The Short, Loud Directing Career of Jan de Bont

The year was 2003, Myspace had just launched, Hungary got let into the EU, Greta Thunberg was born, the word electronic cigarette got added to the dictionary. Furthermore, in late July of that year, Jan de Bont‘s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider -The Cradle of Life hit theatres.

Released two years after the first hit film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, it made over $100 million dollars less than the original. The sequel isn’t the best video game adaptation ever made, but it was moderately successful, premiering number four at the American box office and number three in the UK. It would be another 15 years before they made another Lara Croft movie, and it was the last film that Jan de Bont ever directed.

Prior to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, Jan de Bont helmed Speed and Twister. He was even considered for 1998’s Godzilla. Outside of directing, he worked as a cinematographer on Die Hard and Hunt for Red October. That’s an impressive list of accomplishments.

So what happened? Why was it Jan de Bont’s final film, either as director or cinematographer? Why had one of the most exciting and visually impressive cinematographers in Hollywood, one whose directing career spanned only five movies over less than ten years, suddenly and definitively retired?

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