Backed by some juggernaut talent, streaming giant Netflix is expanding its kids animation slate with four new original series and a pair of feature film adaptations.
First up on the originals front for 2019 is Go! Go! Cory Carson, a preschool series from Kuku Studios in California based on VTech Electronics’ popular Go! Go! Smart Wheels toy line. It will be executive produced by Alex Woo (Wall-E, Ratatouille), Stanley Moore (Finding Dory, Monster’s University) and Tone Thyne (Wonder Pets!, The Adventures of Napkin Man!).
Kid Cosmic and Trash Truck are both currently in production, with rollouts planned for 2020. A fantasy-adventure show from Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken, Kid Cosmic is about a young boy struggling with his newfound hero status after discovering a set of powerful cosmic stones. And Trash Truck comes from Max Keane, who was the production designer on Oscar-winning animated short film Dear Basketball. This series stars a six-year-old boy and his larger-than-life garbage truck best friend. Glen Keane, director of Netflix’s upcoming inaugural feature Over the Moon, and Gennie Rim (Dear Basketball) are executive producing alongside Max Keane.
Rounding out the new series slate is Maya and the Three (pictured), which is set against a mythical Mesoamerican-inspired backdrop where a story unfolds about a warrior princess on a quest to find a trio of fighters to help save the world of men and gods. Created, written and directed by Jorge Gutierrez (The Book of Life), with Silvia Olivas (Elena of Avalor) co-writing and co-executive producing and Jeff Ranjo (Moana) serving head of story, this limited series is expected to roll out in 2021.
Padding out its feature film pipeline, Netflix has partnered with Vancouver’s BRON Animation on The Willoughbys, a CGI-animated pic currently in production from writer/director Kris Pearn (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2). Based on the same-name book by Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry, The Willoughbys is about four young siblings who are forced to adapt to the modern world after being abandoned by their selfish parents. It will feature an all-star voice cast including Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara and Jane Krakowski.
Also in production is My Father’s Dragon, a 2D-animated family film from acclaimed Irish director Nora Twomey (The Secret of Kells and The Breadwinner). Based on a collection of children’s novels by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young run-away on a journey to find a captive dragon, this movie will be produced by Cartoon Saloon’s Paul Young and Tomm Moore, alongside Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures, featuring a script penned by Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur).
Netflix’s latest announcement of new projects follows yesterday’s news that the streamer is in production on another new CGI-animated feature film called Jacob and the Sea Beast (2022) from Moana director Chris Williams. And it has also recently slated an untitled musical inspired by the life of Fugees singer Wyclef Jean; stop-motion musical Pinocchio from Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro; 2D-animated holiday movie Klaus (2019) from Despicable Me co-creator Sergio Pablos; and demon teen-themed Wendell & Wild (2021) from writer/director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline).
Keeping all of these new productions on track is a growing team that has recently welcomed former Cartoon Network exec Curtis Lelash as director of kids and family in LA, and ex-Nickelodeon International animation exec Alexi Wheeler in an undisclosed kids and family international originals role in London.
Netflix reported a 34% increase in revenue for Q3 2018 to US$3.99 billion, netting seven million new subscribers worldwide.