You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Meledandri: Lighting the path to fiscally conscious toons

Animation Elite 2012: Chris Meledandri

In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million for Universal.

“We now know from extensive testing of our movies that the audience perceives no difference between our films and our competitors’ films qualitatively,” says Meledandri, whose sense of fiscal responsibility dates back to his days at Fox Animation, where his career started with an infamous toon flop. “Ever since my experience on ‘Titan A.E.,’ I realized I love making movies, but if I put myself or my company in a position to lose significant amounts of money, nobody was going to let me make movies.”

Some 15 years ago, Meledandri applied that lesson when Fox purchased Blue Sky Studios (the team behind the super-profitable “Ice Age” franchise) and it guided the deal when a similar partnership between Illumination and French toon house MacGuff was sealed in 2011. Building on recent success, the exec oversaw the opening of a “Despicable Me” theme park attraction at Universal Studios Orlando in July.

More Film

  • Canal Plus

    Canal Plus Orders Thomas Lilti's 'Hippocrate' Medical Series

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • 'Call Me by Your Name' Costumes,

    Luca Guadagnino Relied on a Pair of Longtime Friends for 'Call Me by Your Name' Decor, Costumes

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • A Profile of Argentine Fantasy Genre

    Mar del Plata: Argentina on the Rise -- Demián Rugna

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • Coco Trailer

    'Coco' Stuffing 'Justice League' at Thanksgiving Box Office

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • Saoirse Ronan Greta Gerwig Playback Podcast

    Playback: Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan on 'Lady Bird' and Coming of Age

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • Gal Gadot Kumail Nanjiani Actors on

    Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani Riff on Their Parents' Expectations and Name Mispronunciations

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

  • SGIFF: Singapore Festival Launches in Understated

    Singapore Festival Launches in Understated Style

    In recent years, the cost of producing a blockbuster CG-animated feature has climbed well into “Titanic” territory. But not at Illumination, where founder-CEO Meledandri insists on keeping his budgets under $75 million. Made at a fraction of the competition’s expense, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” nabbed the year’s biggest toon opening, clocking in at $70.2 million […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content