age of 25. He began his career at age 15 when he wrote, produced and directed a training film for employees of his father's supermarket. On December 19, 2001, New Line released The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of an epic trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's internationally renowned The Lord of the Rings. The film passed the $850 million mark worldwide and garnered 13 Academy Award nominations, winning four – for Cinematography (Andrew Lesnie), Makeup (Peter Owen, Richard Taylor), Score (Howard Shore), and Visual Effects (Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor and Mark Stetson). Its sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, will be released December 18, 2002. In addition to the ongoing success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, releases such as Blade II and John Q. vaulted the studio into the number one position in market share for the first quarter of 2002. The studio will soon release About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson, and Friday After Next, starring Ice Cube. New Line's Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third installment of the highly successful Austin Powers franchise, enjoyed a record-breaking opening weekend, earning over $70 million over the weekend of July 26. This marks not only the fourth biggest opening weekend of all time, but also the highest July opening, the highest opening weekend in studio history, and also the all-time highest opening weekend for a comedy. In its 35-year history, New Line has created a diverse and respected library of motion pictures, releasing such blockbusters as the Rush Hour and Austin Powers franchises, as well as the hits Dumb & Dumber, The Wedding Singer, David Fincher's Seven, Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, and Blade. The studio has also released such films as the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I Am Sam, John Q., Wag The Dog, The Mask, Pleasantville and Mortal Kombat. The company was also responsible for marketing and distributing the hit romantic-comedy Michael. Along the way, New Line has also introduced audiences to the diverse works of such recognized directors as John Waters (Hairspray) and Werner Herzog (Fata Morgana). Over the years, New Line has been instrumental in launching or developing the careers of renowned filmmakers including Brett Ratner, helmer of the Rush Hour series; Paul Thomas Anderson, acclaimed director of Boogie Nights and Magnolia; John Waters, who directed Hairspray and Polyester; Allen and Albert Hughes, who helmed Menace II Society; Reginald and Warren Hudlin, who wrote, produced and directed House Party; and directors Renny Harlin, Stephen Hopkins, Charles Russell and Wes Craven, all of whom helmed A Nightmare on Elm Street productions, among others, for New Line. In 1990, New Line formed its Fine Line Features specialty film division, which has released such acclaimed films as the Academy Award-nominated Best Picture Shine; Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark; Before Night Falls, starring Academy Award nominee Javier Bardem; Robert Altman's films The Player and Short Cuts; Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho; Whit Stillman's Metropolitan; the documentary Hoop Dreams; Love! Valour! Compassion!, starring Jason Alexander; David Cronenberg's Crash, Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry, Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh's The Anniversary Party. Shaye earned his degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and his J.D. degree from Columbia University Law School. He is also a Fulbright Scholar, a member of the New York State Bar, and he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Neuroscience Institute, Motion Picture Pioneers, the American Film Institute and the Legal Aid Society. Shaye and his wife have two children and live in Los Angeles and New York.