Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year, New Presidents


DreamWorks Animation unexpectedly switched gears today...

Their slate hasn't been changed, but there was a corporate shake-up. Perhaps a much-needed one, too...

They don't have a new President, they have two new Presidents that'll be working together... The players? Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria...

First of all, these are great... No scratch that, excellent choices. Not only does the decision send some positivity through the animation industry, but...

Bonnie... Arnold...

Who is Bonnie Arnold you ask? Someone with three decades of experience and is a pretty big producer in animation-land. Prior to her first animation producing gig, Toy Story, she get her hands wet in the live-action world in the 1980s, especially with films like Dance with Wolves and The Addams Family Movie. After producing Toy Story with Ralph Guggenheim, she went on to produce Tarzan for Disney Feature Animation. Years later, she would produce DreamWorks' Over the Hedge, which debuted 7 years after Tarzan came out.

What did she do afterwards? Oh... Um... Produced the two How To Train Your Dragon films and will be producing the third one as well. Ya know... Little gigs and stuff...

Do you need any more reasons to make someone with that kind of resume your President? DreamWorks... Strong, strong, strong choice! You made a very good move promoting Ms. Arnold to President status, you really did. She's been involved in big animated films and has a ton of experience, and all her animation work has been successful both critically and commercially.

Now, who is the other new face? Mireille Soria. She's been at DreamWorks since the early 2000s, and she produced the traditionally animated money-losers Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, but she has also produced all three of the Madagascar films and the Penguins spin-off, and is set to direct the fourth film in that series...

Both very strong choices right there. Arnold especially.

The shake-up also led to Bill Damaschke resigning from the chief creative officer position. Now I don't have any clue why he had to go, I thought he was pretty successful? Maybe the recent string of money-losers prompted this decision, who knows. So now we ask, who will fill his shoes? Hopefully someone that'll be good for the artists and animators working there. Maybe a visionary? Who knows... The plot thickens...

Here's what Mr. Katzenberg had to say...

"Mireille and Bonnie are two of the most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today. I am confident in their ability to marshal the extensive creative resources available at our studio and lead DreamWorks's vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment." 

And their former president Ann Daly said...

"As two of our most successful producers, Bonnie and Mireille bring substantial expertise to this new and well deserved leadership role at the studio. Having worked alongside them both for many years at DreamWorks, I am thrilled that these established industry veterans will be providing creative oversight to our entire film slate."

Now here's what the two new presidents had to say...

"Great storytelling is the heart of DreamWorks Animation, and we are honored and excited to help shape the movies that will entertain audiences around the world. DreamWorks has long been our home, and we can't wait to begin working with all of the studio's outstanding filmmakers and artists!"

So now that we saw a change of pace, does this mean we'll see some changes/improvements made to their release slate? Does this mean the company will go a different direction with their films? We shall see...

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