Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder
Zack Snyder by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Snyder at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con
Zachary Edward Snyder

(1966-03-01) March 1, 1966 (age 55)
Alma materArt Center College of Design
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1990–present

Zachary Edward Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He made his feature film debut in 2004 with Dawn of the Dead, a remake of the 1978 horror film of the same name. Since then, he has directed or produced a number of comic book and superhero films, including 300 (2006) 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). A director's cut for Justice League was released in 2021. He also directed the computer-animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010), the psychological action film Sucker Punch (2011), and the zombie heist film Army of the Dead (2021).

In 2004, he founded the production company The Stone Quarry (formerly known as Cruel and Unusual Films) alongside his wife Deborah Snyder and producing partner Wesley Coller.

Early life

Snyder was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and raised in Riverside, Connecticut. His mother, Marsha Manley (née Reeves; d. 2010),[2] 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.[3][4][5] He has an older sister, Audrey, and was raised as a Christian Scientist.[6] He also had a brother, Sam, who died when Snyder was a teenager.[7]

Snyder attended Camp Owatonna in Harrison, Maine, during the summer months as a child. Snyder studied 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.[8] He graduated with a BFA in film in 1989.[9]

The production notes for Snyder's first film Dawn of the Dead describes Snyder as "a comic book and horror film enthusiast in his youth".[10]


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 (2006), 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, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, was released on September 24, 2010. Snyder produced, co-wrote, and directed Sucker Punch,[11] 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 and the jumpstart to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). He signed on to direct a yet-to-be-produced remake of the 1969 film The Illustrated Man,[12] 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.[13]

During Comic Con 2013, Snyder announced that Batman and Superman would share the screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, released in 2016. Snyder directed, Cavill reprised his role as Superman, and Ben Affleck played Batman.[14] Snyder directed Warner Bros.' 2017 Justice League, but he exited during post-production to deal with the death of his daughter, Autumn Snyder.[15][16] His replacement was Joss Whedon.[16][1]

As of March 2016, Snyder was working on Horse Latitudes, formerly known as The Last Photograph, a drama about a war photographer in South America.

He was also working on an adaptation of the 1943 novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand,[17][18][19] but confirmed he had abandoned it in 2021.[20]

He has also expressed an interest in making a film, in the style of 300, about George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.[21]

On January 29, 2019, Snyder announced that he has signed on to helm Army of the Dead, a zombie heist thriller, for Netflix. Snyder will direct and produce with his partner and wife, Deborah Snyder, via their newly rebranded production company, The Stone Quarry.[22]

On May 20, 2020, Snyder announced that Zack Snyder's Justice League would be released on the streaming service HBO Max in 2021.[23]

Snyder will produce an anime-style web series inspired by Norse mythology for Netflix.[24]



Snyder often uses slow motion, particularly the technique of speed ramping, in and out of the fight scenes in his films, differing from other directors 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.[25] By combining these two techniques, he reduces the need for excessive cutaways and keeps the viewer oriented during fight scenes.[26]

Snyder said "There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one's getting hurt. That's not us. What is that message? That it's okay that there's this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That's what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don't want it to be clean. I want you to go, 'Oh my God, I guess you're right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he's not going to just be lying on the ground. It's going to be messy'."[27]

Having directed numerous films based on graphic novels and comic books including 300, Watchmen, and his films in the DC Extended Universe, Snyder puts a big emphasis on using storyboards to assist in visualizing his shots in the films, taking inspiration from actual panels from the source material. He also intentionally chooses color palettes that, as StudioBinder describes, create "not-quite-real worlds filled with zombies, superheroes, and warriors."[26]

The Netflix production Army of the Dead was a special project for Snyder as he served as his own cinematographer, as well as this being his first film shot digitally.[28]


Snyder has been described as one of the most polarizing directors of modern cinema.[29][30] David Ehrlich of IndieWire wrote that Snyder's "name alone is enough to launch a thousand angry tweets, and the most passionate writing about his work is exclusively found in the comment sections of websites like this one. Snyder's critics really seem to hate him, and Snyder's fans really seem to hate his critics ... Is Snyder a master or a hack? A misunderstood myth-maker, or a meathead with a movie camera?"[29]

Personal life

Snyder lives in Pasadena with his second wife, producer Deborah Johnson. The couple first met in 1996, began dating in 2002, and married on September 25, 2004, at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Manhattan, New York.[31][32] He was previously married to Denise Weber.

