Verbinski, whose films have grossed $3.76 billion and who won an Oscar in 2012 for the Paramount animated movie Rango, had been working on his latest film at Netflix.
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Such is the complex nature of animated film production, where quite often halfway through, stories and plans can pivot. There’s a history of that from movies such as Pixar’s Soul and Dinosaur and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Cattywumpus repped Verbinski’s second animated movie after the Johnny Depp-voiced Western Rango, which grossed $246 million at the worldwide box office.
Netflix, we understand, gave the creative team the option to go shop the movie elsewhere.
Netflix has seen promotions and changeovers in its animation executive suite over the summer. Karen Toliver was promoted to lead the Animation Film team after serving as VP Animation Film. Melissa Cobb moved from her role as VP Animation Film and stayed aboard on the streamer as a producer, along with VP Gregg Taylor also becoming a producer. Bruce Daitch, who had been VP Animation Production Operations, exited, while Traci Balthazor (VP Animation Film Production) and Mike Karafilis (Director Animation Series Production) continue to lead their respective teams.
In May, Netflix cut 150 jobs, close to half of those in animation. Netflix said in a statement at the time of the cuts that “slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company.”
Netflix has in a quick time made a mark in feature animation with movies such as The Sea Beast, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Back to the Outback and Robin, Robin and series Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, Battle Kitty and Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles. Upcoming films include Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, My Father’s Dragon, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Thelma the Unicorn, Nimona, Ultraman, I, Chihuahua, and Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.
In less than five years, the streamer has had seven projects nominated for Academy Awards and one winner, for If Anything Happens, I Love You, in the 2021 Animated Short category. Earlier this year, Netflix saw Oscar nominations for Robin Robin in Animated Short and The Mitchells vs. The Machines in the Animated Feature category. Other Oscar nominations include 2021’s Over the Moon and A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon and 2020’s I Lost My Body and Klaus in Best Animated Feature.
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