Vanessa Morrison Takes on New Role as President, Fox Family

17 BIZ EXECSUITE Vanessa Morrison
Jessica Sample

Morrison (in her office) was excited about "Rio" at the pitch stage. "There was no hesitancy in my mind about how wonderful a movie it would be," she says.

The new division will produce films for family audiences.

Vanessa Morrison, who has served as president of Fox Animation since 2007, is moving into a new role at Twentieth Century Fox Film, where she will serve as president of Fox Family, a newly created division within TCFF that will develop and produce films aimed specifically at family audiences. Monday's announcement was made jointly by chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and vice chairman Emma Watts, to whom Morrison will continue to report. Her appointment is effective immediately.

As part of her new role, Morrison will also oversee a ramp-up of the studio’s family animated television business, which to date has been a supplier of holiday television specials based on existing film properties and will soon expand. She also will oversee feature film extensions of 21CF’s television properties, including the recently announced Bob’s Burgers film, the studio said. Several of the studio’s existing deals with animation producers, including Tonko House, will also continue to be overseen by Morrison. 

In a statement, Snider and Watts commented: “Vanessa has for many years championed the studio’s efforts to take a more holistic approach to the family entertainment space, and this new role will empower her to execute on that goal. We are thrilled to have her leading this initiative, and as this segment in the marketplace continues to grow, the creation of this new division will strengthen our footprint as we look to create the best possible films for families across our entire company.”

During her tenure at Fox Animation, which started with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur, the films Morrison has overseen have grossed more than $3 billion at the box office, and also include the Rio franchise, Peanuts and the upcoming Ferdinand, which will be released Dec. 15, as well as independent projects such as Book of Life and Fantastic Mr. Fox. She previously served in a number of senior production roles at the studio, including exec vp at Fox, where she worked on live-action films, spearheading the production of family films such as Cheaper by the DozenCheaper by the Dozen 2, Dr. Doolittle 2 and others.

The studio plans to announce new leadership for Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios shortly.