Belson, who received an Oscar nomination for “The Croods,” will report to Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.
“I’m thrilled to have Kristine join the studio — I know she has a first-rate sense of story and a great eye for material,” said Pascal. “But she’s more than that: Kristine is a visionary who will make our animation studio a home where the animation industry’s best talent can come and make the films they want to make. I am confident Kristine will help SPA become an even more vital component of the way we construct our overall slate.”
The animation division had been part of Sony Pictures Digital Productions. Bob Osher remains in charge of SPDP, but the animation division no longer falls under SPDP.
The appointment follows last week’s departure of Michelle Raimo Kouyate from the slot of production president of Sony Pictures Animation. She is taking a first-look producing deal with the studio and will also become a producer on the animated comedy “Medusa.”
Kouyate’s tenure included releases of “Hotel Transylvania,” “The Smurfs 2” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
Belson has an executive producer credit on “How to Train Your Dragon.” She joined DreamWorks Animation in 2005 as head of development, overseeing the development and acquisition of all feature film projects.
“Ten years ago I was lucky enough to join DreamWorks Animation, where I developed a deep understanding and love of the artistry of animation,” Belson said. “I am now so charged up to be able to bring my experience and perspective to Sony Pictures Animation, to build on what they’ve begun and to reach new heights. I am deeply grateful to Amy, my first mentor, for giving me this incredible opportunity.”
The news comes less than a week after DreamWorks Animation announced plans to cut its annual output from three to two movies, along with laying off 500 of its 2,200 employees and take a $290 million charge against earnings following a string of box office disappointments.