Warner Bros. is keen on ramping up its animated features division. The studio is forming a creative consortium “that’s aimed at delivering one ‘high-end’ film per year.” Said consortium includes John Requa and Glen Ficarra (Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cats & Dogs), Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street), and Jared Stern (Mr. Popper’s Penguins). Apparently the filmmakers will work both individually and collectively in order to generate animated fare, but they’ll also continue to write and direct live-action films. Hit the jump for the details on what kinds of films are in development.
Doug Sweetland, who directed the wonderful Looney Tunes-style Pixar short Presto, has been tapped to helm Sony Pictures Animation’s The Familiars. Per Heat Vision, “The story centers on three young wizard apprentices who, after being whisked away by an evil queen, must rely on their animal companions, or familiars — an alley cat, a blue jay and a tree frog — to escape.” Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson will write the screenplay based on their recently-released children’s book. Sam Raimi and Josh Donen are executive producing.
Sweetland worked at Pixar for 16 years and earned Annie awards for his work on Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and Toy Story 2. He earned an Annie nomination and an Oscar nomination for Presto.