Australian visual-effects studio Animal Logic, which handled “The Lego Movie,” has signed a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. and will open a second animation studio in Vancouver.
The new facility, dubbed Animal Logic Vancouver, will initially be launched as an exclusive partnership to produce three animated movies — starting with “The Lego Movie Sequel.” The Canadian studio will begin operations in September at 45,000 square foot facility in the Yaletown area and is expected to create 300 new jobs with launch of production on the sequel in January.
Animal Logic is already working on a pair of Warner Bros. animated films — Lego spinoff “Ninjago” (set for Sept. 22, 2017) and “Lego Batman” (set for Feb. 10, 2017) — at its headquarters in Sydney. It did not disclose which titles it will be producing in Vancouver after “The Lego Movie Sequel,” which is set for release on May 18, 2018.
The alliance extends the partnership between Sydney-based Animal Logic and Burbank-based Warner Bros., which has covered 2006’s “Happy Feet” and includes “Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”
“For the past 15 years, we have had a truly collaborative and highly successful rleationship with our friends at Warner Bros. and we are excited to be taking our collaboration to the next level on a terrific slate of films in Vancouver,” said Zareh Nalbandian, founder and CEO of Animal Logic.
Nalbandian told Variety that talks about the new partnership began six months ago. “It was kind of a no-brainer, given the success that we had with ‘The Lego Movie.'”
“The Lego Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and produced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee, grossed over $460 million with a $60 million budget last year.
The exec also said that the Canadian operations will be seeded with Animal Logic veterans but added that the work force is expected to consist mostly of local hires. “It will mirror what we are already doing in Australia,” he added.
Nalbandian stressed that Animal Logic remains committed to maintaining its Australian operations, where it employs about 500. It’s also worked on VFX for Lionsgate’s “Insurgent,” Marvel-Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and Chen Kaige’s “Monk Comes Down the Mountain.”
Chris deFaria, president of animation, digital and visual effects for Warner Bros., said, “Animal Logic has helped bring some of our most popular animated titles to life and we’ve excited to be working even closre with them via this new venture. Their expertise and excellence are recognized industry-wide and we know they’ll continue to bring their magic to our films.”