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David Stainton, president of Paramount Animation, has resigned for personal reasons, the studio announced Wednesday.
“We are grateful for the time David spent at the studio and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Paramount Motion Picture Group president Adam Goodman said in a statement.
Following Stainton’s departure, Goodman will be in charge of the animation development team. A source close to Paramount said that while the studio will mount a search to hire a replacement for Stainton, there is no rush to do so because of Goodman’s experience and comfort with managing animation projects.
Paramount’s 2011 animated Western, Rango, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Isla Fisher, has grossed more than $240 million at the global box office and is an Oscar front-runner for best animated feature.
Also on the animation front: Paramount partnered with Sony on Steven Spielberg‘s The Adventures of Tintin, which has raked in $372 million worldwide. Goodman was Paramount’s top creative executive on both Rango and Tintin.
Stainton, who previously served as president of Walt Disney Feature Animation and joined Paramount in October, launched the studio’s in-house animation unit in part to cope with the prospective loss of the studio’s distribution deal with Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s Dreamworks Animation. Paramount has largely relied on Dreamworks Animation to fill the animation slots on its release schedule; Dreamworks Animation’s deal with the studio expires at the end of this year.
Paramount, a unit of Viacom, announced the formation of its new animation division last July; the studio aims to release its first film in 2014, though it has not said what that project would be. Rango was the studio’s first full-owned CGI animated movie. Paramount Animation has an initial target of one release per year; the film’s will have budgets of up to $100 million.
Stainton rose to the post of president of Walt Disney Feature Animation during his 17-year stint with Disney. While there, he handled Disney’s transition to fully digital animation production and oversaw the studio’s animation facility in Paris. Prior to signing on with Paramount, Stainton headed Henry’s World Media, a family entertainment producer he founded in 2007.
Email: Erin.Carlson@THR.com; Daniel.Miller@THR.com
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