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Netflix Animation Lays Off 30 Staffers

Image Source: Featured Animation

Not less than 30 staff were let go by Netflix Animation, according to Variety.

The announcement follows previous changes to Netflix’s management team, which saw Traci Balthazor promoted to vice president of animated film production and Karen Toliver named vice president of animated film content earlier this year.

Because Balthazor, who continues to collaborate closely with Toliver, oversees the whole Netflix animated film production staff, there have been layoffs as a result.

The layoffs do not indicate a drop in Netflix Animation’s productivity; the studio has had seven Oscar nominations since 2020 and won for the film “If Anything Happens, I Love You.”

“Robin,” “Klaus,” “Over the Moon, Back to the Outback,” and Chris Williams’ “The Sea Beast” are among the streamer’s animated films and shorts. In addition, Wendell & Wild by Henry Selick and Jordan Peele, My Father’s Dragon by Nora Twomey, Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro, The Magician’s Elephant by Wendy Rogers, and a “Chicken Run” sequel are all forthcoming. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” “Vivo,” and “Wish Dragon,” all produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, were also bought by Netflix.

Animal Logic, an Australian animation studio, was purchased by Netflix in a cash-only transaction in July. According to Netflix’s Q2 letter to shareholders, the studio and its 800 employees, most of whom are headquartered in Sydney and Vancouver, “will help us expedite the development of our animation production capabilities and reinforces our commitment to construct a world-class animation studio.”

The business declined to provide the Animal Logic purchase price, but it did state that cash on hand would be used to pay for the transaction. In the event that certain regulatory permits are granted, Netflix anticipates closing later this year.

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Toliver received a promotion in July and now serves as the team leader for the film animation department under Scott Stuber, head of global film. This resulted in the departure of Bruce Daitch from Netflix’s production team and the transition of Melissa Cobb and Gregg Taylor to creative producing partners, reducing levels of the leadership structure. Along with acquiring Animal Logic, an Australian animation studio, in July, Netflix also expanded its animated film production schedule.

Henry Selick’s latest animated film “Wendell & Wild,” from the filmmaker of “Coraline,” has had its world debut on Netflix at the Toronto International Film Festival. In addition, the streamer will soon be releasing “My Father’s Dragon” by Nora Twomey, “Pinocchio” by Guillermo del Toro, “The Magician’s Elephant” by Wendy Rogers, and “Chicken Run 2” by Aardman.

Animated Video Game Adaptations thrives on Netflix Animation

The animation of video games for television has a lengthy history. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and King Koopa’s Kool Kartoons all debuted in 1989, which is when this trend started. Additionally, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, which made its debut this week, is part of a stealthy trend that Netflix’s animation team has been discreetly maintaining over the previous few years in this sometimes ignored area. In a time when animation doesn’t feel as consistent as it once did and video game adaptations are still sometimes met with groans, Netflix has quietly accomplished the extraordinary and turned these adaptations into must-watch TV.

Castlevania was the catalyst. The series, which Frederator Studios created, was actually Netflix’s second video game adaptation to be promoted as an original, following the Spyro-centered Skylander’s Academy. But it was the first of its extremely particular sort to receive critical acclaim. Castlevania received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94 percent, led by Adi Shankar, a devoted fan of the series. This rating is astounding in and of itself, but it becomes even more so when you consider how frequently animation and video game adaptations are disregarded.

John Derderian, Head of Animated Series at Netflix, responded, “A story with a lot of wonderful characters, a tremendous journey, and a lot of heart,” when asked what criteria the company uses to decide whether to produce or distribute a video game adaptation.

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