Bonnie Arnold, Mireille Soria named co-presidents at DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation announced that its chief creative officer Bill Damaschke will step down from his position as veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria transition into co-presidents of feature animation.
The reorganization comes after a turbulent period for DreamWorks Animation, which has been attempting to diversify its operations after a string of box-office misfires that rattled investors and caused a sharp decline in the company’s share price.
The Glendale company, founded two decades ago, has struggled to replicate the success of its earlier “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar” movies.
Unlike rival studios owned by media conglomerates, DreamWorks has little cushion when one movie flops. The company posted a $15.4-million loss in the second quarter and has reported three write-downs in the last two years for “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” “Rise of the Guardians” and “Turbo.”
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has been in discussions to sell the studio, but his efforts have recently been rebuffed by several companies including Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and Hasbro Inc.
The studio’s most recent release, “Penguins of Madagascar,” debuted with a $36-million opening weekend in November. It has grossed about $78 million, according to estimates from 20th Century Fox, the film’s distributor.
Damaschke, tapped as chief creative officer in 2011, has been at the company since 1995.
Arnold, a 12-year veteran of DreamWorks Animation, and Soria, a 15-year veteran of DreamWorks Animation, are the lead producers behind the studio’s successful “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Madagascar” movies. Collectively, they have produced eight films at the studio that have grossed more than $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’s vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment.”
Staff writer Richard Verrier contributed to this report.
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