Robert Vince

Robert Vince

Finding a niche is oftentimes the key to success in Hollywood, and for producer/director/screenwriter Robert Vince found his creating family-friendly live-action films starring anthropomorphic animals. Vince got his start co-producing the 1989 sci-fi feature "Millennium," about time travelers, before going solo as a producer for a number of obscure features, including mob dramas ("Club Romeo"; "Underworld"), cheapo teen comedies ("Just One of the Girls"), and action thrillers ("Wounded"). The filmmaker struck gold when he produced the 1997 Disney feature "Air Bud," about a basketball-playing Golden Retriever. After the film made three times its $3 million budget at the box office, a franchise was born with Vince on board for four sequels and the "Air Buddies" spinoff, which itself yielded four sequels through 2010. Seeing how eager families were to see the exploits of a sports-playing canine, the versatile movie exec applied the same logic to the primate world, launching the "MVP: Most Valuable Primate" franchise in 2000, with the title character Matty, a mischievous ice hockey-playing chimpanzee. The simian sports fanatic returned to take a crack at skateboarding (2002's "MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate") and snowboarding (2003's "MXP: Most Xtreme Primate").