He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Adamson's parents were a homemaker and a computer engineer. Born in New Zealand, Adamson moved to Papua New Guinea with his parents aged eleven, and he returned to Auckland aged eighteen. When twenty-four, he moved to San Francisco, and divided time between there and Los Angeles. Since making the Narnia films, he has settled back in New Zealand. Adamson has two daughters, Isabelle and Sylvie.
Adamson wanted to be an architect, but missed a university enrollment deadline because of a car accident. Andrew Adamson was recruited by Pacific Data Images to go to work in the USA. The company opened an office in the California city of Los Angeles. There he served as a technical director in the following movies: Toys (1992), starring Robin Williams, and Angels in the Outfield (1994), starring Danny Glover. Previously Andrew specialised in ads but preferred the idea of telling a story in longer format. Andrew served as visual effects supervisor in the 1995 film Batman Forever, A Time to Kill (1996), and Batman & Robin (1997).
Adamson directed Shrek (the first in the series) with a moderate budget of US$60 million in 2001. However the film became a worldwide success taking in nearly $500 million in the box office. The film grossed $42,347,760 in the opening week-end. It grossed $267,665,011 in the US and Canada, and foreign totals of $216,744,207 for a worldwide total of $484,409,218. The film featured famous Hollywood actors such as Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.
The next film in the series Shrek 2 (2004) had a big Hollywood budget of around $150 million and was even a bigger success than the first film taking in more than $900 million worldwide. The film opened at $108,037,878, one of the highest openings ever. In the US and Canada the film went on to gross $441,226,247 and a foreign total of $478,612,511 for a worldwide total of $919,838,758. The film is currently the ninth top grossing worldwide film ever according to website box office tracker Box Office Mojo.
Adamson not only directed this film but also wrote the story. However, he did not direct the next film in the series, Shrek The Third, because he had been contracted by Walden Media to work on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Instead the film was co-directed by Chris Miller and Raman Hui while Adamson served as executive producer. The script of the film was written by J. David Stem and Joe Stillman. The third film was still very successful taking in more than $795 million worldwide with a budget of no more than $160 million.
Adamson achieved commercial success and gained worldwide attention when he co-produced, co-wrote and directed The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The film is based on the book by C.S. Lewis of the same name and won various awards, gained critical praise and was a box office success becoming the third highest-grossing film worldwide of 2005 according to Box Office Mojo. The film opened in the US and Canada with totals of higher than $65million and the film ended up with a worldwide gross of $744,783,957 with a budget of $180 million according to Box Office Mojo.
He returned as director to the next Narnia film: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian which had a worldwide release in May 2008 and grossed over $419 million at the box office. Adamson returned as producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader released in Australia on 9 December 2010, and in the United States and UK on 10 December the same year. At the moment though, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media still hold the rights to the series, and they currently retain the option to make The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair in the future. However, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media decided to produce The Magician's Nephew as the next Narnia film instead of The Silver Chair. But in October 2011, Douglas Gresham confirmed that Walden Media's contract with the C. S. Lewis estate had expired, and any production of a future film was on hold indefinitely.
Adamson has directed films which have won the following Major Film Awards (film order by date of release); Reference from IMDbAcademy Awards = Shrek won 'Best Animated Feature
British Academy Awards = Shrek won 'Best Adapted Screenplay
L.A. Film Critics Association = Shrek won Best Animation
National Board of Review = Shrek won Best Animated Feature
BAFTA Awards = Shrek 2 won Kids Choice
Holiday Film Award = Shrek 2 won Animation of the Year
People's Choice Awards, USA = Shrek 2 won Favorite Animated Movie, Favorite Animated Movie Star, Favorite Movie Comedy, Favorite Movie Villain and Favorite Sequel
Oscar = The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe won Best Achievement in Makeup
Saturn Award = The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe won Best Costume, Best Makeup and Best DVD Special Edition Release
BAFTA Film Award = The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe won Best Makeup/Hair
CRITICS Choice Award = The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe won Best Family Film(Live Action)