Netflix's animation department is set to undergo significant changes that will include job cuts and the cancellation of two pre-production films, according to a company spokesperson. This restructuring effort forms part of a strategic shift by the streaming giant, which plans to source more animated content from external producers rather than creating new content internally.
The two films earmarked for cancellation in the shake-up are Escape from Beverly Hills and Tunga. The former, still kept under wraps until now, will be put back on the open market, while Tunga, a film inspired by Zimbabwean spiritual culture and mythology, is being returned to the development stage. This sudden set of events transpire after Karen Toliver, Netflix's vice president of animation, decided to alter the group's long-term strategy.
Netflix's decision to eliminate available jobs in its animation unit signals a notable shift in its industry approach. However, specifics about how many employees will be affected and which particular companies will be the preferred outsourcing partners are currently unclear. The only certainty is that the distribution unit is vetting offers to outsource work to third-party producers.
This strategic repositioning by Netflix isn't happening in isolation; the wider animation industry seems to be on a similar trajectory. Recently, DreamWorks Animation also unveiled plans to shed nearly 70 jobs in its animation department while increasing its reliance on outsourced production.
Still, despite these changes, Netflix Animation has been performing remarkably well. The division recently enjoyed its biggest triumph in 2023 with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which scooped the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Besides, more potentially successful releases are in the pipeline. Adam Sandler’s Floridian Lizard-themed story, Leo, will debut on the platform on November 17. Additionally, the highly anticipated sequel to Chicken Run, named Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, is set to hit theatres on October 14, before arriving on Netflix on December 15.
Even as speculation about the changes in the animation unit swirl, Netflix continues to offer a slew of exciting content. For instance, those who are eagerly waiting for the Chicken Run sequel can bide their time by watching some of the best children's films currently available on the streaming service. Stay tuned for more updates on Netflix drama and a list of must-watch movies and shows this October.
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