Warner Bros. is looking to cash in on the the feature film animation market, and they've developed a plan to go up against Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation, and Sony Pictures. Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov announced today that the studio has formed "a feature animation creative consortium, marking a new and innovative approach to the establishment of a diverse and far-reaching animation slate."
They have brought on several talented people to help them develop and produce high-end animated films. The team includes John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, (Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cats & Dogs); Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets); Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs); and Jared Stern (Mr. Popper’s Penguins). The plan is to release one animated movie per year. Robinov had this to say in a statement,
Warner Bros. has an extraordinary legacy in the world of animation, including some of the most enduring characters in cinema history. Looking to the future, we have now gathered some of the best and brightest talents in the industry to help us grow and broaden that legacy. Drawing upon their imaginations and inspiration, the Studio will produce a slate of new and original animated films that are sure to delight audiences of all ages.
The filmmakers will work both together and individually. They will not be exclusive to the studio's animated film productions, they will also continue to write and direct live-action movies for the studio as well. The studio says that this new endeavor reflects their ongoing commitment to being a filmmaker friendly studio, which invites and fosters original projects, continually expanding the entertainment scope of its slate.
The first movie we'll see from the studio is the upcoming 3D animated LEGO Movie which will be released on February 7th, 2014. Other projects include Storks, conceived and being written by Stoller and to be directed by Doug Sweetland (Pixar short Presto); and Smallfoot, to be written by Requa and Ficarra, from an original idea by Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me), who is also set to direct. The films are being targeted for release in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
It will be interesting to see how this new plan plays out. Hopefully they can develop some fun and entertaining movies that everyone will enjoy. Maybe somewhere down the line they will start making big budget animated DC comics movies!