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Looking to restore the luster to the film side of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg has tapped veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria to serve as co-presidents of feature animation, replacing Bill Damaschke.
Damaschke, a DWA veteran, has been with the company since 1995 and was named chief creative officer in 2011. His exit from that post follows a string of box office disappointments for DWA, including Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the spinoff Penguins of Madagascar. He had served in the top post since January 2011.
Soria and Arnold, who are intimately familiar with DWA, will head up creative development and production on all of the studio’s movies. Arnold was the lead producer on the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, including last year’s sequel. Released in June, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was DWA’s one bright spot in 2014, earning north of $618 million globally to become the top-grossing animated title of the year. It also has been nominated for a Golden Globe for best animated feature.
Soria was lead producer of the original Madagascar film in 2005, among other DWA titles. Collectively, the movies they have produced for Katzenberg’s outfit have grossed a combined $3.5 billion globally.
“Mireille and Bonnie are two of the most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today,” Katzenberg said in a statement. “I am confident in their ability to marshal the extensive creative resources available at our studio and lead DreamWorks’ vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment.”
Added Arnold and Soria: “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.”
Arnold’s credits include Pixar’s Toy Story, DWA’s Over the Hedge and Disney blockbuster Tarzan. She’s also an accomplished live-action producer, and worked on the acclaimed indie drama The Last Station.
Soria’s resume highlights include DWA’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Fox’s Ever After.
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