Michael Lachance joins LA-based film studio Miramax to head its newly created family & animation division. The former SVP of creative development at Sony Pictures Animation will oversee the creative direction and building a slate for all ages as EVP. He will report to COO Bob Osher.
Lachance has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, most recently at SPA where he developed Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and the Smurfs franchise. Prior to his work at Sony, Lachance was a senior development exec at DreamWorks Animation and conceived the original idea for the animated Kung Fu Panda franchise, which has gone on to earn more than US$1.8 billion worldwide. He also led development on Madagascar, Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens and two Shrek films.
Miramax, owned by beIN Media Group, is led by CEO Bill Block. It has created more than 700 films and TV series, and with a few exceptions, such as Ella Enchanted (pictured), few of the company’s projects have fallen in the kids and family sphere.
The move to open this new division follows other companies seeing the potential in animated family movies. Recently, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company Imagine Entertainment launched a kids and family division, under the leadership of former Universal exec Stephanie Sperber. Mattel, while a kids company already, also sees potential in family content on the big screen, tapping Robbie Brenner (who also happens to have been an exec at Miramax previously) to lead its new Mattel films division.