Universal Filmed Entertainment Group on Wednesday (9) announced that Margie Cohn has been named president of DreamWorks Animation (DWA), effective immediately.
Cohn, who previously served as president of DreamWorks Animation Television, will now oversee both film and television operations, reporting to Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley.
Chris deFaria, who previously served as president of DreamWorks Feature Animation Group, will depart the company in the coming months following the global release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. deFaria joined in 2017 and played an instrumental role in DreamWorks Animation’s integration with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. He will continue to consult with Comcast NBCUniversal on special initiatives.
“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. “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.”
“Over the last five years, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside our studio’s Feature Animation Group, and I have the utmost respect for the deep worlds and endearing characters they have created,” said Cohn. “I am honored that Jeff [Shell] and Donna have given me this opportunity and I look forward to working with the greater DreamWorks creative community and Chris Meledandri, with a shared goal of creating premium family entertainment that is relevant and enduring.”
Illumination founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, who has been working closely with Langley and the Universal team since the studio acquired DreamWorks Animation, will continue to act in a strategic role as senior advisor, supporting all areas of the company.
Meledandri is overseeing the reimagining of the Shrek franchise, and Illumination executive Latifa Ouaou is spearheading development on the Puss In Boots sequel.
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.”
The DreamWorks Animation film and television businesses will continue to maintain separate production operations under Cohn, with feature animation expected to release two films a year, starting in 2019 with How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Abominable, a co-production with Pearl Studio.
Additional titles in production include Trolls World Tour, The Croods 2, and The Boss Baby 2. The studio is in development on an original film slate to complement its franchise sequels.
Cohn joined DreamWorks in 2013 at the inception of its television business and has led the studio through key distributions deals. During her tenure, the studio has been responsible for the Trollhunters series from Guillermo del Toro, The Adventures Of Puss In Boots, All Hail King Julien, Dragons: Race To The Edge, The Epic Tales Of Captain Underpants, and The Boss Baby: Back in Business, as well as pop culture hit shows Voltron: Legendary Defender, Spirit Riding Free, Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws Of Destiny, and most recently, She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power.
Prior to DreamWorks, Cohn spent 26 years at Nickelodeon, where in various development and production roles she helped make the network number one in cable television for 18 consecutive years.