But more than the content of Meledandri’s words, there’s something to be said that a typically behind-the-scenes animation executive is now deemed worthy of the paparazzi. Animation’s explosive growth trajectory over the last few years means that the public wants to hear about animated projects at all stages of production. Creative choices that used to be made without a second thought have now become the subject of mainstream discussion and scrutiny.
In a rare occurrence for the animation industry, Illumination Entertainment chief Chris Meledandri got the paparazzi treatment at LAX.

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Is this a good direction for animation? That’s certainly up for debate, though it may also be an unavoidable side effect of the industry’s expanding prominence. In any case, don’t be surprised if paparazzi begin staking out the Geneva Airport during Annecy week or hang out on San Fernando Boulevard trying to find an animation showrunner on their lunch break. Animation is entering a new era of hyper-visibility and anything is possible.

A paparazzo working for Toofab ambushed Meledandri as he was walking to the parking lot to ask him about the casting of Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario in Illumination’s upcoming Super Mario Bros. pic. Meledandri’s response, which can be viewed below, is measured and thoughtful, as one might expect from one of the industry’s most successful executives:

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