Saturday, January 24, 2015

Change At Top

Isn't just DreamWorks Animation that's shaking things up.

Michelle Raimo Kouyate, production president of Sony Pictures Animation, is leaving the slot and taking a first-look producing deal with the studio.

Her new deal will cover animation and live action at Sony. Kouyate will also become a producer on the animated comedy “Medusa” and will oversee the transition to a yet-unnamed new head for the animation division. ...

Sony Pictures Animation has gone through a bunch of executives during its existence. Michelle Raimo Kouyate is the latest in the line. But it isn't a huge shock, since Sony hasn't had a big back-log of high grossers.

And it isn't just execs that leave for other pastures. The division has gone through creative leads who have had more success at other places after the departed Sony. Chris Buck directed the well-reviewed but under-performing Surf's Up as Sony, then moved on to develop and direct the blockbusters Frozen at Disney.

Story veteran Ed Gombert (and story director of Aladdin) moved around to different projects at SPA before departing for DreamWorks Animation and a story director gig on The Croods, DWA's recent unalloyed hits.

Over the years a number of folks on SPA's creative staff have griped about the leadership at the animation division (some of which has leaked out to the press), though to be fair, some recent features have done relatively well at the box office.

Given the strains that Sony has gone through recently, maybe M. Raimo Kouyate's exit shouldn't come as an unmitigated surprise.


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