Born in Barcelona in 1975, he graduated in directing from ESCAC, where he made the multi-awarded short films Mis vacaciones (1999) and El hombre esponja (2002). He worked as a professor at the ESCAC, a task that he combined with a career in advertising and music videos that he now recovers occasionally.
In 2004, Bayona met Sergio G. Sánchez who offered him the script for The Orphanage. The film was received with a resounding ovation at Cannes Film Festival in 2007, immediately considered as a cult film worldwide. Bayona received the Goya to the Best New Direction and the film became the biggest box office success of the year in Spain.
In 2010 he began filming The Impossible. In 2012 its premiere turned it into the biggest box office earner Spanish film in history with more than 6 million spectators. In his international tour accumulated more than 200 million dollars of box office takings. Its protagonist Naomi Watts was nominated to the Oscar and the Golden Globes and the film was worth the Goya 2012 for the Best Direction to J. Bayona. Acclaimed by critics and audiences, The Impossible made Bayona worthy of the 2012 National Cinematography Award, granted by the Ministry of Culture.
In 2014 he directed the first two episodes of Penny Dreadful series for the American television network Showtime. In 2015 he directed 9 days in Haiti, a documentary short film about international cooperation.
In October 2016 he premiered A Monster Calls, a film based on the book of the same tittle and which counts among its cast with Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver. The film returned to become the biggest box office hit of the year in Spain and won 9 Goyas, including Best Director. In 2017 he produced The Secret of Marrowbone, the directing debut of Sergio G. Sánchez, screenwriter of The Orphanage and The Impossible.
In 2018 Juan Antonio Bayona directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, second part of Jurassic World and fifth in the Jurassic Park saga with Steven Spielberg as the main producer. The film became – thanks to its more than 1.300 million spectators – the third highest box office earning film in the world and the twelfth in the history of cinema. In 2018, Juan Antonio Bayona, despite his youth, received the award for his career at the Malaga Film Festival and the Spike of Honor of the Valladolid International Film Festival.