Bob Bacon, a former executive at Disney and Paramount Pictures, has just been named CEO of Alpha Animation, a new division of the China-based Alpha Group Co. The division will produce animated features for worldwide distribution. The appointment was announced this morning by Alpha Interactive Entertainment CEO Chen De Rong. Alpha Animation will leverage existing IP and create original fare with plans to release its first film in 2020 and then drop one film a year after that.
Alpha Pictures probably is best known here in the states as a co-producer on The Mermaid, the all-time highest box-office grosser in China. It also also recently launched a partnership with New
Regency Productions, including an investment in Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Best Picture Oscar nominee The Revenant. It also has invested in the films Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell.
The company, founded in 1993, is now the largest animation group and a leading pan-entertainment platform in China after it transformed itself from a toy-oriented company.
Besides the formation of Alpha Animation, Alpha Group also recently established an L.A.-based live-action feature film development company called Alpha Pictures to focus on developing U.S.-China co-productions based on properties from U17.com, the largest online comic book platform in China (which Alpha Group acquired last year). The company also plans to release content on Jiajia Cartoon, which is the No. 1 kids TV network in southern China.
Bacon most recently was EVP Production at Paramount Animation, where he served as head of the animation division, overseeing the production and launch of the 2015 hit film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water. He also worked on other pictures for the slate through 2019.
Prior to his stint at Paramount, he was a production executive for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures on the 2011 animated feature release Gnomeo And Juliet. He started his career at Disney in 1991 working on such animated family favorites as Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Tarzan and Lilo & Stitch.
He was named SVP Production as Disney made the transition from a traditional, 2D studio to one focusing on computer animation and then later promoted to EVP of Walt Disney Animation Studios, overseeing production, finance and technology and running the day-to-day operations of a crew of more than 600 artists, technicians and production staff.
Likewise, Bacon will oversee all aspects of development, production and operations at Alpha Animation.
“Bob is one of the most respected and accomplished animation executives in the industry, and we are excited for him to helm Alpha Animation as our company continues to expand its foothold in the animation industry,” said Chen in a statement. “Animation has always been at the core of our company’s focus, and producing world-class animation is a key step of Alpha’s globalization strategy. We are looking forward to working with some of the most talented people in the business through this new venture.”