Burke joined LAIKA in 2019 from Universal Pictures, where he had been General Manager for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland since 2006. Burke will report to Laika President & CEO, Travis Knight.
Burke’s role at LAIKA has expanded to encompass all aspects of the company’s Operations activities while remaining the lead on brand marketing and film promotions. He is also involved in developing LAIKA’s Live Action strategy.
“I am thrilled to take on the expanded role of Chief Marketing and Operations Officer at LAIKA. I am grateful to our CEO Travis Knight for his leadership and trust in me to help drive the company’s mission forward. Our team of talented colleagues is second to none, and I am excited to continue working alongside them in this new capacity. Together we will continue to build on LAIKA’s legacy of creating singular and original stories that entertain and inspire audiences worldwide.”
Since his arrival at LAIKA, Burke has optimized each of LAIKA’s five Academy Award-nominated legacy titles across VOD, AVOD and Physical Media, including nationwide retrospective theatrical screenings of LAIKA’s library through Fathom, setting post-pandemic records in the retro screening space. The LAIKA canon includes such movies as Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, Missing Link and the upcoming Wildwood.
Burke has established a formal DEI framework for the studio focusing on accessibility and talent pipeline expansion. One example of this is the studio’s partnership with HBCU Bowie State in Maryland, where LAIKA funded the creation of the university’s stop-motion animation curriculum and physical studio. He has also developed LAIKA’s partnerships with Women in Animation, Film Independent’s Project Involve and Portland Community College.
Burke’s tenure at LAIKA includes a multi-year sponsorship of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. He championed the idea of a named gallery, and the 2000 SF LAIKA Gallery on the museum’s third floor celebrates the earliest technological advances in cinema. Additionally, the AMPAS museum’s past summer’s month-long program, The Magical Films of LAIKA, celebrated the world premiere screenings of all five of LAIKA’s films on 4K with Dolby-enhanced sound, as well as panels, educational engagements, and bespoke merchandise.
Burke has expanded LAIKA’s exhibition program partnering with the Museum of Moving Image (MOMI), the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and most recently a record-breaking stop-motion animation exhibit at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). The multi-year exhibit, Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA, sold out its opening weekend and is on course to becoming one of the museum’s most popular exhibits. The British Film Institute (BFI) will also mount an exhibit of LAIKA puppets, sets, props, and costumes next year, and more international exhibition locations are in the planning stages.
During his Universal tenure, Burke planned releases on close to 400 film titles, including 60 films that debuted to #1 in the Ireland and Northern Ireland markets. A partial list of titles includes: The Bourne Ultimatum, Jurassic World, Fifty Shades of Grey, Ted, Les Misérables, Bridesmaids, It’s Complicated, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Straight Outta Compton, Illumination films including Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets franchise titles; the Fast & Furious franchise and the Mamma Mia! films.
“Dave is a bold, forward-thinking leader and an all-around terrific guy,” said Knight. “He has become an indelible part of LAIKA’s story. Dave’s exceptional thoughtfulness, creativity, and discernment make him uniquely suited to steer our studio into the future. Partnering with Dave has been a joy, and together we wholeheartedly believe LAIKA’s finest chapters are ahead of us.”
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