Warner Brothers Diving into Animation Think Tank

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Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Pic­tures has formed a fea­ture ani­ma­tion cre­ative con­sor­tium, mark­ing a new and inno­v­a­tive approach to the estab­lish­ment of a diverse and far-reaching ani­ma­tion slate, Warner Bros. Pic­tures Group pres­i­dent Jeff Robi­nov announced Monday.

The mis­sion of the new think tank is to help develop and pro­duce high-end ani­mated motion pic­tures, with the goal of releas­ing one fea­ture per year under the Warner Bros. Pic­tures ban­ner. The select team of accom­plished film­mak­ers will col­lab­o­rate with the stu­dio to frame and guide a vari­ety of projects from start to finish.

The artists who will be involved in Warner Bros.’ new fea­ture ani­ma­tion ven­ture are 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 film­mak­ers will work both indi­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively, sup­port­ing one another artis­ti­cally in the mak­ing of the films. They will not be exclu­sive to the studio’s ani­mated film pro­duc­tions; rather, they will also con­tinue to write and direct live-action movies. “This new endeavor reflects Warner Bros.’ ongo­ing com­mit­ment to being a filmmaker-friendly stu­dio, which invites and fos­ters orig­i­nal projects, con­tin­u­ally expand­ing the enter­tain­ment scope of its slate,” WB said.

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,” Robi­nov stated. “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 first fea­ture in the pipeline is the upcom­ing 3D ani­mated adven­ture The LEGO Movie, being directed by Lord and Miller from their own screen­play. Bring­ing the glob­ally pop­u­lar LEGO con­struc­tion toys to the big screen for the first time, the film is being pro­duced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee and stars the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Fer­rell, Eliz­a­beth Banks, Liam Nee­son, Will Arnett, Nick Offer­man, Ali­son Brie and Mor­gan Free­man. The ani­ma­tion is largely being accom­plished at Australia’s Ani­mal Logic.

A pre­sen­ta­tion of Warner Bros. Pic­tures in asso­ci­a­tion with Vil­lage Road­show Pic­tures, The LEGO Movie is slated for release on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2014.

Among the other projects being devel­oped are Storks, con­ceived and being writ­ten by Stoller, and to be directed by Oscar nom­i­nee 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.

The devel­op­ment of ani­mated fea­tures will be over­seen at Warner Bros. by Courte­nay Valenti, Chris deFaria and Greg Sil­ver­man. Over­all look, char­ac­ter design and the story reel process will be housed in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia; how­ever, the stu­dio will look to part­ner with estab­lished ani­ma­tion stu­dios for pro­duc­tion of the films.

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