Having early career success can be both a blessing and a curse, especially for movie directors. Many directors, for one reason or another, have made their best films early in their careers. Once the bar has been set so high, it can be very difficult to maintain that same level of quality, as success and innovation come with ridiculously high expectations. Sometimes, a director will try to replicate their earlier successes by attempting to do the same thing in a later film but it ends up falling short. At other times, a director may just lose their passion or drive along the way and their later work can’t help but be inferior to what came before. Every filmmaker will create a dud from time-to-time, but for whatever reason, the following 10 directors all peaked too early in their careers.
10. Peter Jackson
It’s not easy having Jackson on this list, as his Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the greatest accomplishments in film history, securing a place for Jackson in the upper echelon of directors. Unfortunately, the enormously high bar set by those films has made it very difficult for Jackson’s more recent films to have any hope of living up to them. Jackson made a great follow-up film to The Lord of the Rings with King Kong (2005), which was a visual stunner at the time of its release. Recently however, Jackson has meandered a bit with his filmmaking. His adaptation of the popular novel The Lovely Bones was just okay and his Hobbit films are inferior in pretty much every way to Jackson’s original stab at Tolkien’s fantasy world. Luckily, Jackson is still relatively young and has plenty of time to get himself back on track.