Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn announced Tuesday that two animated film Oscar winners will succeed John Lasseter, set to leave Disney and Pixar at the year’s end. Lasseter served as the longtime Chief Creative Officer of both companies’ animation studios before allegations of workplace sexual harassment led him to take a six-month sabbatical in late November. Through December 31, he will retain a consulting role.
Lasseter’s post has been split in two, IndieWire confirms. Jennifer Lee — writer-director of the “Frozen” franchise, as well as the scribe behind “Wreck-It Ralph” and “A Wrinkle in Time” — will lead Walt Disney Animation Studios. Disney released “Incredibles 2” on Friday, and the film’s $180 million opening weekend was the largest ever for an animated film.
“Animation is the most collaborative art form in the world, and it is with the partnership of my fellow filmmakers, artists, and innovators that we look ahead to the future,” she said in a statement. “My hope is to support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories. The great films of Disney Animation – the films I loved as a kid and my daughter has grown up loving – are magical, timeless, and full of heart, and it is our goal to create films that carry on and grow this 95-year legacy for future generations.”
Meanwhile, Pete Doctor will assume Chief Creative Officer duties at Pixar Animation, where he has worked for 28 years. “I am excited and humbled to be asked to take on this role,” he said, adding, “It is not something I take lightly.” The “Up” director — who also wrote/directed “Inside Out,” and shares screenwriting credits with Lasseter on the first two “Toy Story” films — also vowed, “Together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world.”
Horn had plenty of praise for the pair, calling them “two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” who each “embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios.”