It's a first for Paramount: A modern-day animation unit. Paramount says it is planning to spend up to $100 million to produce its own animated features.
Paramount chief Brad Grey says an in-house animation unit is part of the studio's long-term growth strategy, and for good reason: There's money to be made. "Kung Fu Panda 2" — which was distributed by Paramount but produced by Dreamworks — has taken in half a billion dollars.
That's been the way that Paramount has been handling animation: Do the distribution but not the production. But back in March, the studio released "Rango," its first fully owned computer-generated animation release, which earned $240 million.
Paramount's new animation unit is expected to produce at least one film a year, with its first animated feature expected in 2014. The head of the animation team will be a key to its success. So far, Paramount hasn't said who that will be.