Warner Animation Group has appointed two senior-level creative executives to shepherd its upcoming feature animation and live-action hybrid production and development slate. Veteran producer Allison Abbate has been named Executive Vice President, and Chris Leahy is upped to Senior Vice President.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, and Courtenay Valenti, President – Production and Development, share oversight of WAG. Both Abbate and Leahy will work closely with Valenti, the writers, producers and directors to ensure WAG’s vision and creative strategy.
“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,” said Emmerich. “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.”
“Warner Bros. has a long and storied history in animation,” said Valenti. “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.”
As EVP, Allison Abbate will be responsible for the group’s overall strategy and creative direction. Over her 20-year producing career, Abbate has worked on innovative and critically acclaimed animated films such as The Iron Giant, for which she won a BAFTA Award; Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, all of which received Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. She also co-produced animation for WB’s Space Jam and was an EP on The LEGO Movie.
New SVP Chris Leahy will oversee all aspects of production and operations for WAG. He most recently served as Vice President, Theatrical Animation for Warner Bros. Pictures, in which role he oversaw production of Storks, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Prior to WB, Leahy worked at DreamWorks Animation for 12 years, where he was associate producer on Penguins of Madagascar and production manager for Turbo.