Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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Hollywood mega-producer Bonnie Arnold's name is synonymous with the CG-animated features that began to populate megaplexes during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Arnold's resume reads like a Hall of Fame for family-oriented high-concept releases that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, many of which grossed several times their original budgets. Without her efforts, such pictures as "Toy Story" (1995), "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) and Disney's "Tarzan" (1999) might never have been made. An alumnus of the University of Georgia and Boston University, Bonnie Arnold took a series of behind the scenes jobs that led to a production coordinator assignment on mogul Ray Stark's 1985 comedy "The Slugger's Wife," directed by the legendary Hal Ashby. Thereafter, Arnold became a fixture in Hollywood film production circles, where she met studio head David V. Picker, who formally invited her to work for Columbia Pictures. Projects to which Arnold contributed during this period include "The Mosquito Coast" (1986, as production coordinator) and "The Mighty Quinn" (1989, second unit production coordinator). Yet it was a 1990 thriller, Tony Scott's "Revenge," that pushed Arnold's career over the top. On the set of that movie, she met and established a rapport with star Kevin Costner, who in turn hired her as associate producer on "Dances with Wolves," a Best Picture winner and one of the highest grossing Hollywood releases of 1990. Following a similar associate producing job on 1991's "The Addams Family," Arnold scored one of the biggest hits of the decade with the Disney-Pixar blockbuster "Toy Story" (1995). The movie, at first treated as a curio in the press, became the single highest grossing release of 1995, netting nearly $400 million worldwide and securing something of a niche for Arnold, who began to specialize almost exclusively in big screen animated projects. Her next major venture, 1999's "Tarzan," was an even more colossal hit, reeling in over $450 million globally. Jeffrey Katzenberg, of the then-nascent DreamWorks Animation, took notice of "Tarzan"'s profits and soon brought Arnold into the studio to produce another movie, 2006's "Over the Hedge" - a comedy about the hijinks of a group of forest critters, voiced by such A-list actors as Bruce Willis and Steve Carell; it, too, was a hit. The next project on Arnold's roster was certainly uncharacteristic of her prior filmography. Titled "The Last Station," co-starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, and given a limited release through Sony Pictures Classics in late December 2009, the period piece chronicles the final months of celebrated Russian author Leo Tolstoy's life. The movie received generally positive reviews and earned both Mirren and Plummer Oscar nominations for their work. After this, Arnold returned to family-oriented animation, by producing the first two installments in the "How to Train Your Dragon" movie series. Together, the films netted over a billion dollars worldwide, yielding the promise of additional sequels within the franchise. The second picture in the series received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in early 2015.