Warner Brothers Animation changes hands

Warner Brothers animation, the creator’s of such films as “The Iron Giant” and television shows including “Animaniacs”, and the acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series”, will be changing leadership next week when Jean McCurdy, the current president, will step down to become the division’s creative consultant.

McCurdy, who has been with the studio on and off since 1979, has been instrumental in bringing Warner animation to the forefront of television animation, garnering several Emmy nominations for Warner, and helping to launch the Kids’WB! network. She will be succeeded by Sander Schwartz, former president of Sony Pictures Family Entertainment Group, on April 16th. Schwartz’s new responsibilities, in addition to overseeing production of Warner animation, will involve working with production president Lorenzo di Bonaventura to promote production of animated films featuring “new characters as well as WB’s classic Looney Tunes, DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera characters”.

Warner Animation holds the rights to many highly requested properties, including Classic Warner cartoons, the unedited version of the recent direct-to-video film “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker”, and the often rumored special edition of 1999’s “The Iron Giant”.

What does this mean for future DVDs from Warner Animation? No one can say for sure. Schwartz and MacCurdy both have a fairly good history with home video, but how Schwartz will decide to handle release of Warner animation remains to be seen. Hopefully, this will mean increased DVD output from Warner Animation on their classic and newer animated programming.

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