Just over a week ago, Disney announced that long time Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studio, John Lasseter would be stepping down permanently at the end of 2018. The front runners for the jobs were Pete Dockter and Jennifer Lee, of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, respectively. Today, Disney announced that Lee and Dockter would both be named Chief Creative Officers. Lee will head up Walt Disney Animation, while Dockter will take over Pixar.
Both have amazing resumes, with Dockter being the director of Monsters Inc., UP and Inside Out. Lee meanwhile has been director of the phenomenon that is Frozen, and was a writer on Wreck-It-Ralph.
“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “Pete, the genius creative force behind Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”
“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,” said Lee. “My hope is to support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories.”
“I started here 28 years ago,” said Docter. “I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and 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.”
Jennifer Lee joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2011 as co-writer of the Oscar®-nominated Wreck-It Ralph. She is the director (with Chris Buck) and writer of the cultural phenomenon Frozen, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and stands as the highest-grossing animated film ever released, and the Tony Award-nominated book writer of Frozen: The Broadway Musical. Lee played a critical role in the story team of the Oscar-winning Zootopia and is currently in production on Frozen 2, due out in November 2019.
We can’t wait to see what the team comes up with from here on. Meanwhile, The Incredibles 2 is smashing records at the box office, and Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theaters this November.