Netflix’s Latest Cancellation Will Anger Music Fans

Netflix has nixed their planned Gorillaz movie.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

These days, Netflix is losing subscribers left and right thanks to things like their controversial decision to limit password sharing (something they once outright encouraged on social media). And even before that, the streaming platform was bleeding subscribers thanks to their frustrating habit of canceling original programming, even its best series, Mindhunter, when it was starting to get good. Now, here’s more bad news: Stereogum reports that Netflix was planning on making a movie featuring the popular musical act Gorillaz, but that movie (like almost everything else at Netflix that sounds vaguely interesting) has now been canceled.

On paper, it’s easy to see why Netflix would be interested in creating an animated Gorillaz movie. The band’s iconic characters and masterful music videos have been winning over different generations of fans. The most devoted Gorillaz maniacs love to keep track of the interconnecting storyline that develops across different music videos. In other words, the band has arguably been experimenting with serial storytelling across music videos for years, and they have built an audience who is hungry to see what the creators involved could do with more time and a larger budget.

Unfortunately, a larger budget is the last thing Netflix can afford to provide for the Gorillaz or most other animated projects. Once, the streamer had an acclaimed animation division, and they were working on ambitious projects like a high-profile adaptation of Bone. However, Netflix has been busy dismantling much of that animation division and canceling several projects (including Bone) and focusing more on live-action anime adaptations, so it only makes sense they would also cancel something like the Gorillaz movie, though canceling so many projects means Netflix may go the way of Blockbuster video.

The sad news about Netflix nixing the movie plans was more or less confirmed by band co-creator Damon Albarn, though he was classy enough not to name and shame Netflix when discussing the bad news. In an interview, Albarn identified a nameless “streaming platform for which we were making the film” and notes that the streamer withdrew from the project because “they started to panic because they were making too much content and decided to cut back on their movie offerings.”

This very specific description is very obviously talking about Netflix (a streamer that somehow finds the budget for bad CGI kisses), but one reason Albarn is likely playing coy is that there is a chance (however small) that another platform will pick up the movie.

netflix gorillaz

The reason the chance is so small is that, during the interview where Albarn did his best not to mention Netflix, he also mentioned the usual “Hollywood practice” that has stopped plans for a Gorillaz movie in their tracks. He claims they were working with a specific person who has since “moved on to another company” and likens this to losing a “guardian angel.” Furthermore, he claims that after this happened, “there seems to be a bad smell” hanging on the creators involved, making it that much less likely that a streamer like Peacock or Paramount+ would pick it up (we’re assuming that HBO Max, busy getting rid of as much animated content as possible to save a buck, would not be interested).

However, just because Netflix has canceled plans for a Gorillaz movie and Albarn is worried about a metaphorical stink hanging over him, doesn’t mean that fans should give up all hope. As the band reminded us over two decades ago, even if things seem useless now, it’s not for long. And the future is most definitely coming on, especially with a new Gorillaz album, Cracker Island, dropping on February 24.