Movie-Theater Roller Coaster Animator John McLaughin Dead at 46

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Animator John McLaughlin, best known for creating the CGI roller-coaster ride with the perfectly timed popcorn explosion that played before films in the Regal chain of cinemas, has died at the age of 46, The Oregonian reports. McLaughlin started his animation career shortly after his graduation from the California Institute of the Arts, spending time at LucasArts Entertainment and Tippett Studio before making the jump to DreamWorks, where he spent the bulk of his professional life. As a professional animator, his work appeared in Shark Tale, Over the Hedge, and the Kung Fu Panda films. The roller-coaster animation ran in Regal theaters from the mid-'90s until 2004 and was brought back with revamped CGI in 2010; according to McLaughlin's obituary, it was "one of his favorite personal projects." He is survived by his wife and two sons.