“Allison and Chris are well known and well respected in the animation community and will be key to expanding our operations at Warner Animation Group,” said Emmerich. “We have ambitious plans for WAG and will rely on Allison and Chris to attract world-class animation talent to help us develop and deliver a robust slate of both animated and live-action/hybrid titles.”
“Warner Bros. has a long and storied history in animation,” said Valenti. “From our early animated theatrical shorts to our recent LEGO releases from WAG, animation is a Studio cornerstone. I am so excited that Allison and Chris, both admired and excellent animation executives, will help us focus our efforts in this area to become an important player in family entertainment.”
In her new role, Abbate will be responsible for the overall strategy and creative direction of the WAG group. Leahy will oversee all aspects of production and operations. Both executives will work closely with Valenti, as well as with writers, producers and directors to ensure WAG’s vision and creative strategy are met.
A 20-year industry veteran, Abbate is a highly respected and accomplished producer known for her work on some of the most innovative and critically acclaimed animated films, including producing “The Iron Giant,” for which she won a BAFTA Award. Her credits also include “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” and “Frankenweenie,” all of which were Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated. She also co-produced the animation for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Space Jam” and served as an Executive Producer on “The LEGO Movie.”
Leahy most recently served as Vice President, Theatrical Animation, Warner Bros. Pictures. In this role, he oversaw the production of “Storks,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie.” Prior to Warner Bros., Leahy worked at DreamWorks Animation for 12 years. Most recently, he was an Associate Producer on “Penguins of Madagascar” and a Production Manager on “Turbo.”
WAG titles currently in production include “Smallfoot” (slated for release September 28, 2018), “The LEGO Movie Sequel” (February 8, 2019) and “Scoob” (May 15, 2020). The division also has a number of animated and live-action/hybrid titles in development.