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Tom DeSanto

Creator, Writer & Producer, X-Men, Transformers

Tom DeSanto is a founding writer/producer behind some of the biggest franchises in movie history (Transformers, X-Men). DeSanto’s films have grossed more than $5.5 billion dollars worldwide with a per film average of more than $700 million at the box office, in addition to billions more in home video, merchandising, and video games.

The proud owner of more than 40,000 comic books and a self-described pop culture junkie, DeSanto dreamed of bringing the characters he loved as a kid to life in Hollywood, X-Men was first on his list. With comic book films failing at the box office and Marvel in bankruptcy, DeSanto saw the potential in the stable of characters he grew up with becoming films. DeSanto contacted the studio and attached the director and pushed the film out of a long stalled development and into production. Besides producing, DeSanto co-wrote the story and did several rewrites of the screenplay including the draft that green-lit the film. X-men spawned a billion dollar franchise for Fox and starting Marvel’s rise out of bankruptcy.

After the success of X-Men, DeSanto pulled another undervalued property, Battlestar Galactica out of mothballs and developed Galactica for Universal Television. Battlestar Galactica found a home on Sci-Fi Channel and was the number one rated mini-series for all of cable in 2003. Many of DeSanto’s ideas and designs made it into the show including human Cylons, female president, and the new Vipers.

Mr. DeSanto returned as part of the guiding creative team for “X2: X-Men United”, including the continuation of the Phoenix story line which DeSanto set up in the first film. That same year Mr. DeSanto went after Transformers another dormant property that he was a fan of since childhood. Mr. DeSanto brought the idea to his friend and fellow producer Don Murphy and the two teamed up. Based on DeSanto’s pitch and understanding of the universe, Hasbro gave them the rights for free.

Transformers was a tough sell for those running the studios who did not grow up with the property. After being rejected by every studio in town Mr. DeSanto made a second pass at DreamWorks and after Steven Spielberg read his treatment, he decided his studio would do the film and was an early champion of the idea. Mr. DeSanto set the project up with DreamWorks and Paramount, selling his story line and attaching to Produce.

The first film grossed over $700 million dollars worldwide and Mr. DeSanto gave birth to another franchise. Transformers was the first live action franchise for DreamWorks and Paramount’s largest moneymaking series in its history. Mr. DeSanto returned as Producer of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009 and the film became the biggest moneymaker of 2009 with over $800 million in box office alone. DeSanto also produced Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Transformers: The Last Knight. Bumblebee, a solo Transformers film of the beloved character released December 2018 and grossed nearly $500 million globally. DeSanto returned to produce on the next installment of the franchise, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts set to release in 2023.

As well as franchise films, DeSanto has done several documentaries involving various social causes. Kidnapped For Christ, a documentary about abuse of children at religious education camps, won numerous awards including the Audience Award at SlamDance Film Festival and was sold to Showtime. The film was responsible for legislation in California to protect children at these camps. His next documentary, Lost In America, deals with the problems of youth homelessness and how politics has gotten in the middle of finding a solution to getting these kids off the street. It was acquired by Indican Pictures and Lionsgate and released to critical acclaim in February 2020 and scores 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic DeSanto co- founded in partnership with the CDC Foundation to activate Hollywood to help in messaging in the battle against the virus. DeSanto created the Heroes Wear Masks campaign which enlisted pop culture heroes to join the global battle. The campaign targeted at children and young adults helped change the narrative on wearing masks, helping people understand that you wear a mask to protect others. The campaign reached around the globe and attracted many heroes from film and television, including DC comics heroes Superman, Supergirl, and Flash, also joining the fight were actors from X-Men, Star Wars and Harry Potter.