In a big get for Sony Pictures Animation, the studio has nabbed director Rich Moore. Moore, who worked on The Simpsons and Futurama before creating hits for Disney with Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, will now be taking his talents to the up-and-coming SPA, which is coming off one of its better years after earning an Oscar for 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,” said Moore in a statement reported on by THR. “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.”
Does this signal a changing of the guard? Not necessarily. If anything, it shows that Sony Pictures Animation is going to be more of a contender against the mighty Disney, which still has plenty of IP in its stable and a wealth of talent now under the leadership of Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee. But Sony Pictures Animation is wisely courting filmmakers, not just IP or easy family plays. When you get a guy like Rich Moore, it shows that you’re looking to up your game considerably.
This also means that the other animation houses may start getting left in the dust. Outside of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise (which is now over), DreamWorks Animation doesn’t seem to have anything cooking other than a rebooted Shrek franchise down the line. Blue Sky’s fate is unknown since Disney already has their own animation house in addition to Pixar. And while Illumination Entertainment is a powerhouse at the box office, their movies are instantly forgettable. With Moore now in the fold at SPA, I’m very curious to see what the studio has in store outside of Spider-Verse sequels and spinoffs.