As announced by The Hollywood Reporter today, January 7, 2013, Warner Bros. has decided to make a move on the lucrative animated film market. In terms of animation, the studio is really only known for the “Looney Tunes” franchise, but today it was announced that the studio has brought together a group of extremely talented filmmakers to produce more “high-end animated motion pictures.”
The talented group of writers and directors brought in by the studio includes Phil Lord & Chris Miller (“Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street”), John Requa & Glenn Ficarra (“Bad Santa, Crazy, Stupid, Love”), Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “The Muppets”), and Jared Stern (“Bolt,” “The Princess and the Frog”). By bringing on all this talent, Warner Bros. hopes to be able to release one major animated film a year, in an effort to compete with Pixar.
Apparently, the filmmaker’s collaborative process has actually already begun, and the studio is currently working on the impressively cast “Lego” movie, which features Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett and hits theaters next year.
Following the “Lego” movie, Warner Bros. has the little-publicized film, “Storks” in the works for 2015, which is based on a script by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” scribe, Nicholas Stoller and is set to be directed by Doug Sweetland (who was the directing animator for “Monsters, Inc.” Additionally, in 2016 Warner Bros. is working on Requa and Ficarra's “Smallfoot,” which will be directed by the brilliant writer/producer of “Despicable Me,” Sergio Pablos.
Warner Bros. is making a great decision by entering the animated film game – the market has become extremely lucrative in recent years, though each existing animated studio has had its fair share of hits and misses. The animated market also has an advantage that no other market has – the target audience members can’t attend the films alone – due to the young age of the target audience of these animated features, an additional family member needs to accompany them, which means double the sales for the studios.
Furthermore, Warner Bros. has gone about this transition in the best possible way, they’ve slowly but surely attracted a formidable team of filmmakers to work on impressive projects with extremely talented voice actors – Warner Bros. will likely become one of the top competitors in the animated film market in the years to come.