×

Chris deFaria to Leave Dreamworks Animation, Margie Cohn Named President

In a major shakeup, Chris deFaria is leaving the presidency of Dreamworks Feature Animation Group after two years in the post.

He’s being replaced by Margie Cohn, who previously served as president of DreamWorks Animation Television and will now oversee both film and television operations. She will report to Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Pictures, who made the announcement on Wednesday.

NBCUniversal acquired DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion in August, 2016, and installed deFaria as president five months later. He will depart DWA in the coming months following the global release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which opens Feb. 22 in North America.

DeFaria oversaw the completion of the third “How to Train Your Dragon” movie, the launch of DreamWorks Shorts Program and the opening of the DreamWorks Theater attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. He will continue to consult with Comcast NBCUniversal on a number of special initiatives.

Prior to joining DreamWorks, DeFaria worked at Warner Bros. on its animated projects and feature films. He has executive producer credits on “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Gravity,” “Sucker Punch,” “Ready Player One,” and “Happy Feet Two.”

“As we look to design the next chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s iconic history, we see opportunity in aligning the film and television businesses under a singular vision,” said Langley in a statement. “Margie is a proven executive with the right creative instincts and results-oriented skill set to make DreamWorks an innovative and seamless organization where artists can create original, high-quality content for audiences worldwide.  We are grateful to Chris for his contributions and insights over the last couple of years.”

Universal also said that Illumination Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri will continue to act in a strategic role as senior adviser. Meledandri is overseeing the reimagining of the Shrek franchise, and Illumination executive Latifa Ouaou is spearheading development on the “Puss in Boots” sequel. Meledandri founded Universal-owned Illumination in 2008.

Meledandri said, “I look forward to working with Margie and the talented team of artists at DreamWorks Animation to help expand on the rich tradition of character creation, storytelling and artistry that people have come to associate with the studio.”

Universal will release the DreamWorks Animation-Pearl Studio production “Abominable” on Sept. 27. DreamWorks Animation titles in production include “Trolls World Tour,” “The Croods 2,” and “The Boss Baby 2.”

Before joining DreamWorks, Cohn spent 26 years at Nickelodeon, where she oversaw “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “The Fairly Odd Parents,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and the Kids’ Choice Awards in addition to over 20 made-for-TV movies.

The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

More Film

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content