Last Friday, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” opened to surprisingly good reviews and a decent box office turn out. The film looked like just another studio cash grab, but critics seem to think otherwise as it is currently sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes.


This success makes sense, though, when you look at the talent behind the picture. In the director’s chair is Rob Minkoff, a veteran animator and director whose films include such acclaimed classics as “The Lion King”, “The Little Mermaid” and “The Great Mouse Detective.”


According to IMDb, Minkoff earned his first animation credit on Disney’s “The Black Cauldron.” In that film, he served as an in-between artist. Basically, he drew frames to go in-between two images drawn by an animator higher up on the totem pole. It is a fairly low ranking position, but it got his foot in the door at Disney and gave his carer the jump-start it needed.


Later, he would go on to work as an animator on “The Great Mouse Detective”, “The Brave Little Toaster”, “The Little Mermaid” and several other Disney productions.


His work as an animator must have impressed Disney, because soon after doing character animation on “The Little Mermaid” Minkoff was given his first job as a director. The first films he directed were a few shorts based on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and a Mickey Mouse film titled “Mickey’s Audition.”


Those short films proved to Disney that Minkoff had real talent as a director, and they decided to reward him with a feature film assignment.


Minkoff’s first feature would be “The Lion King”, a film that Disney viewed mostly as an experiment, but would go on to break box office records, win two Academy Awards and be considered to be one of the best Disney animations.


Following his success on “The Lion King”, Minkoff went off to direct two “Stuart Little” films before returning to Disney to make the less-than-successful “Haunted Mansion”.


After years of working in family films, Minkoff decided to branch into more adult territory with the Kung Fu/Action film “The Forbidden Kingdom.” Starring Jet-Li and Jackie Chan, the film was praised for it’s fight scenes but little else.


Three years later, in 2011 Minkoff released Flypaper. A crime comedy, “Flypaper” opened to mostly negative reviews and a minimal box office turnout.


Finally, after 20 years of exclusively making live-action films, Minkoff returned to animation this year with “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” Based on the characters from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”, this Dreamworks film takes the audience on a journey back in time with the genius dog and his adopted boy. Critics have noted the film’s sharp humor and clean animation as the primary reason for its success.


Minkoff’s next film is expected to be the fantasy-adventure, “Chinese Odyssey.” Little is known as to what the project will be.


Have you seen anything by Rob Minkoff? Are you interested? Let me know in the comments below.