Warner Bros. Animation is moving forward with a Funko animated feature. Although it was founded in 1998, most people probably hadn't even heard of Funko Inc. before the last decade. The company has taken off in popularity since then, thanks to their licensed bobbleheads and collectible action figures of characters that span the pop culture spectrum (Marvel, DC, Stranger Things, Disney Animation, Cowboy Bebop - you name it, the funko either exists already or will soon). As such, as it came as little surprise when rumors about a Funko animated movie started circling this past January.
Though nothing's been confirmed just yet, it's been reported that the Funko movie will include Funko pop versions of characters like Deadpool, Darth Vader, My Little Pony, and Harley Quinn, making the film quite the crossover event. The only previous movie it can really be compared to would be The LEGO Movie series, and even then the franchise has only featured IPs owned by Warner Bros. Pictures. Perhaps unsurprisingly, WB is also the studio behind the Funko animated feature.
Deadline has confirmed the news about a Funko animated film being in the works. The Funko company's CEO Brian Mariotti issued a statement to the outlet, saying "This isn’t about selling toys or building a brand. The team at Warner Animation Group have a unique vision of what the first film should be and we are extremely excited to take this journey alongside them". Warner Animation Group animation director and designer Teddy Newton is working on the film's story, with longtime Disney Animation director Mark Dindal further contributing behind the scenes.
Newton is a seasoned storyboard artist and character designer whose previous writing credits include The Incredibles short film "Jack-Jack Attack" and fellow Pixar Animation short "Day & Night" (which he also directed). Dindal, on the other hand, has been directing feature-length animated movies since the late '90s, having called the shots on WB's animated 1997 musical Cats Don't Dance before he moved to Disney and helmed The Emperor's New Groove, followed by Chicken Little. More recently, Dindal signed on to direct a film adaptation of the Garfield comics for Alcon Entertainment. That project had already been in the works for two years when he came aboard, though, so so there's a good chance he will direct Garfield (assuming it isn't cancelled) before the Funko film, which is still in early development.
It goes without saying, but WB would love for Funko to launch a successful new animated property like The LEGO Movie. The latter franchise seems to have run out of steam by now, after The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part failed to make back double its $99 million budget at the box office this past winter. Nevertheless, the first LEGO Movie was a commercial hit that was praised by critics for the way it used the LEGO IP as the springboard for telling an imaginative and heartfelt story featuring LEGO toys, giving rise to at least one equally well-received spinoff (The LEGO Batman Movie). Of course, it remains to be seen how Warner Animation's "unique vision" for the Funko film stacks up by comparison.
More on the Funko movie as it becomes available.