Illumination’s Chris Meledandri to Receive CinemaCon’s Award of Excellence in Animation

The good news keeps coming in the Super Mario Bros. world.

Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, which partnered with Nintendo on The Super Mario Bros. Movie that continues to break records left and right as it barrels toward $1 billion at the box office, will receive this year’s CinemaCon Award of Excellence in Animation. Meledandri will be feted on April 27 during the at the Big Screen Achievement Awards, held at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and hosted by official presenting sponsor The Coca-Cola Company.

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“Chris and his team at Illumination have brought audiences of all ages some of the most beloved animated characters to the big screen,” praised Mitch Neuhauser, managing director of CinemaCon. “From the record-breaking success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, to the ever-mischievous Minions, to the beloved animals of Sing and The Secret Life of Pets, his company continues to achieve astonishing box office success.”

As Neuhauser noted, some of high-profile hits from Meledandri and his Illumination include Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and The Secret Life of Pets and Sing films. Illumination’s franchises have grossed almost $9 billion worldwide. Prior to Illumination, Meledandri was a senior executive at 20th Century Fox, where he created the Ice Age franchise and shepherded brands into the feature space including The Simpsons Movie and the Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!.

Meledandri’s most recent, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, opened April 5 to $377 million worldwide. Among its many records include the biggest animated global film opening weekend of all time, the biggest opening weekend in Illumination history, the biggest domestic, the biggest Easter weekend opening ever and the biggest video-game adaptation opening ever.

Later this year, the company releases Migration on Dec. 22. The modern-day comedy follows a family of ducks who convince their over-protective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime as they attempt to migrate from New England, through New York City, and ultimately down to Jamaica.

CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO, will be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on April 24-27. The Big Screen Achievement Awards will also see trophies go to Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, Zendaya, Melissa McCarthy, Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback and the cast of Adele Lim’s road trip comedy Joy Ride.

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