Making its foray into animated feature film production, global streaming giant Netflix is partnering with the company formerly known as Oriental DreamWorks on Over the Moon, a musical adventure directed by legendary Disney animator Glen Keane (pictured).
Positioned as a modern-day retelling of a classic Chinese myth, the film tells the story of a girl who heads to the moon in a homemade rocketship hoping to meet a legendary Moon Goddess. The feature will premiere worldwide in 2020 exclusively on Netflix and theatrically in China.
Until a week ago, Netflix’s co-producer Pearl Studio operated as Oriental DreamWorks, which was a joint-venture between China Media Capital (CMC), DreamWorks Animation, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited. Oriental DreamWorks co-produced the first American-Chinese animated co-production Kung Fu Panda 3. On February 1, a CMC-led China consortium took full ownership of the venture and relaunched it as Pearl Studio, maintaining its headquarters in Shanghai and branches in New York and L.A. (The acquisition follows media reports that Warner Bros. would buy Universal’s 45% stake in Oriental DreamWorks, which Universal took over when Comcast acquired DreamWorks Animation in 2016.)
Over the Moon also marks Netflix’s first animated feature under the leadership of former Oriental DreamWorks CCO and Kung Fu Panda producer Melissa Cobb, who joined the SVOD service last September as its VP of kids and family. Along with overseeing all creation and acquisitions of animated and live-action series, Cobb was hired to lead the development and acquisition of films.
Cobb will reunite on Over the Moon with her Oriental DreamWorks replacement, Peilin Chou, who was upped to CCO from head of creative and remains in the post under the new monikker. Coinciding with the promotion, Oriental DreamWorks announced that the feature was one of five new films in development, along with previously announced Yeti-themed Everest, which under Pearl, will remain as a Universal Pictures CGI-animated adventure comedy slated for fall 2019.
As for Over the Moon‘s director, Oscar-nominated Keane is a veteran of the Walt Disney Feature Animation unit. Over the course of his decades-long career, he served as lead animator on a raft of modern Disney classics, bringing to life iconic characters including Ariel in The Little Mermaid, the title characters in Pocahontas, Aladdin and Tarzan, as well as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
Keane left Disney in 2012 to launch Glen Keane Productions and most recently directed Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-nominated and Annie Award-winning animated short film Dear Basketball.
Over the Moon is written by Audrey Wells (Shall We Dance, Under the Tuscan Sun), produced by Gennie Rim (Dear Basketball, Duet) and executive produced by Janet Yang (Joy Luck Club). Songs will be written by Christopher Curtis (Chaplin: The Musical), Marjorie Duffield, and Helen Park (KPOP).