Wright began making short films as a teenager in Somerset, England. At just 20 years old, he directed a low budget feature film, A Fistful of Fingers, which ultimately led to his working in television. It was while he was directing the sitcom Asylum for Paramount Comedy Channel that he met future collaborators Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes. Wright continued directing comedy television shows during his 20s, including the BBC programs Merry-Go-Round, Is It Bill Bailey?, Murder Most Horrid, and French and Saunders.
In 1998, Wright reunited with Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, directing two seasons of Spaced for Channel 4. The series was critically acclaimed, winning two British Comedy Awards and garnering nominations for the BAFTA Awards and International Emmy Awards, and built up a cult following around the world.
In 2004, Wright directed and co-wrote Shaun of the Dead with Simon Pegg. The zombie comedy, which starred Pegg and Nick Frost, was nominated for and won numerous British film awards and was named one of the Top 25 Horror Films of all time by Time Magazine. Next Wright directed and co-wrote the action comedy cop film Hot Fuzz (2007), mirroring his writing partnership with Simon Pegg, as well as Pegg and Frost's starring roles. The final installment in the Cornetto trilogy, so named because of a running joke across the films about the ice cream treat being a hangover cure, came in 2013 with The World's End. Again Wright directed and co-wrote the film with Pegg, and it featured Pegg and Frost as two of the principle actors.
In between Hot Fuzz and The World's End, Wright directed, produced, and co-wrote Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010). The film, which was based on Bryan Lee O’Malley's graphic novels and starred Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman, won numerous accolades including an Empire Award for Best Director and a Bradbury Award nomination from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for its screeplay.
Additionally, Wright directed a fake trailer for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse (2007), co-wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin (2011), and produced Attack the Block (2011) and Sightseers (2012), among others. In 2011, Wright won the Empire Awards’ Inspiration Award.