Warner Bros. Animation is the animation division of Warner Bros. Television. The studio is closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters, among others. The studio is the successor to Warner Bros. Cartoons, the studio which produced Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon shorts from 1933 to 1963, and from 1967 to 1969. Warner reestablished its animation division in 1980 to produce Looney Tunes–related works.
In recent years, Warner Bros. Animation has focused primarily on producing television and direct-to-video animation featuring characters created by other properties owned by Warner Bros., including DC Comics, MGM Cartoons (through Turner Entertainment Co.) and Hanna-Barbera Productions.
The original Warner Bros. Cartoons studio, as well as all of Warner Bros.’ short subject production divisions, closed in 1969 due to the rising costs and declining returns of short subject production. Outside animation companies were hired to produce new Looney Tunes-related animation for TV specials and commercials at irregular intervals. In 1976, Warner Bros. Cartoon alumnus Chuck Jones began producing a series of Looney Tunes specials at his Chuck Jones Productions animation studio, the first of which was Carnival of the Animals. These specials, and a 1975 Looney Tunes retrospective feature film titled Bugs Bunny: Superstar (distributed by United Artists, the previous owner of the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library), led Jones to produce The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie for Warner Bros. in 1979. This film blended classic Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts with newly produced wraparounds of Bugs Bunny introducing each cartoon. Warner Bros. responded to the success of this film by reestablishing its own cartoon studio.