Warner Bros. Dates Animated Films for 2018 and 2019

Warner Bros. Amps Up Animation with

With “The Lego Movie” established as a major franchise starter, Warner Bros. is tooning up its animation schedule by announcing release dates for two untitled movies for the Memorial Day holiday on May 25, 2018, and on May 24, 2019.

The studio did not disclose any details about the new titles. It already had “Lego” spinoff “Ninjago” set for Sept. 23, 2016, followed by a “Lego” sequel for May 26, 2017, so it’s possible — but not definite — that the two additonal films could be “Lego” related.

The announcement came just a few hours after Warner Bros. disclosed nine dates for superhero films from DC Entertainment, starting with “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” on March 25, 2016.

The studio, which has been looking to catch up to competitors in the animated game, now has half a dozen animated films in the pipeline.

Warner Bros. announced early last year that it had formed an animated think-tank-style creative consortium aimed at delivering one “high-end” pic per year. At that point, it said the first film would be “The Lego Movie,” which went on to over-perform with $457 million worldwide.

The “Lego” sequel was announced earlier this year.

Two untitled animated films — both in 3D — were dated a few months ago for Feb. 10, 2017 and on Feb. 9, 2018. Warner Bros. has not disclosed further details, but it’s likely those two are “Storks,” conceived of and being written by Nicholas Stoller and directed by Doug Sweetland, who helmed Pixar short “Presto”; and “Smallfoot,” written by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, from an original idea by Sergio Pablos (“Despicable Me”), who is also set to direct.

The Warner consortium includes “Lego” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller along with Jared Stern, who’s writing the sequel, and Requa, Ficcara and Stoller.

Despite being home to the Looney Tunes characters, Warner Bros. has been relatively light on animated fare when compared with rivals.

“Looney Tunes: Back in Action” flopped in 2003, while its best animated performer was 2006′s “Happy Feet” with $384 million in worldwide grosses. 2010′s “Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” and the “Happy Feet” sequel turned in middling results with $140 million and $150 million respectively in worldwide grosses.

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