Over the last decade, filmmaker Rich Moore has become a mainstay in the halls of Walt Disney Animation Studios, having directed Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Sadly, the successful partnership between Moore and Disney is coming to an end, as the director is taking his talents to another studio. Moore has now struck a deal to work for Sony Pictures Animation.
Sony announced the deal on Monday, confirming that Moore will be developing, producing, and directing multiple original projects for the studio going forward. He will also be available to oversee and advise other films and franchises that are in development at Sony Animation.
"Rich is a world-class storyteller and he brings with him a wealth of experience and a unique sensibility for story, comedy and heart,” Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson said in a statement. “We are so excited for him to join our team of filmmakers at Sony Pictures Animation as we continue to develop a slate of animated features that are big, bold and will take audiences by surprise."
This is a big deal for both sides of the equation. Disney has now lost one of its top animated directors with a proven track record for success over the last decade. This coming on the heels of Lee Unkrich leaving Pixar following the award-winning Coco. For Sony, landing Moore is huge, and will likely be a major boost to the studio that has quickly become a premiere location for new projects after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
"Ten years is a long time — but when you’re working on incredible films with people you love as I have these last ten years, that time flies by," Moore said. "I will always cherish my days at the Walt Disney Animation Studios and I leave with the faith that the studio is in good hands. I remain a lifelong Disney Animation fan and look forward to the films they’ll create in the future."
Moore's last film with Disney was last year's Ralph Breaks the Internet, which he directed with Phil Johnston. The movie was a hit for Disney, earning more than $528 million at the global box office, and nabbing an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. It ultimately lost to Spider-Verse.
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