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David Stainton Steps Down as Head of Disney Feature Animation

In the wake of yesterdays announcement of Walt Disney Co.s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios and the elevation of Pixars Ed Catmull and John Lasseter as heads of Disney Feature Animation, BLOOMBERG NEWS confirmed that David Stainton will step down, but will not leave the company. As president of Feature Animation, Stainton helped guide the studio through its difficult transition to all-3D animation, commencing last year with the moderately successful CHICKEN LITTLE and continuing this year with the Dec. 15 release of MEET THE ROBINSONS.

Future releases include Chris Sanders AMERICAN DOG in 2007 and Glen Keanes RAPUNZEL in 2008. GNOMEO & JULIET was set to go into pre-production internally this year and production next year outside of Feature Animation for release in 2009. Given that Catmull and Lasseter will instill a more creative, artist-friendly environment, and manage everything from how pictures are chosen, how they are developed. Its everything, according to THE NEW YORK TIMES, there is still much to be decided. Will Feature Animation be streamlined and run more Pixar style? How many animators and creative execs will be laid off, including the Circle 7 division devoted to Pixar sequels? Stay tuned.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.