Snyder has eight children: two biological children and two adopted daughters with Weber, two biological sons from a relationship with Kirsten Elin, and two adopted children with Deborah.[6]

On March 12, 2017,[33][34] the suicide of his daughter Autumn prompted Snyder to withdraw from post-production work on Justice League in May 2017 to be with his family, which resulted in Warner Bros and Joss Whedon completing the film.[16][1]

Snyder became a fitness enthusiast during the filming of 300, and has a gym in his home in Pasadena. Snyder has also encouraged his cast and crew to workout during productions on his films starting with Watchmen.[35][36]

Philanthropic work

Following his daughter's suicide, Snyder became involved in philanthropic activities directed towards suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Snyder promoted this effort on social media by selling clothing and merchandise related to the Snyder Cut; in May 2021, it was revealed that this effort had raised more than $750,000 in charitable donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.[37]

Snyder directed 2 PSAs for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2018.[38]

In 2021, Snyder partnered with Save The Children, a global child rights organization, to build a 100-bed temporary hospital facility in Delhi to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[39]

Political views

Although his films have been accused of having right-wing messages,[40] politically, Snyder is a liberal Democrat. He endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.[41] In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, he stated:

I vote Democrat! I’m a true lover of individual rights. I’ve always been a super-strong advocate of women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose, and I’ve always been surrounded by powerful women. And, of course, I’m a huge advocate for the rights of all ethnicities and every walk of life. I would say I’m a pretty liberal guy. I want to make sure everyone’s heard and everyone feels included. I don’t have a rightwing political agenda. People see what they want to see. For me, that was not certainly the point.[42]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
2004 Dawn of the Dead Yes No No
2006 300 Yes Yes No Co-screenwriter with Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon
2009 Watchmen Yes No No
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Yes No No
2011 Sucker Punch Yes Yes Yes Co-screenwriter with Steve Shibuya
2013 Man of Steel Yes No No
2014 300: Rise of an Empire No Yes Yes Co-screenwriter with Kurt Johnstad
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Yes No No
2017 Wonder Woman No Story Yes Story co-written with Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs
Justice League Yes[N 1] Story No Story co-written with Chris Terrio
2020 Wonder Woman 1984 No No Yes
2021 Zack Snyder's Justice League Yes Story No Story co-written with Chris Terrio and Will Beall
Army of the Dead Yes Yes Yes Also cinematographer
Co-screenwriter with Shay Hatten and Joby Harold
Army of Thieves No Story Yes Story co-written with Shay Hatten

Executive producer

Short films

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1990 Playground Yes No No Direct-to-video documentary
2004 The Lost Tape: Andy's Terrifying Last Days Revealed Yes No No
2009 Tales of the Black Freighter No Executive Yes Direct-to-video
Under the Hood No Executive No
2013 Superman 75th Anniversary Yes No Story Story co-written with Bruce Timm
2017 Snow Steam Iron Yes Yes Yes Also cinematographer

Music videos

Year Artist Song
1989 Lizzy Borden "Love Is a Crime"
1992 Peter Murphy "You're So Close"
Morrissey "Tomorrow"
Soul Asylum "Somebody to Shove"
1993 "Black Gold"
Alexander O'Neal "In the Middle"
1994 ZZ Top "World of Swirl"
Dionne Farris "I Know"
1995 Rod Stewart "Leave Virginia Alone"
2009 My Chemical Romance "Desolation Row"


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Executive
TBA Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas Yes No Yes In production[43]
TBA Twilight of the Gods Yes Yes Yes In production[44]


  • Snyder's wife Deborah Snyder has produced all of his films dating back to 300 (executive producer on 300 and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole).
  • Larry Fong and William Hoy were Snyder's cinematographer and film editor, respectively, on the films 300, Watchmen and Sucker Punch. Fong is also the cinematographer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • John "D.J." Desjardin was the visual effects supervisor on Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
  • David Brenner served as film editor on Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League and the short film Snow Steam Iron.


