Paramount Pictures has just announced that it is going to launch its first in-house animation studio: Paramount Animation. Beginning in 2014, the studio plans to release one family-friendly animated film per year, with budgets not exceeding $100 million a picture. It is unknown whether or not this will have any impact on the studio’s distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation, whose contract with them is set to expire soon. Paramount Pictures recently found both critical and commercial success with the release of Rango, although that movie was actually made by the George Lucas special effects company ILM. The full press release regarding Paramount Animation can be read below.
The division will be part of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, reporting to the group’s president, Adam Goodman, and will initially target one release per year. Vice Chair Rob Moore, COO Frederick Huntsberry and Goodman are now conducting a search for the leader of the division.
“We’ve come a long way over the last six years,” said Grey. “Our team has worked hard to build best in class production, marketing and distribution divisions which have proven they consistently execute at the highest level across all genres and price points. Establishing an in-house animation division was the logical next step for us.”
“The marketplace has never offered as many opportunities to create wonderfully imaginative pictures at very appealing budget levels, so we feel this is a perfect moment to launch this effort. We are now eager to expand in animation with appropriate and prudent overhead and production budgets in a way that will allow us to be nimble, creative and innovative,” added Grey. “Paramount also has the distinct advantage of being part of the Viacom family, giving us the ability to leverage its portfolio of powerful and youthful brands to create and market great films and consumer products.”
While Paramount has released an array of successful animated films in its history, the company’s first fully owned CGI animated property was “Rango”, released to great acclaim in March 2011. The Western, directed by Gore Verbinski and featuring the voice of Johnny Depp in the title role, has grossed over $240 million worldwide and is the best reviewed animated movie so far this year.