The Producers Guild of America will give its 2014 Visionary Award to Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, at the 25th Anniversary PGA Awards on Sunday, January 19, at L.A.’s Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Why is he getting recognized now “as one of the definitive producers of contemporary animation”? Illumination’s latest Universal blockbuster “Despicable Me 2” is in the running for an animated Oscar, and is the 5th highest-grossing animated film of all time at the global box office. You know you’ve launched a successful family franchise if it gets its own theme park ride: Universal Orlando’s Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem opened last year. Universal chief Ron Meyer is happy indeed that he imported animation czar Meledandri from Twentieth Century Fox, where he had supervised such Blue Sky movies as “Ice Age” and “Horton Hears a Who.”
“Throughout his career, Chris Meledandri has well established his position as a true visionary,” said PGA Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary and Michael De Luca. “He has risen to become a leader within the industry and paved a road for animation that will have a lasting influence. Furthermore, Chris’ skills as a storyteller are matched by his commitment as a philanthropist, and we are proud to recognize him with the 2014 Visionary Award.”
Bill Desowitz interviews Meledandri on “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” here.
Previous PGA Visionary Award honorees include Russell Simmons, Laura Ziskin, Jeff Skoll and Joel Gallen.