Critical, public and commercial reception to films Zack Snyder has directed as of June 2021:

Year Film Rotten Tomatoes[45] Metacritic[46] CinemaScore[47] Budget Box office[48]
2004 Dawn of the Dead 76% (193 reviews) 59 (37 reviews) B $26 million $102.4 million
2007 300 61% (236 reviews) 52 (42 reviews) A- $65 million $456.1 million
2009 Watchmen 65% (312 reviews) 56 (39 reviews) B $130 million $185.3 million
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole 52% (133 reviews) 53 (21 reviews) A− $80 million $140.1 million
2011 Sucker Punch 22% (220 reviews) 33 (29 reviews) B− $82 million $89.8 million
2013 Man of Steel 56% (337 reviews) 55 (47 reviews) A− $225 million $668.0 million
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 29% (429 reviews) 44 (51 reviews) B $250 million $873.6 million
2017 Justice League 40% (402 reviews) 45 (52 reviews) B+ $300 million $657.9 million
2021 Zack Snyder's Justice League 71% (291 reviews) 54 (45 reviews) N/A $70 million N/A
2021 Army of the Dead 69% (254 reviews) 57 (43 reviews) N/A $90 million $1 million
Total $1.318 billion $3.313 billion

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.[49] He also won the Society of British Advertisers Award for Humor for his controversial EB Beer commercial "General's Party".[50]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2004 Cannes Film Festival Golden Camera Dawn of the Dead Nominated
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 Watchmen Won
2010 Saturn Award Best Director 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
2017 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Director Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Nominated
Jupiter Award Best International Film Nominated
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
Shared with Patty Jenkins, Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs
Wonder Woman Won
Satellite Awards Best Adapted Screenplay
Shared with Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs
2018 American Film Institute Top Ten Films of the Year
Shared with Charles Roven, Richard Suckle & Deborah Snyder
Producers Guild of America Awards Best Theatrical Motion Picture
Shared with Charles Roven, Richard Suckle & Deborah Snyder
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form
(Shared with Patty Jenkins (director), Allan Heinberg (screenplay/story) and Jason Fuchs (story))
2021 Hollywood Critics Association Valiant Award Himself Won


  1. ^ Snyder was the director of Justice League during principal photography, but was replaced by Joss Whedon during post-production. Snyder retained directorial credit for the finished film, though reports have indicated Whedon reshot a significant portion of the film. Snyder later edited a director's cut of the film, removing all of Whedon's footage and restoring his own footage that was deleted in the theatrical release. Snyder also shot four to five minutes of additional footage in late 2020 for his cut, released as Zack Snyder's Justice League.[1][16][23]


