Netflix’s animation department is in quite a state of flux right now. With the streaming giant canceling a variety of animated offerings before they even aired one episode and a rough start to 2022, they’re now making moves to strengthen their in-house animation team. The most recent move was the acquisition of Animal Logic, an Australian-based company known for films like Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and The Lego Movie. Animal Logic also has a visual effects branch that has worked on major features like The Great Gatsby, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Captain Marvel. Their next project will be released in theaters next week, with the animated DC League of Super-Pets starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. They also will be releasing a film with Netflix called The Magician’s Elephant.
Presumably, this new acquisition will allow Netflix to take a lot of their animation features completely in-house, instead of outsourcing them to other animation studios. Netflix’s most recent animated feature, The Sea Beast was outsourced to Sony Pictures ImageWorks. While Netflix won’t stop working with outside animated studios altogether, this should make it easier for them to make more in-house.
Netflix is likely still reeling a bit from the way 2022 started, as they lost 200,000 streaming customers. This is their first decline in a decade, so it seems like they’re definitely pushing to add more value with original features to bring subscribers back into the fold. Netflix also laid off 150 members of its staff this year, which is about 2% of its workforce. Additionally, they canceled three promising animated series before they could premiere. The Wings of Fire series, which would be adapted from the children’s books by Tui T. Sutherland and executive produced by Ava DuVernay, was one of the scrapped projects. The series would follow dragon tribes at war over a lost treasure. The With Kind Regards From Kindergarten animated film was also scrapped. Finally, they scrapped the children’s series Antiracist Baby, which was based on the book by antiracist scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
While Netflix is no stranger to canceling series, they don’t often scrap them before they can hit the platform. Presumably, with the acquisition of Animal Logic, they’ll be able to follow through on more of their animated projects. Despite these cancellations, Netflix doesn’t look to be slowing down in the animated department any time soon. Projects like Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, and Gabby’s Dollhouse are still being made and films like Guillermo del Toro’s Pinnochio and the Journey to the West adaptation The Monkey King are also in the works. Not to mention the various anime series that the streaming giant distributes on their platform. It’s safe to say, Netflix probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, even if they had a bad start to the year. With this acquisition and the array of original series they have on offer, they likely won’t have too much trouble retaining subscribers and bringing in new ones.