Producers Guild Honors Chris Meledandri with the 2014 Visionary Award
Monday, October 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES (October 28,
2013) – The Producers
Guild of America (PGA) announced today that Chris Meledandri, Founder
and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, will receive the 2014 Visionary Award.
The award will be presented to Meledandri at the 25th Anniversary Producers
Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 19, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in
The Producers Guild
Visionary Award recognizes a television, film or new media producer for his or
her unique or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring
storytelling or performance.
Meledandri is being
recognized with the Visionary Award as one of the definitive producers of
contemporary animation. He receives this award just as the latest blockbuster
hit that he has produced, Universal and Illumination’s DESPICABLE ME 2, becomes
the 5th highest-grossing animated film of all time worldwide at the
global box office.
"I have spent my career
working alongside brilliant, passionate filmmakers to tell the types of stories
that move audiences, and to receive recognition for this from the peers whose
work I deeply admire makes this award all that more meaningful,” said
Previous honorees include
producer, entrepreneur and humanitarian Russell Simmons, for his dedication to
philanthropy and work as a film and television producer; producer Laura
Ziskin, for her commitment to storytelling and her efforts organizing the 2008
and 2009 Stand Up To Cancer campaign and television specials; Jeff Skoll, for
his work with Participant Media in creating films that inspire social action;
and Joel Gallen, who produced the landmark post-9/11 telethon "America: A
Tribute to Heroes.”
"Throughout his career,
Chris Meledandri has well established his position as a true visionary,” said PGA
Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary (INVICTUS, "Through the Wormhole with Morgan
Freeman”) and Michael De Luca (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, MONEYBALL, THE SOCIAL
NETWORK). "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.”
The Producers Guild 2014 Visionary
Award is sponsored by Delta Air Lines.
About Chris Meledandri
Chris Meledandri is the
founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, which has an exclusive financing
and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures. In July 2010,
Illumination released its first film under this agreement, DESPICABLE ME, which
starred Steve Carell and earned more than $540 million worldwide.
In April 2011, Illumination
released HOP, which starred James Marsden and Russell Brand and became the No.
1 film in North America for two consecutive weeks. Illumination followed this
up in March 2012, when it released its next fully animated feature film, DR.
SEUSS’ THE LORAX, which had the highest three-day opening for an animated film
that year ($70.2 million) and also had the eighth-highest domestic opening for
an animated film of all time. THE LORAX continued the successful collaboration
between Meledandri and Theodor "Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s widow, Audrey Geisel.
Illumination’s DESPICABLE ME 2, which was released this year to critical
acclaim, recently became the 5th highest-grossing animated film of all time
worldwide, opening No. 1 in 54 territories across the globe and earning more
than $900 million.
Meledandri is currently in
production on MINIONS, an original animated film starring Oscar® winner Sandra
Bullock and Jon Hamm that will be released on July 10, 2015, as well as an
untitled project that will be released on February 12, 2016.
Meledandri was previously
an executive at 20th Century Fox for 13 years. While there, he became founding
president of 20th Century Fox Animation, which he headed for eight years,
amassing more than $2 billion in global box office revenue.
During his tenure, he
helped 20th Century Fox become a major player in the world of animated feature
films and in 1998, he led 20th Century Fox’s acquisition of fledgling visual
effects/commercial house Blue Sky Studios, which he built into a successful
producer of animated features. He oversaw the creative and business operations
of Blue Sky Studios, now 20th Century Fox’s wholly owned CGI studio. While at
the studio, Meledandri supervised and/or executive produced movies including
ICE AGE, ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, ROBOTS, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, THE SIMPSONS
MOVIE and DR. SEUSS’ HORTON HEARS A WHO!.
20th Century Fox, Meledandri was president of Dawn Steel Pictures at Walt
Disney Pictures, where he served as an executive producer of COOL RUNNINGS.