Warner Animation Group said today that Allison Abbate and Chris Leahy will take the roles of senior-level creative executives at the animated film production arm of Warner Bros Pictures. Abbate has been named EVP, while Leahy has been named SVP.
Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures, who shares oversight of Warner Animation Group with Courtenay Valenti, President, Production and Development, Warner Bros. Pictures, said of the announcement: “Allison and Chris are well known and well respected in the animation community and will be key to expanding our operations at Warner Animation Group. We have ambitious plans for WAG and will rely on Allison and Chris to attract world-class animation talent to help us develop and deliver a robust slate of both animated and live-action/hybrid titles.”
Adds Valenti: “Warner Bros. has a long and storied history in animation. From our early animated theatrical shorts to our recent LEGO releases from WAG, animation is a studio cornerstone. I am so excited that Allison and Chris, both admired and excellent animation executives, will help us focus our efforts in this area to become an important player in family entertainment.”
Abbate will oversee the overall strategy and creative direction of the WAG group, while Leahy will oversee all aspects of production and operations. Both executives will work with Valenti, as well as with writers, producers, and directors, to ensure WAG’s vision and creative strategy are met.
Abbate’s producing credits include The Iron Giant, which earned her a BAFTA award. Her credits include Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox as well as the Tim Burton pics Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, all of which were nominated for Oscars, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes. She also co-produced the animation for the classic basketball pic Space Jam and served as an executive producer on The LEGO Movie.
Leahy most recently served as VP Theatrical Animation at Warner Bros. Pictures. He oversaw the production of Storks, The LEGO Batman Movie, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Prior to Warner Bros, he worked at DreamWorks Animation for 12 years.
WAG is currently producing Smallfoot featuring the voices of Zendaya and Channing Tatum (slated for release September 28, 2018) as well as The LEGO Movie sequel (February 8, 2019) and Scoob (May 15, 2020) among several animated and live-action/hybrid titles in development.