Nowadays, If you are asked to name the leading names in film animation today, you’d probably name Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and maybe Illimination. But back not so long ago, the big two names in film animation were Disney and Warner Brothers. Warners is looking to make its way back into the conversation.
Variety reports that Warners Animation Group have signed Tim Story and Chris Columbus to develop films featuring Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo to the big screen. This is part of an initiative to give their animated characters as much attention as they do their DC and Harry Potter franchises.
First up will be Tom and Jerry, a live-action/animated hybrid that will be directed by Tim Story. Story was first approached by the Warners after he wrapped the Shaft sequelboot for the the studio. It is expected to start shooting in 2019 and the titular pair with be animated yet appear in a real world setting. The character will not speak in the film, a throwback to their cartoon roots, so no voice actors will be cast.
Story is known for making sizable hits (Barbershop, Ride Along 1 & 2 and Thinking Like a Man) but also some of the worst reviewed films of the last 20 years (Taxi, Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer). Tom and Jerry isn’t Hamlet, so Story should be fine, but there are better talent out there for the characters.
The film will join other live-action/animation hybrids Space Jam and Wile E. Coyote vs. ACME on Warners’ schedule.
Chris Columbus will be brought on as a “creative producer” on the animated Scooby-Doo feature. He will be working side by side with Family Guy director Tony Cervone on the the feature, which is expected sometime in 2020. Warners plans to make a shared universe with films based their Hanna-Barbera characters. In addition to Scooby-Doo, they also have films based on The Jetsons, The Flintstones and Wacky Races. No word on whether Columbus, who was tapped for the job after working with Warners on the Gremlins sequelboot, will be filling the same role on those projects.