In 1988, shortly after graduation from USC, Singer wrote and directed his first short film, Lion’s Den. The film, budgeted at $16,000, starred Singer’s high school friend Ethan Hawke and centered on high-school buddies who reunite years after graduation (Marx). A couple years later, Singer would helm his first feature-length film, Public Access. In 1993, the film won the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
It was two years later, however, that Singer hit a breakthrough as a director with The Usual Suspects, a neo-noir crime drama that focuses on a survivor’s retelling of events leading up to a shootout of a deal gone wrong. Full of twists and turns, the film was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for 2 Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Kevin Spacey) and Best Screenplay and won both.
At the turn of the millennium, Singer officially hit the jackpot with X-Men, a film based on the famous Marvel comics. The $75 million project reunited Singer with A-list actor Ian McKellen (Apt Pupil) and became a critical and commercial hit upon its release, being regarded as one of the best superhero films ever put on screen. Building on its success, Singer returned three years later to helm the sequel, X2: X-Men United, which many critics and audiences cited even as an improvement on the first installment.
Singer’s next project was Valkyrie (2008), a World War II film starring Tom Cruise and based on the true story of an assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler by several German army officers. The film was met with mixed reviews and underachieved at the box office, but was still considered a respectable historical drama in the War canon.
After directing an interpretation of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), Singer successfully reteamed with his beloved X-Men crew with X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), a film that has Wolverine go back in time to help alter events that lead to the destruction of mutants and humans alike. The film (as with Singer’s other X-Men films) was a critical and commercial hit, grossing $111 million in its opening weekend in the US and $233 million overall domestically (IMDB).
IMDB. 2014. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.imdb.com>.
Marx, Rebecca. “Bryan Singer.” 2014. 16 Nov. 2014. The New York Times.