Christopher Meledandri

CHRIS MELEDANDRI is the founder (2008) and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, which makes broad audience films. The independent company has an exclusive financing and distribution agreement with Universal Pictures and will release its first film, Despicable Me, starring Steve Carell, through the studio in July 2010. Illumination, which will produce one to two films a year over the next five years, is currently in production on a feature film version of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which continues the successful collaboration Meledandri has had with Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Geisel’s widow, Audrey. Other upcoming films include an original live-action/CG-hybrid film, I Hop, starring Russell Brand and James Marsden and directed by Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Tim Hill, currently in production, and the animated feature adaptation of Ricky Gervais’ Flanimals books. Meledandri was previously an executive at 20th Century Fox for 13 years. While there, he became founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation, which he headed for eight years, amassing more than $1 billion in global box-office revenue. During his tenure, he helped Fox become a major player in the world of animated feature films, and in 1998 he led Fox’s acquisition of fledgling visual effects/commercial house Blue Sky Studios, which he built into a successful producer of animated features. He oversaw the creative and business operations of Blue Sky, now Fox’s wholly owned CGI studio. While at the studio, Meledandri supervised and/or executive produced movies including Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Robots, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Simpsons Movie and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! Before joining Fox, Meledandri was president of Dawn Steel Pictures at Walt Disney Pictures, where he served as an executive producer of Cool Runnings. Meledandri is a 1982 graduate of Dartmouth College. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hotchkiss Board of Trustees. Chris lives in Los Angeles, CA, with his wife, Leslie, and their two sons, Nick and James.

Alumni Information
Class: 
1981
Founder, CEO