Warner Bros. Pictures and Animal Logic have taken the logical step after the financial and Oscar-winning success of HAPPY FEET to extend their partnership. The two companies will jointly develop and co-produce a slate of animated features, with three projects, to be announced in the coming months, already earmarked for development. Warner Bros. Pictures will have worldwide distribution rights for all films produced through the deal.
It's uncertain whether a HAPPY FEET sequel would be part of this package, since director George Miller is first eying a few other projects.
The deal marks a significant expansion into animation for the Sydney, Australia-based vfx house after its initial outing with HAPPY FEET.
"HAPPY FEET was such an incredible achievement that expanding our development and production partnership with Animal Logic felt like a natural next step," said Jeff Robinov, president, production, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We're thrilled to be in business with such a respected and innovative animation and digital production studio and look forward to many more successful joint projects."
Throughout production on HAPPY FEET, which was the first 3D-animated feature ever produced in Australia, Animal Logic grew from a primarily visual effects company to a fully operational animation studio, at the same time growing its core crew of approximately 150 to more than 500 at the peak of production. Not surprisingly, this talent and production pipeline created for HAPPY FEET (which was XSI-based) will be used for future projects with Warner Bros. Pictures.
Meanwhile, Animal Logic has named Jackie O'Sullivan as head of development/exec producer to oversee development of all Animal Logic projects into production.
O'Sullivan has worked in the film and television industry in England and Australia as a film exec/producer in development and production for the last 15 years, including head of business affairs for the UK Film Council and gm/exec producer for Columbia Tristar Prods., starting off as a film lawyer in London in 1992. Her film credits include THE PROPOSITION and THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING. Her television credits include NEVER TELL ME NEVER, WITCH HUNT and SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR'S BABIES.
"While we have long relied on Animal Logic for their fantastic visual effects work on many of our films, we were their partners as they took their company to a new level with HAPPY FEET," said Chris deFaria, evp, digital production, Warner Bros. Pictures. "Animal Logic is a creative and innovative animation house, and we couldn't be happier to continue collaborating with them on these projects."
"We're thrilled to continue and expand our relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures," added Animal Logic ceo Zareh Nalbandian. "The wide slate of project opportunities assures Animal Logic's ability to continue to produce engaging and innovative digital features. It supports our technical and creative point of difference."
Previous Warner Bros. Pictures films on which Animal Logic provided visual effects include 300, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, THE MATRIX and THE MATRIX RELOADED.
With offices in Australia and Los Angeles, Animal Logic is represented in the U.S. by CAA.