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September 23, 1994 (New York Film Festival)
September 30, 1994 (United States)

Ed Wood is a 1994 American biographical comedy-drama film directed and produced by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the eponymous cult filmmaker. The film concerns the period in Wood's life when he made his best-known films as well as his relationship with actor Bela Lugosi, played by Martin Landau. Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Lisa Marie, and Bill Murray are among the supporting cast.

The film was conceived by writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski when they were students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Irritated at being thought of solely as writers for family films with their work on Problem Child and its sequel, Alexander and Karaszewski struck a deal with Burton and Denise Di Novi to produce Ed Wood. Initially, Michael Lehmann was chosen to direct the project, but due to scheduling conflicts with his work on the film Airheads, he had to vacate the director's position, which was taken over by Burton.

Ed Wood was originally in development at Columbia Pictures, but the studio put the film in "turnaround" over Burton's decision to shoot in black-and-white. Ed Wood was taken to Walt Disney Studios, which produced the film through its Touchstone Pictures label. The film proved financially unsuccessful, returning only $5.9 million against an $18 million budget, but was met with critical acclaim upon release, with particular praise for Landau's performance and the makeup. It eventually became a cult classic and won two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Landau and Best Makeup for Rick Baker (who designed Landau's prosthetic makeup), Ve Neill and Yolanda Toussieng.

Storyline

Because of his eccentric habits and bafflingly strange films, director Edward D. Wood Jr. is a Hollywood outcast. Nevertheless, with the help of the formerly famous Bela Lugosi and a devoted cast and crew of show-business misfits who believe in Ed's off-kilter vision, the filmmaker is able to bring his oversize dreams to cinematic life. Despite a lack of critical or commercial success, Ed and his friends manage to create an oddly endearing series of extremely low-budget films.

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