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DreamWorks Animation Names Bonnie Arnold, Mireille Soria Co-Presidents of Feature Animation

After a string of disappointing releases at the box office, DreamWorks Animation has named Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria co-presidents of feature animation, the toon studio announced Sunday.

Bill Damaschke will step down as chief creative officer, as part of the move.

Arnold and Soria were the lead producers behind the “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Madagascar” fanchises.

At the moment, those are two of DWA’s most reliable moneymakers, after being forced to take writedowns on the poor performance of its films. It took an $87 million loss on “Rise of the Guardians,” a $13.5 million hit on “Turbo” and $57 million writedown on “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”

“Three of our last four films have not delivered in terms of audience turnout or financial performance,” Katzenberg told analysts in April 2014, before “The Penguins of Madagascar” also underperformed in the latter part of the year, with nearly $271 million worldwide, $78 million coming from domestic theaters.

Its next release is “Home,” in March, distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Arnold and Soria will now oversee creative development and production for DreamWorks Animation’s theatrical releases, trying to launch new franchises and grow existing ones.

Between them, they have produced eight films at DWA that have grossed more than $3.5 billion globally.

“Mireille and Bonnie are two of the most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today,” said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. “I am confident in their ability to marshal the extensive creative resources available at our studio and lead DreamWorks’ vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment.”

Arnold has spent the past 12 years at DWA, currently overseeing the “Dragon” franchise. Last year’s sequel was one the studio’s few hits in 2014, and went on to become the highest grossing animated film, grossing $618.9 million. “How to Train Your Dragon 3” bows in 2017.

Arnold also produced DWA’s “Over the Hedge,” released in 2006, Disney’s “Tarzan,” and Pixar’s “Toy Story.”

Soria has 15 years of experience at DWA. The “Madagascar” films have earned nearly $1.9 billion at the worldwide box office. She also produced the studio’s “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and served as a VP of production for Walt Disney Pictures.

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