Ann Daly, DreamWorks Animation’s chief operating officer, is quick to point out that taking a company that started as a 2-D animation studio and turning it into one of the world’s largest and most successful CG animation companies wasn’t an overnight endeavor. The process, according to Daly, took a fair amount of patience and conviction.
“Part of my role here is to create an environment where we can help talent grow, which is one of the reasons why I think we have seen some of the success recently,” Daly says. “It’s a result of (our) philosophy of developing talent and helping people become better storytellers.”
After having helped steer “Shrek” and “Madagascar” to B.O. gold and franchise status, Daly and Anne Globe, head of worldwide consumer products and promotions, oversaw last year’s release of “Kung Fu Panda,” which grossed $632 million worldwide.
Of DWA’s $132 million total revenue for the quarter, $32.7 million came from “Panda’s” domestic pay television returns and $26.1 million from international DVD sales of “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.”
With “Panda” and “Madagascar: 2,” DreamWorks boasted two of the 10 bestselling domestic movies of the year, which is largely the reason the studio posted better-than-expected second-quarter results last July.
Daly’s cultivation of creative latitude has given first-time directors like Andrew Adamson (“Shrek”) and Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who will helm one of DWA’s most anticipated sequels, “Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom,” their start.
“Jennifer was a very important part of the creative leadership on the first (“Panda”) movie, so while she is stepping into (directing) for the first time, she has had very good training,” Daly says.
While Daly has been fostering talent, Globe has been introducing and promoting the results to audiences worldwide.
During her tenure at DWA, Globe has been responsible for helping forge partnerships with McDonald’s, AOL and Kellogg’s as well as extending the studio’s videogame licensing pact with Activision.
In addition, she has made brand names out of “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and now “Kung Fu Panda” by generating worldwide campaigns and tie-ins with apparel lines, theme parks and toy companies.
“At the core of these campaigns is really DreamWorks Animation messaging — our trailers and our ads — that we create, and then our tie-in partners layer into that,” Globe says.
Earlier this year, DWA announced it will add one more film every other year to its annual two-picture release schedule.
“We are on a pretty rapid pace already, but actually I’m excited about the (expansion),” Globe says.
Daly also is looking forward to DWA’s growth outside the movie theater and into other outlets including television, theme parks and touring musicals.
“For the first time we have at least three franchises that have allowed us to expand into these other proven businesses,” Daly says. “So part of it is a natural expansion of that success, and another part is we think that there is an opportunity to bring financial growth to the company.”
IN A NUTSHELL
Job title: Chief operating officer, DreamWorks Animation
Role models: “I’ve had the good fortune of having had many of those people in my life. I think the trick is to surround yourself with people who are dynamic and have the same overall objective.”
Career mantra: “Make sure that you are focusing on the thing that really matters.”
Leisure pursuits: “Going to the movies.”
Philanthropic passions: “I contribute to a broad range of charities. It’s important for us to remember those that aren’t as fortunate.”
Job title: Head of worldwide marketing and promotions, DreamWorks Animation
Role models: DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; DWA chairman Roger Enrico; and husband Brad Globe, “who is still the best dealmaker I have ever known.”
Career mantra: “Trust your gut instincts and be decisive.”
Leisure pursuits: “Kicking back at home with my family.”
Philanthropic passions: Breast cancer research, the Motion Picture & Television Fund, “and I am very supportive of Democratic political causes on a national and local level.”