|Formerly||Warner Animation Group (2013–2023)|
|Predecessor||Warner Bros. Feature Animation (1994–2004)|
|Founded||January 7, 2013|
|Bill Damaschke (President)|
Chris Leahy (Executive Vice President)
|Owner||Warner Bros. Discovery|
|Parent||Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group|
Warner Bros. Pictures Animation, formerly known as the Warner Animation Group (WAG), is an American animation studio that serves as the feature film label of Warner Bros.' theatrical film production and distribution division, Warner Bros. Pictures. Established on January 7, 2013, by Jeff Robinov, the studio is the successor to the dissolved 2D traditional hand-drawn animation studio Warner Bros. Feature Animation, which shut down in 2004, and is also a sister to the regular Warner Bros. Animation studio.
Its first film, The Lego Movie, was released on February 7, 2014, and its most recent film was DC League of Super-Pets on July 29, 2022; their upcoming slate of films includes Toto in 2024, The Cat in the Hat in 2025, Thing One and Thing Two in 2026, Oh, the Places You'll Go! in 2027, and Coyote vs. Acme on an unspecified release date. Films produced by WBPA have grossed a total of $2 billion at the box office.
On January 7, 2013, Jeff Robinov (then head of the studio's motion picture division) founded a screenplay development department, nicknamed a "think tank" for developing theatrical animated films, known as the Warner Animation Group. The group includes John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, Nicholas Stoller, Jared Stern, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Warner Bros. created the group with the hope that the box office reception of their films will be competitive with other animation studios' releases.
On February 7, 2014, Warner Animation Group released their first film, The Lego Movie, a film animated by Animal Logic, which also provided the animation for both spinoffs. It was met with critical praise and proved to be a box-office success. Due to the movie's success, a media franchise was created, with two spinoffs, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie (both 2017), and a sequel, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019). While The Lego Batman Movie proved to be successful at the box office, The Lego Ninjago Movie and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part were both unable to recoup its budget, with Ninjago being the first film from the Warner Animation Group to be a box-office flop.
WAG's second film, Storks, was released September 23, 2016. It received mixed reviews from critics. On December 14, 2017, Warner Bros. announced Allison Abbate had been named Executive Vice President, and Chris Leahy has been named Senior Vice President.
Smallfoot, released September 28, 2018, received mostly positive reviews from critics and became a box office success. In October 2019, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, which will distribute Locksmith's films.
An animated reboot of the Scooby-Doo film series titled Scoob! was initially set for a theatrical release on May 15, 2020, but then it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 21, 2020, it was announced that it would instead go to video on demand in response to the pandemic. It received mixed reviews from critics.
A live-action/animated film based on Tom & Jerry was released internationally on February 11, 2021, and on February 26 in the United States in theaters and HBO Max simultaneously and also debuted the company's new logo to match with the design of the new shield logo that Warner Bros. debuted back in November 2019, and like the main WB logo, which was debuted that year with Locked Down, it is made by Devastudios, using Terragen for the sky and clouds, along with the studio's blueprints from the Warner Bros. Studio Facilities and the available photography and videography from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood and Google Maps, all in order to reconstruct it in CGI. It received generally negative reviews from critics, and is the first film from the company to have met so.
Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James, was released on July 16, 2021, and was the first film from Warner Animation Group to incorporate traditional animation. It also received generally negative reviews from critics and is the second film from the company to have met so after Tom & Jerry, due to the film being heavy on product placement of the studio's intellectual properties.
An animated film based on the Legion of Super-Pets titled DC League of Super-Pets was released on July 29, 2022. It received generally positive reviews from critics.
A Christmas-themed spin-off prequel titled Scoob! Holiday Haunt, taking place in the gang's youth, with the actors who portrayed their younger selves reprising, was set for release in 2022 on HBO Max, but was cancelled following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. to form Warner Bros. Discovery in April 2022 by CEO David Zaslav on August 2, 2022, citing cost-cutting measures and a refocus on theatrical films rather than creating projects for streaming. Following the merger, it was announced in August that Allison Abbate would be leaving the studio.
On February 9, 2023, it was reported that former DreamWorks Animation chief creative officer Bill Damaschke was in talks to lead the studio. On May 5, 2023, it was confirmed in a Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call by Zaslav that Damaschke had been hired, and was hard at work with Warner Bros. Pictures Group co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy on developing a new slate of films. On June 9, 2023, Damaschke announced the rebranding of the division into Warner Bros. Pictures Animation and stated that they planned to follow the creative lead of Abdy and De Luca.
