Oriental DreamWorks Hires 'Kung Fu Panda' Producer to Run Studio

Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation
'Kung Fu Panda 3'

The first film from Oriental DreamWorks is 'Kung Fu Panda 3,' which screened in China on Saturday and made $6.4 million in three hours.

Oriental DreamWorks said Wednesday that it has hired Melissa Cobb, the producer of the three Kung Fu Panda movies, as its studio head and chief creative officer.

Cobb will begin Feb. 1 and will be based at the Shanghai offices of Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture of DreamWorks Animation, China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited.

"Melissa is not only one of our most accomplished film producers, but also owns an incredibly unique understanding of the Chinese film market from her time shepherding the massive Kung Fu Panda franchise," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement.

The first film from Oriental DreamWorks, which was founded in 2012, is Kung Fu Panda 3, which screened in China on Saturday and made $6.4 million in three hours, which was all the Chinese regulators would allow for.

The film will open wide both in North America and in China on Friday. There are actually two versions of Kung Fu Panda 3, one in Mandarin Chinese and the other in English, and both will be available in China.

Cobb not only produced the Kung Fu Panda movies, but has also been overseeing the entire franchise, including several short films and the Nickelodeon TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.

Before her Panda work, Cobb was an executive with Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox and VH1.

"It's clear that the animation industry in China is at an inflection point, making this an incredible time to join Oriental DreamWorks and take on this new personal and professional challenge," said Cobb.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com