EXCLUSIVE: An internal restructuring has left Paramount’s EVP of production for animation Bob Bacon out of a job, exiting. He had been at the studio since 2011. Sources said that all physical production, live action and animation, will now come under the auspices of Lee Rosenthal, and as a result, Bacon’s position is being eliminated. This news comes at a time when the studio’s highest grossing film of the year is an animated title: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water which made $163M at the domestic B.O. and $311.6M worldwide. The other animated film put into production during Bacon’s reign is Chris Wedge’s Monster Trucks, which in May was pushed back a second time to March 18, 2016. That film, which carries a reported $125M pricetag, was announced as a potential franchise in 2013, with production starting on May 13, 2014. The film was scheduled for this summer, then moved to Christmas before being pulled from the 2015 schedule altogether.
Bacon’s departure comes in a year when two Paramount executives have left: film group president Adam Goodman in February and president of domestic distribution Don Harris, who left in June after 14 years on the Melrose lot.
Bacon, a two decade-plus animation vet, came to Paramount from Disney where he served as the production executive on the studio’s surprise winter 2011 hit Gnomeo & Juliet ($194M worldwide), which he guided from start to finish. He was brought in at Paramount’s animation division a year before Dreamworks Animation moved to Fox in November 2011. When Bacon arrived at Paramount, the studio was coming off the Oscar-winning animated feature Rango ($245.7M) and The Adventures Of Tin Tin which was a global success ($374M). At Disney, Bacon served as an EVP at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he oversaw production, finance, technology and the day-to-day ops of 600 artists, technicians, and production staff. His credits include such titles Chicken Little, Beauty And The Beast, The Lion King and Lilo And Stitch.