Michael Barnathan is a very successful film producer and a partner in the production company 1492 Pictures, founded by Chris Columbus--hence its exploratory title. Barnathan, an NYU Tisch School grad, began honing his producing skills in the early '80s under producer Edgar Scherick, and by the latter half of the decade was working on several TV movies as a producer in his own right, culminating in an Emmy nomination for the mini-series "The Kennedys of Massachusetts" in 1990. 1492 Pictures was formed in the mid-'90s, and their first effort was the Hugh Grant-Julianne Moore romantic comedy, "Nine Months," which was directed by Columbus; its impressive box office stats were a very promising sign of things to come. With the exception of the occasional bomb--most notably the 1999 Robin Williams fantasy pic "Bicentennial Man"--1492 has been fulfilling the desires of audiences, particularly with their launch of the family friendly adventure "Harry Potter" franchise, on which Barnathan served as executive producer. In 2005, Barnathan and 1492 contributed to the superhero blockbuster "Fantastic Four," and then in 2006, they launched the far quirkier comedy franchise "Night at the Museum," which was followed by its sequel, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," in 2009. In 2011, Barnathan, Columbus, and company went in a far more serious direction with their adaptation of the popular Kathryn Stockett novel "The Help," about a high society southern woman who interviews and bonds with her community's black domestic workers.