Some notes on the timeline:
- Our record is not exhaustive, but we’re self-confident we managed to address the critical stories required to paint a much larger photograph of what’s going on with animation at WBD.
- The change in the tone of tales coming out of WBD considering that the company’s Q2 earnings contact is striking. In the months and months major up to that call, HBO Max, Cartoon Community, and Adult Swim had been earning standard announcements of new sequence and film commissions. Next the simply call, most Warner stories dealt with cuts, removals, layoffs, cancellations, and the marketing of belongings.
- There have been a great deal of clues that things weren’t all appropriate at Warner’s animation firms right before that contact, even so. Executives had been remaining shifted and changed and the language becoming utilised to discuss about animation, significantly among the Cartoon Community executives, was about.
- In isolation, just about every tale about a cancelled job, a eradicated series, or a spherical of layoffs was painful to compose. Observed laid out like this, it feels pretty much tragic. So many finished, almost completed, and promising jobs are now locked away, and lots of artists and executives have shed their jobs. Here’s hoping that when WBD is again on more robust footing, some of the fantastic perform performed by these artists will uncover its way back into the mild of working day.
THE 2022 TIMELINE
April 8: Discovery completes its acquisition of Warner Bros. from AT&T.
May possibly 6: HBO Max, Cartoon Network announce animated function Driftwood and sequence Invincible Battle Female.
Might 11: Announcement that Warner head of little ones/YA Tom Ascheim is leaving the business.
May well 11: Cartoon Network unveils 3 new original reside-action productions. Simply because that labored so properly the initial time they attempted it.
Could 18: Adult Swim greenlights Rick and Morty: The Anime and Ninja Kamui.
May possibly 18: HBO Max and Cartoon Network announce Chelm: The Smartest Put on Earth, an animated undertaking from Mike Decide, Greg Daniels, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Could 23: The Scooby-Doo universe grows as HBO Max and Cartoon Community unveil Scooby-Doo! And the Thriller Pups, the franchise’s first exhibit for preschoolers.
June 1: Warner Bros. Motion Photograph Group chairman Toby Emmerich techniques down.
June 7: Warner Bros. head of youngsters and spouse and children programming – including Cartoon Network – Amy Friedman promises “girls usually graduate out of animation” as an rationalization for the company’s 2nd consider at live-action programming.
June 15: HBO Max announces Batman Azteca, a Mexico-set, Aztec-era Batman characteristic commissioned by HBO Max Latin The us, and sci-fi survival collection Scavengers Reign from Joe Bennett and Charles Huettner.
August 2: 95% entire Scoob! sequel is cancelled, alongside with the are living-action Batgirl film, casting an ominous shadow around Warner’s impending Q2 earnings simply call.
August 4: This is the place factors truly choose a transform. WBD hosts an earnings simply call in which CEO David Zaslav outlines his designs for the company’s foreseeable future. From this place on, news coming out of Warner is mainly about cuts, cancellations, layoffs, and consolidation as Zaslav and his crew put into practice their most serious value-reducing actions but.
August 15: Allison Abbate actions down as head of Warner Animation Group.
August 18: Devoid of warning, dozens of shows are taken off from HBO Max.
August 22: Driftwood, an initial animated characteristic announced only a few months prior, is cancelled.
August 22: Warner announces a 50 %-dozen upcoming HBO Max originals are no lengthier moving ahead at the streamer. It was later confirmed that most of the productions are becoming shopped to other networks and platforms.
August 20: Infinity Teach creator Owen Dennis is a person of the very first showrunners of a sequence dropped by HBO Max to converse about the removals, submitting a candid open up letter on his Substack.
September 1: Diego Molano, creator Victor and Valentino, a single of the reveals taken off from Max, discusses his emotions about the HBO Max removals with Cartoon Brew.
September 17: Warner lays off staff members working on Looney Tunes aspect Bye Bye Bunny but confirms to Cartoon Brew the film is nonetheless going forward and is getting reworked as a “full-fledged musical.”
September 24: A number of lawful corporations file lawsuits on behalf of Warner Bros. Discovery investors saying the enterprise misled them in the lead-up to the merger.
September 28: Responding to rigorous community speculation that the business may be searching at a new improve in ownership as quickly as it’s lawfully possible, CEO David Zaslav insists to staff that “We are not for sale, definitely, not for sale.”
October 11: That delivers us to this notorious working day, when a memo sent out by WBD chairman Channing Dungey declared that progress and manufacturing administration at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Community Studios would be merged, essentially switching functions at CNS.
Opened in the mid-1990s as a division of Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network Studios had operated with at minimum some degree of autonomy for virtually a few decades. That studio, at the very least in the sort as we’ve recognised it for its entire existence, is no extra. Its agenda will be pushed by the finances-concious executives of WBD whose primary worry is getting rid of billions in financial debt.
Musing on the information of the consolidation, Brian Miller, former normal supervisor of Cartoon Network Studios and a critical figurehead at the company for 21 several years, described why CNS is now a fundamentally distinct studio in a three-word tweet: “Culture is every little thing.”
With Warner bosses now steering the CNS ship and the studio sharing development and output sources with WBA, it will be difficult for the tradition fostered at CNS over approximately 30 a long time of semi-independence to continue to be unchanged. How that alter will manifest is anyone’s guess.
Oct 31: WBD introduced that James Gunn and Peter Safran will co-head DC Studios, which include animation. What that implies for DC animation is not fully apparent still, but it would seem to suggest that the new execs will participate in a purpose in the output from Warner Bros. Animation, which produces DC collection (Harley Quinn, Teen Titans Go!, Batwheels) and direct-to-video clip movies, as perfectly as the function-side Warner Animation Group (DC League of Tremendous-Pets).