Paramount hires former DreamWorks Animation executive Mireille Soria to lead animation division

Paramount Pictures has hired former DreamWorks Animation executive Mireille Soria to lead its animation division, the studio said Monday.

Soria will serve as president of Paramount Animation and report to the Viacom-owned studio’s motion picture group President Marc Evans.

It’s the latest executive appointment at the studio since Viacom named Jim Gianopulos as Paramount’s chairman and chief executive earlier this year. Gianopulos is tasked with turning the storied studio around after a protracted period of box office struggles and financial declines.

In Soria, Paramount is getting a seasoned executive and producer to ramp up its animation business. Soria was previously co-president of feature animation at DreamWorks Animation, where she oversaw movies including “Boss Baby” and “Trolls.” Soria left the Glendale-based company in December after Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal bought it for $3.8 billion. Before that, she was a longtime producer for DreamWorks Animation.

Paramount has struggled to make it in the increasingly competitive market for computer-animated movies. The company launched its animation division after the critical and commercial success of the 2011 CGI Johnny Depp movie “Rango.” Its 2015 film “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” was a winner, but “Monster Trucks,” a live action-animated hybrid, resulted in a $115-million write-down.

Its upcoming animated projects include “Sherlock Gnomes” and “Amusement Park,” both due out next year. Soria will work closely with Viacom executives to develop new animated features, the company said.

Soria and Gianopulos have worked together before. Gianopulos was previously head of 20th Century Fox Film, which distributed DreamWorks Animation movies after its previous deal with Paramount ended in 2012.

“I’ve known and have worked with Mireille for many years and know that with her running our animation group, Paramount continues to build a great team for the future,” Gianopulos said in a statement.

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder

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