This week's Netflix announcements haven't all been reasons to be miserable: there's some good news in there too. And some of the goodest news is that Skydance Animation is moving to Netflix in a multi-year deal. The first film from the animation powerhouse will be Spellbound, due in 2024.
Spellbound follows the adventure of feisty princess Ellian, whose parents have been magically transformed into monsters. Cue a daring quest with colorful characters and all the thrills and spills you'd expect from an animation movie. With Vicky Jenson (Shrek and Shark Tale) and the helm and an original score by Disney legend Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast), this one sounds like it'll be a lot of fun.
Next on the slate is Pookoo, due in 2025. That one's a buddy comedy about a small woodland creature and a majestic bird, who are supposed to be sworn enemies but are magically made to trade places and set off on an epic adventure. The director is Nathan Greno of Tangled and Tangled Ever After, and the music is by Siddhartha Khosla.
There are plenty more where those two came from. As Deadline reports, Brad "The Incredibles" Bird is on board for Ray Gunn, a project he's been wanting to bring to the screen since the 1990s, and Rich Moore (Zootopia and Wreck-It-Ralph) has signed up for a currently untitled Jack and the Beanstalk project.
Who is Skydance Animation?
Skydance was founded in 2017, and its first film – Luck, on Apple TV+ – was released last year in August 2022. In 2019 it hired former Pixar head John Lasseter – a move that wasn't universally popular given allegations of sexual misconduct during his time at Pixar; Paramount Animation refused to work with Skydance as a result and actor Emma Thompson quit the cast of Luck in protest.
Skydance aims to make two feature films per year, primarily for streaming but with theatrical releases considered on a case-by-case basis. It's unclear whether the Netflix deal will change that; Netflix has released some movies in cinemas as part of pre-streaming publicity or to qualify for awards, and may decide to do the same with its Skydance films.
If you'd like to see what Skydance is capable of, our guide to how to watch Luck online is right here. It's a fun film, with a script by Kiel Murray (Cars, Raya and the Last Dragon) directed by Penny Holmes (Disney's The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning). There's an impressive voice cast including Tony award nominee Eva Noblezada in the main role of Sam and Mission: Impossible veteran Simon Pegg as a talking cat.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.