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Sony Pictures Animation President of Production Steps Down

Michelle Raimo Kouyate will move forward as a producer with a first-look deal at the studio

Michelle Raimo Kouyate has stepped down as President of Production at Sony Pictures Animation, a rep for the studio told TheWrap.

After five years in her post, Raimo Kouyate will transition to a producer role with a first-look deal at SPA.

During her tenure, the company released titles like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “The Smurfs” and the Adam Sandler-voiced “Hotel Transylvania.”

Raimo Kouyate will oversee the shuffle with her yet-to-be-named replacement, then focus solely on “Medusa” with director Lauren Faust (“My Little Pony”). Other projects on SPA’s slate include a sequel to “Transylvania” that opens later this year, as well as an animated take on the nativity story.

“The Lamb,” from  producer DeVon Franklin, will feature both laughs and heart, as well as an all-animal cast.

The market for faith-based entertainment has been as big as ever this year, as evidenced by Darren Aronofsky‘s “Noah” ($359 million worldwide), Sony’s “Heaven Is For Real” ($100 million worldwide), Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s “Son of God” (nearly $60 million in the U.S.), the Kevin Sorbo movie “God’s Not Dead” ($60 million in the U.S. on a $2 million production budget) and the Christian-themed football film “When the Game Stands Tall,” which is also expected to turn a profit.