Reese Witherspoon’s Production Company Is In Trouble
Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine production company is shutting down its kids and animation division.
Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, has abruptly shut down its children and animation division. According to a report in Deadline, the HBO star’s company is closing a significant part of its production in order to pass the work along to Candle Media, the company that purchased part of Hello Sunshine (and its catalog of projects with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video) in 2021 for $900 million. While the report suggests that there will be some layoffs due to Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine shuttering this part of the company, it is unclear if this indicates that the company will be ceding more and more to the larger company.
Reese Witherspoon co-founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 with Otter Media, Sarah Harden, and Seth Rodsky; it was formed in part from several different production companies, including the Legally Blonde star’s own Pacific Standard. Since then, the company has produced a number of popular and critically acclaimed films and television programs, like Big Little Lies (which also featured Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard, and Adam Scott), The Morning Show (with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell), and Where the Crawdads Sing (with Daisy Edgar-Jones). In addition, Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine curate the popular Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine, which has more than 2.5 million followers on Instagram.
Hello Sunshine was explicitly formed in order to focus on female-led stories and has managed to cover an impressive array of scripted and unscripted media to do so. While the company shutting down its kids and animation division does not mean that Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine are in danger of going out of business entirely, it does imply that being purchased by the Blackstone-backed Candle Media is changing things up within the company. Witherspoon herself still retains a stake in the company (and a board seat), so we will have to see whether this means the mission statement of the production company will be changing at all.
It was recently announced that Reese Witherspoon will be returning as both star and producer for a sequel to one of her most acclaimed films, 1999’s Election. The sequel is titled Tracy Flick Can’t Win and is also being adapted from a novel by Tom Perrotta. It is being developed for Paramount+ and will be directed by Alexander Payne, who also helmed the first movie.
In addition to Tracy Flick Can’t Win, Reese Witherspoon will be returning to another of her iconic roles: Elle Woods. Legally Blonde 3 is being developed to star both Witherspoon and The White Lotus star Jennifer Coolidge, though little is known about the plot. The fan-favorite franchise will hopefully also include past actors Selma Blair and Luke Wilson, but it has not yet been announced if they will reprise their roles.
Undoubtedly, any new Reese Witherspoon project will also involve Hello Sunshine, but it is interesting to see that the company is consolidating some aspects of itself. Witherspoon will be back as some legendary characters soon, but who knows how long her production company will be around.