Ex-Disney chief named Paramount animation head

David Stainton, formerly the President of Walt Disney Feature Animation, has been appointed President of Paramount’s up-and-coming in-house animation division, the company announced Oct. 10.

Mr. Stainton’s experience, which includes 17 years at Disney, is expected to be extremely useful for the fledgling Paramount Animation. According to a press release on the appointment, he helmed several dozen releases that brought in $3.5 billion in revenue worldwide.

He is credited with spearheading Disney’s transition to fully digital animation production from its hand-drawn roots. He also managed the company’s 150-strong animation facility in Paris. After leaving Disney, he founded Henry’s World Media, a family entertainment company, in January 2007. He had been serving as its CEO prior to this new role at Paramount.

Paramount’s animation division is still in a nascent stage, having been established in July 2011. Prior to its launch, Paramount acted mainly as distributors for Dreamworks in the animated feature market.

However, there were disagreements over financial aspects of the deal following the launch of Paramount Animation. The new launch, coupled with the company’s stated aim to release a movie of its own by 2014 did not help matters. The two parties failed to find a solution to the impasse, and no extension was signed for the deal, which ends in 2012.

While Paramount Animation might be a new division, Paramount has released several successful animation films in its history. Rango, starring Johnny Depp and released in March 2011, was its first fully owned CGI animated feature film. The movie received critical acclaim, while raking in a little under a quarter million dollars at the box office.

Paramount’s next major release will be the Steven Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin later this year.

 “David’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and I am glad to welcome him to the lot as we start this exciting new chapter,” said Goodman in the press release. “With David’s leadership, we will look to build on what has been a very strong year for our studio in animation, with Rango and the upcoming Adventures of Tintin pointing to the kind of artist-driven, broad-appeal films we intend to make at Paramount Animation.”