Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sequel Mania

But Warner Bros. was an animated feature also-ran for so long, you can hardly blame them.

... Warner Bros has slotted the animated 3D action pic Ninjago for September 23, 2016. Building off the Lego Group’s popular ninja-inspired minifigures, Ninjago will mark the directorial debut of Tron: Uprising’s Charlie Bean. ...

In March, Warner Bros set Chris McKay to direct its sequel to The Lego Movie, so the Ninjago pic would be more precisely called a spinoff. And why not: the first film that opened in February and has turned in a worldwide gross of $452.4 million. McKay was animation co-director on the first film that was made under the direction of Lord and Miller. They are producing both pics, with Michelle Morgan & Jared Stern writing a treatment for Lego Movie 2. ...

Warners is using a slightly modified Chris Meledandri model for making animated features: The studio is doing the pre-production in Burbank (on the studio's main lot, apart from its Warner Bros Animation operation that's two miles away) with boarding, design, writing and other pre-production performed under a Disney Feature style contract. Production work is performed in Sydney by Animal Logic.

With the success of Lego Movie Uno, Warners is back in the feature animation derby in a major way. The 1990s turned out to be the company's lost decade as far as theatrical animated features went. Space Jam was a medium-sized hit, but Quest for Camelot and Brad Bird's excellent Iron Giant went nowhere.

It's been hit or miss since, but now WB has plunged into serious development of new animated properties. The announcement today is an indicator that the House of Bugs and Daffy is in the theatrical animation biz for the longer haul.


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