Warner Animation Group
|Predecessor||Warner Bros. Feature Animation (1994–2004)|
|Founded||January 7, 2013|
|Owner||Warner Bros. Discovery|
The Warner Animation Group (WAG) is an American animation studio. It is the feature animation label of the Warner Bros. Pictures, the film production and distribution division of Warner Bros.. Established on January 7, 2013, 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 Hitpig on September 29, 2023, The Wind in the Willows on February 2, 2024, Coyote vs. Acme on an unspecified date and Toto unspecified date. Films produced by WAG have grossed a total of $1.9 billion at the box office.
History[change | change source]
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.
WAG's second film, Storks, was released September 23, 2016. It received mixed reviews from critics.
On February 10, 2017, Warner Animation Group released The Lego Batman Movie, which received positive reviews from critics and was a box office success. On December 14, 2017, Warner Bros. announced Allison Abbate had been named Executive Vice President, and Chris Leahy has been named Senior Vice President.
The Lego Ninjago Movie, based on the Lego Ninjago toys, was released on September 22, 2017. Upon release, the film was met with mixed reviews from critics and became the first film from the studio and franchise to fail to recoup its budget.
Smallfoot, released September 28, 2018, earned a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with mostly positive reviews from critics and becoming a box office success by grossing over $214 million worldwide.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, a sequel to The Lego Movie, was released February 8, 2019 and earned an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with generally positive reviews from critics but only grossed around $192.3 million worldwide, almost barely recouping its budget and becoming the studio and franchise's second box office disappointment.
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 (which 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 its regular WB logo, which was revamped earlier that year with Locked Down, it is made by Devastudios, with clouds created using Terragen). 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.
Following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. to form Warner Bros. Discovery in April 2022, it was announced in August that Allison Abbate would be leaving the studio.
Upcoming releases[change | change source]
In March 2023, Hitpig directed by Cinzia Angelini and David Feiss and starring of Peter Dinklage, Lilly Singh, RuPaul, Hannah Gadsby, Charlie Adler, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Hart, Zazie Beetz, LeBron James, Anitta and Rainn Wilson was released theatrically on September 29, 2023.
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 set to be released on February 2, 2024. In February 2023, it was taken off schedule, with The Wind in the Willows taking over its original release date.
WAG'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.
Production[change | change source]
Similar to Paramount Animation, Netflix Animation and Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Animation Group outsources their 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), DNEG (Coyote vs. Acme) and Nitrogen Studios (Hitpig and The Wind in the Willows). However, Space Jam: A New Legacy did include in-house animation by WAG, with several animators hired by the studio to work on the film's hand-drawn animated segments.
The budgets for their films tend to range within $60–80 million. Their most expensive films to date, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Scoob! and Space Jam: A New Legacy, cost $99 million, $90 million and $150 million respectively. DC League of Super-Pets cost twice as much as Scoob!.
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".
Filmography[change | change source]
Main article: List of Warner Animation Group productions
|#||Title||Release date||Co-production with||Animation services||Notes||Budget||Gross||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic|
|1||The Lego Movie||February 7, 2014||Village Roadshow Pictures
Lego System A/S
|Animal Logic||$60–65 million||$469 million||96%||83|
|2||Storks||September 23, 2016||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Stoller Global Solutions (uncredited)
|Sony Pictures Imageworks||$70 million||$183.3 million||66%||56|
|3||The Lego Batman Movie||February 10, 2017||DC Entertainment
RatPac-Dune Entertainment Lego System A/S Lord Miller Productions Vertigo Entertainment Lin Pictures
|Animal Logic||$80 million||$312 million||90%||75|
|4||The Lego Ninjago Movie||September 22, 2017||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Lego System A/S Vertigo Entertainment Lord Miller Productions Lin Pictures
|$70 million||$123 million||56%||55|
|5||Smallfoot||September 28, 2018||Zaftig Films||Sony Pictures Imageworks||$80 million||$214 million||76%||60|
|6||The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part||February 8, 2019||Lego System A/S
Vertigo Entertainment Lord Miller Productions Rideback
|Animal Logic||$99 million||$192.3 million||84%||65|
|7||Scoob!||May 15, 2020||—||Reel FX Creative Studios||$90 million||$26.2 million||48%||43|
|8||Tom & Jerry||February 26, 2021||Framestore||$79 million||$136.4 million||31%||32|
|9||Space Jam: A New Legacy||July 16, 2021||Proximity
The SpringHill Company
|Industrial Light & Magic
Luma Pictures Cinesite Company 3 Animation Tonic DNA House of Moves Day For Nite Studio D Virtuos
|$150 million||$162.8 million||26%||36|
|10||DC League of Super-Pets||July 29, 2022||DC Entertainment
Seven Bucks Productions
|Animal Logic||$90 million||$186 million||73%||56|
|#||Title||Release date||Co-production with||Animation services||Current production status||Notes||Ref(s)|
|11||Hitpig||September 29, 2023||Rosebud Enterprise
|12||The Wind in the Willows||February 2, 2024||STX Entertainment
|13||Coyote vs. Acme||TBA||Two Monkeys, A Goat and Another, Dead, Monkey||DNEG||In production|
See also[change | change source]
- List of Warner Animation Group awards and nominations
- List of Warner Bros. theatrical animated feature films
- Warner Bros. Animation
- Turner Feature Animation
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018)
- The Lego Movie (franchise)