(born September 10, 1958) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Born in Spangler, Pennsylvania, Columbus studied film at Tisch School of the Arts where he developed an interest in filmmaking. After writing screenplays for several teen comedies in the mid-1980s, he made his directorial debut with a teen adventure, Adventures in Babysitting (1987). Columbus gained recognition soon after with the highly successful Christmas comedy Home Alone (1990) and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
The comedy Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), starring Robin Williams, was another box office success for Columbus. He went on to direct several other films throughout the 1990s, which were mostly met with lukewarm reception. However, he found commercial success again for directing the film adaptations of J. K. Rowling's novels, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and its sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), which are his highest-grossing films to date. In addition to directing, Columbus served as a producer for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and the drama The Help (2011). He also directed the fantasy Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and the 3D action comedy Pixels (2015).
Columbus is the co-founder of 1492 Pictures, a film production company that has produced some of his films since 1995. More recently, he co-founded another production firm with his daughter in 2014, called Maiden Voyage Pictures. In 2017, he launched ZAG Animation Studios, alongside Michael Barnathan, Haim Saban and Jeremy Zag.