  1. ^ a b c d "Justice League: Zack Snyder quits movie after daughter kills herself". The Guardian. May 23, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "Marsha Manley Snyder". geni_family_tree. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Everhart, Bill (March 8, 2007). "Fan makes a film". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Marsha Snyder Obituary – Pittsfield, MA". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "The North Adams Transcript from North Adams, Massachusetts · Page 15". May 5, 1958. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Louie, Elaine (February 18, 2011). "Off Screen, a Long-Running Romance". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Zack Snyder Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED, retrieved May 23, 2021
  8. ^ Leonard, Devin (March 1, 2016). "Zack Snyder's Superhero Life". Bloomberg News. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Storyboard: Zack Snyder.
  10. ^ "Dawn of the Dead - Production Notes". Media Atlantis. Universal Pictures. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  11. ^ "Zack Snyder: Watchmen". SuicideGirls. March 5, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  12. ^ Douglas, Edward (October 4, 2010). "Updates on The Jetsons & Zack Snyder's The Illustrated Man". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (October 4, 2010). "SCOOP: Zack Snyder Directing 'Superman'". Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  14. ^ Fischer, Russ (July 20, 2013). "Zack Snyder Will Direct Superman/Batman Movie Inspired by Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns'". /Film. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Fritz, Ben (April 26, 2014). "Warner Bros. Plans 'Justice League' Movie Directed by Zack Snyder (Exclusive)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  16. ^ a b c d Kit, Borys (May 22, 2017). "Zack Snyder Steps Down From 'Justice League' to Deal With Family Tragedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  17. ^ Brown, Todd (August 2, 2011). "BREAKING: Zack Snyder Taking Director's Chair On THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  18. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (March 17, 2016). "'Batman v. Superman': Married Creative Duo on That R-Rated DVD, Plans for DC Superhero Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  19. ^ Desta, Yohana (May 29, 2018). "Zack Snyder's Next Project Is an Adaptation of The Fountainhead". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Hall, Jacob (March 2, 2016). "Zack Snyder Wants to Make a George Washington Movie".
  22. ^ "Zack Snyder Returning to Movies With Zombie Action Pic 'Army of the Dead' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  23. ^ a b ""It Will Be an Entirely New Thing": Zack Snyder's $20M-Plus 'Justice League' Cut Plans Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  24. ^ Gemmill, Allie (July 11, 2019). "Zack Snyder Set to Produce a Netflix Anime Series About Norse Mythology". Collider. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  25. ^ Nicholson, Amy (February 26, 2009). "Slow and Steady". Box Office Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "Zack Snyder's Directing Style Explained". StudioBinder. February 2, 2020. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  27. ^ Staskiewicz, Keith (July 2, 2015). "Zack Snyder defends Man of Steel ending". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  28. ^ Mendelovich, Yossy (February 26, 2021). "'Army of the Dead' Trailer Is Out: Shot on RED Monstro by Cinematographer (and Director) Zack Snyder". Y.M.Cinema - News & Insights on Digital Cinema. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Ehrlich, David (November 15, 2017). "Zack Snyder Movies Ranked from Worst to Best". IndieWire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  30. ^ Miller, Matt (March 18, 2021). "Every Zack Snyder Movie Ranked From Worst to Best". Esquire. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  31. ^ Louie, Elaine (October 3, 2004). "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: VOWS; Deborah Johnson and Zack Snyder – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  32. ^ Lovece, Frank (February 19, 2009). "CGI: 'Watchmen'--Zack Snyder brings superhero saga to the finish line". Film Journal International. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  33. ^ "Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner – Coroner – Case Detail". Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  34. ^ "Autumn Snyder (1996–2017)". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  35. ^ "Zack Snyder Works to Be as Jacked as His Superhero Actors". Men's Health. May 25, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  36. ^ "Zack Snyder Says Few 300 Actors Could Match His Fitness Level While Filming". May 26, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Kanski, Alison (May 21, 2018). "'300' director Zack Snyder takes Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign in bolder direction". PRWeek. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  39. ^ Hirwani, Peony (May 11, 2021). "Zack Snyder joins forces with Indian actor Huma Qureshi to build 100-bed temporary hospital facility in Delhi". The Independent. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  40. ^ "Zack Snyder Denies His Films Have A Right-Wing Agenda". ScreenRant. May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  41. ^ "Zack Snyder, Dwayne Johnson Back Biden". Cosmic Book News. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  42. ^ Shoard, Catherine (May 20, 2021). "Zack Snyder: 'I don't have a rightwing political agenda. People see what they want to see'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  43. ^ McNary, Dave (September 3, 2020). "Zack Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' Gets Prequel Film, Anime Series at Netflix". Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  44. ^ Robinson, Jacob. "Zack Snyder Norse Anime 'Twilight of the Gods': Cast Reveal & What We Know So Far".
  45. ^ "Zack Snyder". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  46. ^ "Zack Snyder Movies Profile". Metacritic. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  47. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  48. ^ "Zack Snyder Movie Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  49. ^ "Zack Snyder". Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  50. ^ "Music and Sound for Picture". Hayden Clement.

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