Streaming giant continues its aggressive expansion into animation and VFX production with its purchase of one of the industry’s leading independent creative studios.
First, they bought Scanline VFX last November. This past May, they signed a massive $350 milliion production deal with leading VFX and animation company DNEG. And now today, after a quarterly earnings announcement that beat industry expectations with lower than expected subscriber loss and plans for a low-cost ad supported streaming option – plus a $70 million charge for Q2 layoffs - Netflix has just announced they’ve purchased Australian animation studio Animal Logic, a leading independent animation and VFX producer known for award-winning work on animated feature films like Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, The LEGO Movie franchise, and Peter Rabbit 1 & 2, and well as live-action films like The Matrix, Moulin Rouge!, 300, and The Great Gatsby.
Terms were not disclosed; completion of the all-cash deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Close is expected later this year.
The move makes sense considering the streamer’s aggressive slate of animated films, with the just released Sea Beast fronting soon to follow films like Wendy Rogers’ The Magician’s Elephant, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, and Nick Bruno and Troy Quane’s Nimona, as well as Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and an Aardman sequel to Chicken Run. Not to mention the trove of anime the streamer has its paws on. Netflix has been making big moves in the manipulated frame space for years – remember when it signed a lease for a 170,000 square foot animation studio in Burbank? In a pandemic?
The streamer and studio already had close ties, with films in production at Animal Logic's Sydney and Vancouver studios including Rogers’ and the recently announced The Shrinking of the Treehorns, directed by Ron Howard. The studio currently employs around 800 people primarily at those two locations.
“Netflix has been investing in animation over the past few years and this furthers our commitment to building a world-class animation studio,” said Amy Reinhard, Netflix Vice President of Studio Operations. “Animal Logic is a leading animation studio with innovative technology that will strengthen our existing business and increase our long-term capacity in the animation space, so that we can better entertain our members around the world.”
According to the streamer, working with Animal Logic will accelerate the buildout of Netflix’s end-to-end animation production capabilities. The Animal Logic and Netflix Animation teams together will create a global creative production team and an animation studio that will produce some of Netflix’s largest animated film titles. Netflix will continue to work with many other studios around the world for animated series and film needs.
Under CEO and co-founder Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic will continue operating under its own brand, fulfilling existing and ongoing commitments with longstanding studio partners.
"After 30 years of producing great work with great people, this is the perfect next chapter for Animal Logic," said Nalbandian. "Our values and aspirations could not be more aligned with Netflix, in working with diverse content makers, producing innovative and engaging stories for audiences around the world. Our collective experience and talent will open new doors for all our teams and will empower a new level of creativity in animation."
“The strength of our partnership across a number of projects is testament to our shared creative vision," said Animal Logic’s COO Sharon Taylor. "Solidifying our future together felt like a mutually beneficial, natural progression and I am so excited to continue to build on our success together."
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.