Warner Animation Group
The Warner Animation Group (WAG) is an American animation studio that is the feature animation division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. 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 2003 and the dissolved family film division Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, which shut down in 2009. The entity is also a sister animation studio of the regular animation studio Warner Bros. Animation. Its first film The Lego Movie was released on February 7, 2014 and its latest release was Scoob! on May 15, 2020; with their next release being Tom and Jerry on March 5, 2021. Films produced by WAG have grossed a total of $1.4 billion at the box office.
History[edit | edit 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 positive reviews and proved to be a box office success.
On January 7, 2013, Warner Animation Group announced their second film Storks, which was originally scheduled for a 2015 release but was pushed to February 10, 2017 and later to September 23, 2016. On the same day, they announced their third film Smallfoot, based on the book Yeti Tracks by Sergio Pablos, was originally going to have a 2016 release as it was first announced on January 7, 2013. Then it was scheduled for release on February 9, 2018 but was later moved to September 14, 2018 and then September 28, 2018.
On February 7, 2014, the same day The Lego Movie was released, it was reported that Jared Stern and Michelle Morgan were hired to write The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. The sequel was announced to be released on May 26, 2017, but later that year it was reported that a spin-off film featuring Batman from The Lego Movie might take the sequel's release date thus pushing the sequel to May 18, 2018. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returned to script and co-direct the sequel. Rob Schrab was set to direct the film, but was later replaced by Mike Mitchell due to "creative differences". On June 2016, the release date was again pushed to February 8, 2019.
In the summer of 2015, Warner Bros. participated in a bidding war against Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation for the rights to produce The Emoji Movie, based on a script by Tony Leondis and Eric Siegel. Sony won the bidding war in July and released the film in 2017.
Storks was animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks. Upon release, it was met with 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, 2014 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 theme of Lego 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 to fail to recoup its budget.
Upon its September 28, 2018 release, Smallfoot received a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with mostly positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $214 million worldwide.
Upon its February 8, 2019 release, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, a sequel of The Lego Movie, received a 86% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with mostly positive reviews from critics but only grossed over $190.6 million worldwide, almost barely recouping its budget and becoming the studio's second film to fail to recoup its budget.
In October 2019, UK-Based Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with Warner Bros., who will distribute Locksmith's films under the WAG label, with Locksmith aiming to release a film every 12-18 months, although their first film Ron's Gone Wrong will be released on February 26, 2021 by 20th Century Fox, though its animation division will not co-produce that film, after Disney completed its purchase of Fox's parent 21st Century Fox, intending to include Fox films into its streaming service Disney+.
Upcoming projects[edit | edit source]
In March 2016, Warner Animation Group announced plans for a shared universe of animated films based on various Hanna-Barbera characters starting with a reboot of the Scooby-Doo film series titled Scoob!, originally scheduled for September 21, 2018 in the United States. In May 2017, Warner Bros. announced that the film would be directed by Tony Cervone and Dax Shepard, and would be released on May 15, 2020. Another Hanna-Barbera film in development will be based on The Jetsons, with Conrad Vernon set to direct and Matt Lieberman writing the screenplay. Others like The Flintstones and Wacky Races movies are also in development.
In October 2018, it was announced that a live action/animated hybrid film based on Tom & Jerry is in development and that it would begin production in 2019. With a release date set for December 23, 2020.
Process[edit | edit source]
Similar to other animation studios such as Sony Pictures Animation and Paramount Animation, the studio outsources their animated films to different animation and visual effects studios. This would include Animal Logic (The Lego Movie franchise), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Storks and Smallfoot) and Reel FX Creative Studios (Scoob! and DC Super Pets).
The studio is also planning to push for more original films like Smallfoot and Scooby-Doo, as well as more that feature both animation and live-action with Space Jam 2 and Tom and Jerry starting out this tactic.
The budget for their films tend to range within $60–80 million. Their most expensive film to date, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, cost $99 million to make.
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[edit | edit source]
- See also: List of Warner Animation Group films
Feature films[edit | edit source]
Released films[edit | edit source]
|#||Title||Release date||Co-production with||Animation services||Budget||Gross||RT||MC|
|1||The Lego Movie[S]||February 7, 2014||Village Roadshow Pictures
Lego System A/S
|Animal Logic||$60 million||$469 million||95%||83|
|2||The Amazing Adventure of Elise and Brett||December 23, 2015||Maloing Entertainment
|Sony Pictures Imageworks||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|3||Storks||September 23, 2016||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Stoller Global Solutions (uncredited)
|$70 million||$190.6 million||65%||56|
|4||The Lego Batman Movie||February 10, 2017||DC Entertainment
Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|Animal Logic||$80 million||$312 million||90%||75|
|5||The Lego Ninjago Movie[S]||September 22, 2017||RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|$70 million||$123 million||56%||55|
|6||Smallfoot||September 28, 2018||Zaftig Films||Sony Pictures Imageworks||$80 million||$214 million||76%||60|
|7||The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part[S]||February 8, 2019||Lego System A/S
Lord Miller Productions
|Animal Logic||$99 million||$191.3 million||85%||65|
|8||Scoob!||May 15, 2020[nb 1]||N/A||Reel FX Creative Studios||$90 million||$24.1 million||48%||43|
- Released on Premium VOD in the United States and Canada in lieu of a planned theatrical release on this date, and later released in theaters in select countries with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions beginning July 8, 2020.
Upcoming films[edit | edit source]
|#||Title||Release date||Co-production with||Animation services||Current Production Status|
|9||Tom and Jerry[S]||March 5, 2020||Turner Entertainment
The Story Company
|10||Space Jam: A New Legacy[S]||July 16, 2021||SpringHill Entertainment||Industrial Light & Magic|
|11||DC Super Pets||May 20, 2022||DC Entertainment||Animal Logic||Pre-production|
- SCombines live-action with animation.
Short films[edit | edit source]
|#||Title||Release date||Type of short|
|1||Enter the Ninjago||June 17, 2014||Direct-to-video short|
|2||The Lego Movie: 4D - A New Adventure||January 29, 2016||4D attraction|
|3||The Master||September 23, 2016||Theatrical short|
|4||Pigeon Toady's Guide to Your New Baby||December 6, 2016||Direct-to-video short|
|5||Dark Hoser||June 13, 2017|
|6||Batman is Just Not That Into You|
|7||Cooking with Alfred|
|8||Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?|
|9||Shark E. Shark in "Which Way to the Ocean?"||December 19, 2017|
|10||Zane's Stand Up Promo|
|11||Turkish Airlines: Safety Video with The LEGO Movie Characters||August 1, 2018||Internet short|
|12||Emmet's Holiday Party||December 10, 2018|
|13||Super Soozie||December 11, 2018||Direct-to-video short|
|14||"Everything is Awesome" Dance Together Music Video||January 8, 2019||Internet short|
Franchises[edit | edit source]
|Tom and Jerry||2006–present|
Accolades[edit | edit source]
- Main article: List of WAG awards and nominations