Warner Bros. has had a rough go of it the last couple of years, as they continue to try and set up franchises that don't go anywhere. They are currently in the midst of launching their DC Comics Extended Universe, which faltered with a less than stellar box office reception for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While The Lego Movie saga and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are quite important to the studio, Warner Bros. is now banking on one of their most iconic animated properties to set up a whole new world of interconnected movies. Yes, they are using their impending Scooby-Doo animated feature to launch the Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe.
This news was revealed at CinemaCon 2016. It was in Las Vegas that Warner Bros. announced the new title of the Scooby-Doo movie is S.C.O.O.B.. Though, we're not sure yet what that stands for, if anything. The movie is part of Warner Bros.' aggressive plea to get audiences in seats, and rests as a central piece of WAG, which stands for Warner Animation Group. Thus far, the only movie to emerge out of WAG has been the highly successful 2014 release The Lego Movie.
WAG has a massive think tank of talent that is helping to come up with and pursue new animated feature films. Included in this group are The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Neighbors director Nicholas Stoller, Focus duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, along with a number of unnamed individuals. The next movie coming from WAG is Storks, which arrives this September and features such voice talent as Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele. It revolves around Storks and Babies. This will be followed up next year by the second movie in the LEGO Cinematic Universe, The LEGO Batman Movie, which hits February 2017.
Also on their upcoming slate is a Bigfoot movie called Smallfoot, which puts a twist on the Yeti legends, and features a Sasquatch who believes that humans are real. There will also be the direct follow-up The Lego Movie Sequel, as well as the Lego spinoff Ninjago, which is getting its own franchise within the world of the LCU. But perhaps most intriguing of all these movies is S.C.O.O.B.
S.C.O.O.B. brings Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Inc. Gang back to the big screen after the very successful live-action movies in the mid-2000s. S.C.O.O.B. will arrive in theaters sometime in 2018, under the direction of Tony Cervone, who also helmed the recent DTV animated features Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery, The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown and Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale. In the announcement video, S.C.O.O.B. was described as such.
"Our first shot at unlocking the whole Hanna-Barbera Universe."
This indicates that S.C.O.O.B. will lead into the Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe, but it wasn't revealed if we can expect cameos from Dyno-Mutt and The Blue Falcon or Hong Kong Phooey. Warner Bros.' plan is to create a bunch of animated movies that link to the popular cartoons of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who made their mark on Saturday Morning as well as being the first to bring animated series into primetime with The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
There is no telling which Hanna-Barbera cartoons we can expect to see on the big screen over the next few years, as they have quite a large stable of characters to choose from. The Flintstones has gotten both the live-action and animated big screen treatment in the past. As has Yogi Bear. A Hong Kong Phooey live-action movie was planned at one time, which would have starred Eddie Murphy as the voice of the title character. Recently, Warner subsidiary DC Comics has rebooted a bunch of these titles with all-new looks for Fred Flintstone and his family, The Wacky Races and even Jonny Quest, which is supposed to be getting the live action treatment from director Robert Rodriguez sometime in the near future.