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Warner Bros. Pictures has signed a multi-film pact with Locksmith Animation, the British studio co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, to co-develop and distribute its slate of pictures. The deal covers the development and production of family-oriented features for worldwide theatrical distribution by Warner.

Locksmith said it will collaborate closely with Allison Abbate, EVP, Warner Animation Group to add a fresh voice to complement the Studio’s current animation activities. The London-based animation outfit previously had a deal with Disney.

“In recent years, animation has become a tremendously important part of our slate, and this deal with Locksmith dovetails perfectly with our forward-going plans,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and Courtenay Valenti, president production and development, Warner Bros. Pictures. “We love Sarah and Julie’s sensibilities and work, and look forward to working with them to create titles that will enchant today’s audiences and become classics for future generations of animation lovers.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to become part of the Warner Bros. family with this partnership,” said Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart, co-CEOs of Locksmith. “The studio has not only a revered legacy in animation, but an outstanding record in bringing contemporary family classics to global audiences. We look forward to working with its visionary leadership team to bring our unique voice and brand to worldwide audiences.”

Locksmith’s first feature, “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” is currently in production in London and will be released by Walt Disney Studios. Locksmith Animation was founded in 2014 by Smith (“Arthur Christmas”) and producer Julie Lockhart (“Shaun the Sheep Movie”) together with Elisabeth Murdoch.

Warner Animation Group/Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming animated titles include “SCOOB” in May 2020, “Tom & Jerry” in April 2021 and “Space Jam 2” in July 2021.