Santa Monica-based Skydance Media has acquired the animation unit of Madrid’s Ilion Studios to form Skydance Animation Madrid.
The two companies have had a multi-year partnership in place since 2017, under which they developed and produced animated feature films and TV shows in Spain, but this move allows Skydance to have access to Ilion’s talent, while giving in full oversight of all production and quality control throughout the whole process, according to Skydance Media.
This brings Skydance Animation up to more than 500 employees across two continents, led by ex-Pixar exec John Lasseter. Lasseter left Disney at the end of 2018 following numerous allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior towards female employees. He then joined Skydance in early 2019, a hire that was denounced by Time’s Up.
The rest of the staff at Skydance Media is rounded out by former DreamWorks exec Holly Edwards, Vicky Jenson (Shrek), Peggy Holmes, Nathan Greno, Kiel Murray, Lauren Hynek, Elizabeth Martin and Linda Woolverton.
Currently Skydance Animation has several features underway, including Luck. Directed by Peggy Holmes (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning) and written by Kiel Murray (Cars, Cars 3) and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger (The Kung Fu Panda series), the film is about the unluckiest girl alive who stumbles on a world of good and bad luck. It was produced at Ilion’s studio in Madrid. Spellbound and Pookoo (both working titles) are also underway.
Skydance is also in the works on a slate of TV series that are with in various stages of development.
Ilion Animation Studios is best known for its film Planet 51 (pictured), released in 2009.