WBPA's third live-action/animation hybrid, a Wile E. Coyote film titled Coyote vs. Acme, was originally scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on July 21, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. On April 26, 2022, it was taken off the release schedule with Barbie taking over its original release date. The film will be directed by Dave Green and produced by Chris DeFaria and James Gunn.
A musical feature adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's children's book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story Of The Wizard Of Oz began animation production in February 2021. It is being directed by Alex Timbers, from a screenplay by John August, and produced by Derek Frey. It was originally scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on February 2, 2024. On April 5, 2023, it was taken off the release schedule with Wise Guys taking over its original release date.
Warner Bros. Pictures Animation is also collaborating with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to produce films based on a series of children's books of Dr. Seuss properties, including film adaptations of both The Cat in the Hat and Oh, the Places You'll Go!. The firm is also developing a spin-off film of The Cat in the Hat with the focus on Thing One and Thing Two, with collaboration with J. J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot Productions. There are also plans to develop a DC League of Super-Pets franchise following the film's critical and commercial success.
The second Hanna-Barbera based film titled Meet the Flintstones, an origin movie based on The Flintstones is in early development. It will be written by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who both previously directed Illumination's The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Similar to Paramount Animation and Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Pictures Animation outsources their computer-animated films' production to other studios such as Animal Logic (The Lego Movie franchise, DC League of Super-Pets and Toto), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Storks and Smallfoot), Reel FX Creative Studios (Scoob!), Framestore (Tom & Jerry), Industrial Light & Magic (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and DNEG (Coyote vs. Acme). However, Space Jam: A New Legacy did also include hand-drawn animation, which is done in-house and also outsourced from Company 3 Animation, and Tonic DNA.
The budgets for their films tend to range from $60–80 million. Their most expensive films to date are The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part ($99 million), Scoob! ($90 million), and Space Jam: A New Legacy ($150 million), and DC League of Super-Pets ($90 million).
The screenplay department is reportedly somewhat similar to Pixar Animation Studios' "brain trust" in terms of how its members consult with one another and give feedback on each other's projects. The group is nicknamed the "think tank".
Main article: List of Warner Bros. Pictures Animation productions
|#||Title||Release date||Co-production with||Animation services||Notes||Budget||Gross||Ref.|
|1||The Lego Movie||February 7, 2014||Village Roadshow Pictures
Lego System A/S
|Animal Logic||[S]||$60–65 million||$469 million|
|2||Storks||September 23, 2016||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Stoller Global Solutions (uncredited)
|Sony Pictures Imageworks||$70 million||$183.3 million|
|3||The Lego Batman Movie||February 10, 2017||DC Entertainment
Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|Animal Logic||$80 million||$312 million|
|4||The Lego Ninjago Movie||September 22, 2017||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|[S]||$70 million||$123 million|
|5||Smallfoot||September 28, 2018||Zaftig Films||Sony Pictures Imageworks||$80 million||$214 million|
|6||The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part||February 8, 2019||Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|Animal Logic||[S]||$99 million||$199.6 million|
|7||Scoob!||May 15, 2020[nb 1]||—||Reel FX Creative Studios||$90 million||$26.2 million|
|8||Tom & Jerry||February 26, 2021||The Story Company
Turner Entertainment Co.
|Framestore||[S]||$79 million||$136.4 million|
|9||Space Jam: A New Legacy||July 16, 2021||Proximity
The SpringHill Company
|Industrial Light & Magic
Company 3 Animation
House of Moves
Day For Nite
|$150 million||$162.8 million|
|10||DC League of Super-Pets||July 29, 2022||DC Entertainment
Seven Bucks Productions
|Animal Logic||$90 million||$207.4 million|
|11||Toto||2024||Turner Entertainment Co.||Animal Logic||In production|||
|12||The Cat in the Hat||2025||Dr. Seuss Enterprises||—||In development|||
|13||Thing One and Thing Two||2026|||
|14||Oh, the Places You'll Go!||2027||Dr. Seuss Enterprises
Bad Robot Productions
|15||Coyote vs. Acme||TBA ||Two Monkeys, a Goat, and Another, Dead, Monkey||DNEG||In production||[S]|||
|16||Meet the Flintstones||TBA||—||In development|||
|Title||Films||Short films||Release dates|
|The Lego Movie||4||11||2014–present|
|Tom and Jerry||1||2021–present|
|Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies||2021–present|
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