Under the new agreement, the two companies will co-develop and produce feature-length animated family films to be distributed under the Warner Animation Group/Warner Bros. Pictures umbrella.
Locksmith’s first feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong, is currently in production in London and will be released by Walt Disney Studios next year. The project landed at Disney through its Fox acquisition and was developed as part of an earlier deal between Locksmith and 20th Century Fox.
Locksmith Animation is led by BAFTA Award-winning director, writer, and producer Sarah Smith (Arthur Christmas) and producer Julie Lockhart (the Academy Award-nominated Shaun the Sheep Movie), who serve as co-CEOs. The duo co-founded the company in 2014 alongside Elisabeth Murdoch, who serves as chairman.
“We’re absolutely delighted to become part of the Warner Bros. family with this partnership,” Smith and Lockhart say. “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.”
Smith and Lockhart will collaborate with Allison Abbate, executive vice president of Warner Animation Group, who will “add a fresh voice to complement the studio’s current animation activities.”
“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,” says Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and Courtenay Valenti, president of production and development at 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.”
The current animated lineup from Warner Animation Group/Warner Bros. Pictures includes next year’s Scooby-Doo reboot, Scoob!, along with Tom & Jerry, and Space Jam 2 slated for 2021.