Every other major studio in Hollywood has established an animation strategy in the past few years, with some such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios making the movies in-house and others like Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures relying on outside companies with which it makes deals.
While animated franchises like "Toy Story," "Ice Age" and "Despicable Me" have been among the industry's most profitable, Warner's approach has been more cautious. Its last two animated films, 2011's "Happy Feet Two" and 2010's "Legend of the Guardians," were both box-office flops. Prior to that, the studio hadn't released an animated movie since 2007's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
The studio announced it already has movies in development. "Storks," written by "Muppets" director Nicholas Stoller and directed by Pixar veteran Doug Sweetland, is a planned 2015 release. "Smallfoot," written by "Crazy Stupid Love" screenwriters John Requa and Glenn Ficarra and directed by Sergio Pablos, a producer on "Despicable Me," is planned for 2016.
Warner film group President Jeff Robinov said those filmmakers, along with "Mr. Popper's Penguins" writer Jared Stern, would be part of an animation "think tank" for the studio.
The studio appears to be developing new properties with its latest attempt rather than building on that legacy. It will work with outside companies to handle production work on its animated films.