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Sony’s getting animated: Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox, the execs credited for setting up DreamWorks Animation and spearheading the studio’s “Prince of Egypt,” have been tapped to create Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment’s first feature-animation division.

Rabins and Cox will be responsible for the development and production of Sony’s all-CG animated features and will report to SPDE prexy Yair Landau. First pic expected to come out of the new division is “Astro Boy.”

The duo are expected to work closely with Sony’s in-house f/x studio Sony Pictures Imageworks, which has been looking for a way to take the digital CG character tools it developed for “Spider-Man,” “Stuart Little,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Hollow Man” and expand into fully computer-animated projects.

The creation of the division has been in the works for months and Sony has spent that time looking for the right topper to oversee the studio’s first foray into CG pic production, at a time when Disney, DreamWorks and Fox are enjoying successes at the B.O.

“This new generation of animation is creatively and financially significant in the opportunities it presents,” said John Calley, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Yair Landau deserves enormous credit for building Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment into a top-notch organization ideally positioned to attract talent of Sandra and Penney’s caliber. We are delighted that they have chosen to make their home here.”

Rabins and Cox most recently served as executive producers on DreamWorks’ CG hit “Shrek.”

The two joined DreamWorks in 1994 to start the studio’s animation arm and produce “The Prince of Egypt.” They also helped incorporate commercials and f/x house Pacific Data Images into DreamWorks feature production pipeline and exec produced PDI/DreamWorks’ first computer-generated movie, “Antz.” Cox also has produced “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” exec produced James L. Brooks’ “I’ll Do Anything” and co-produced the helmer’s “Broadcast News” and “Terms of Endearment.”

The duo are repped by AMG Animation.