Paramount Pictures has tapped Mireille Soria to be president of its animation division.
Soria previously served as co-president of feature animation at DreamWorks Animation, working on the likes of “Trolls” and “Boss Baby.” Her appointment comes as Paramount is in rebuilding mode. Viacom, Paramount’s parent company, tapped Jim Gianopulos, the former Fox film chief, to be its chairman. He has been tasked with restocking the studio’s cupboard of franchises. Animation will be central to that effort, as it is a genre that continues to perform well at the box office and boasts kiddie friendly characters that are ripe for merchandising and toy licensing.
Viacom has said it wants Paramount to make movies that use characters from its Nickelodeon cable channel and to create franchises that will also inspire television programming. The studio is having a rough year at the box office. It’s suffered a string of flops such as “Baywatch” and “The Ghost in the Shell,” while “Transformers: The Last Knight” has lagged behind previous installments in the film series.
Soria is familiar with Gianopulos from his days running Fox. The studio was DreamWorks Animation’s distributor and Soria also had a producing agreement with Fox Family Pictures prior to joining the animation company. There she worked on “Ever After,” a fairy tale with Drew Barrymore.
Soria also worked as a vice president of production at Disney, working on such films as “The Mighty Ducks” and “Cool Runnings.”
In her new role, she will report to Marc Evans, the motion picture group president.
Paramount launched its animation division in 2011 under its previous chairman, Brad Grey. The studio’s first release, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” hit theaters in 2015, grossing $325.2 million globally.