Warners nears deal for peacock pitch

Studio eyes return to animation after 2006's 'Happy Feet'

Warner Bros. is strutting back into animation.

The studio is in final negotiations to acquire a pitch centering on a peacock from writers Austin Winsberg and Heath Corson.

Trevor Engleson and Nicholas Osborne will produce via their Underground Management banner; Elishia Holmes will oversee for the studio. The logline is being kept under wraps.

The move marks a bolstering of animation efforts for Warners., which was once very active in the sector but had since scaled back its theatrical efforts. It did, with director George Miller, develop and produce 2006's "Happy Feet," the music-themed penguin pic that earned nearly $380 million worldwide and won the animation Oscar. The studio is developing a sequel.

Warners, which controls vaunted properties like "Superman" and "Scooby-Doo," does produce a slew of animation content for television and home video.

Winsberg, repped by UTA and Underground, is a veteran TV writer who has worked on shows such as "Jakes in Progress" and "Still Standing." Corson is repped by APA and Archetype.

The peacock project is the latest sign that studios are ramping up animation efforts as the category continues to be a bastion of reliability for the major studios in a time of boxoffice uncertainty. Sony has a huge breakout this fall with "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," while Fox continues to evolve "Ice Age" into one of its signature franchises.
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