SPA exec vp in producer role


Sony Pictures Animation's Penney Finkelman Cox is exiting her post as executive vp to become a producer for the label.

During her five-year tenure, the former DreamWorks Animation exec put together the fledgling division's development slate alongside longtime partner and fellow SPA executive vp Sandra Rabins. The pair scored a success with the label's first outing, "Open Season," which grossed $187 million worldwide and enjoyed a smash DVD release this month.

But Finkelman Cox's departure from the executive ranks comes amid mounting concerns about the dearth of product to feed Sony's growing animation pipeline. Although SPA will release the promising penguin movie "Surf's Up" on June 8, there are no films scheduled for immediate release beyond that. The studio has experienced delays on "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," one of its two films in production. The other is "Hotel Transylvania." Both are penciled in for 2009 release.

Rabins will continue in her post as executive vp, reporting to Yair Landau, Sony Pictures Digital president and Sony Pictures Entertainment vice chairman. The studio said Finkelman Cox will move into active development on several of the 10 projects she has shepherded at SPA, including "Disenchanted Forest" and "Big Nasty."

Rabins said she looks forward "to continuing my collaboration and partnership with Penney on creative projects at Sony Pictures Animation."

Landau praised Finkelman Cox, whom he hired to run the division with Rabins in May 2002, for her hard work and the division's slate. "In a relatively short period of time, Sony Pictures Animation has emerged as a studio that attracts some of the most talented filmmakers and storytellers in the industry," he said.

At DreamWorks, Finkelman Cox served as executive producer on "Shrek" and "Antz" and produced "The Prince of Egypt." She also worked with Aardman Animations on its first stop-motion animated feature, "Chicken Run."

Her live-action producing credits include "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "Welcome Home, Roxie Carmichael" and " 'Til There Was You."