In the wake of their Guillermo Del Toro-helmed Pinocchio winning an Academy Award for best animated film and their acquisition of leading independent animation studio Animal Logic, Netflix has confirmed their animation efforts are set to continue with “nine must-watch animated films” that are expected to drop on the platform within the next 18 months.
Produced by Annapurna Pictures and animated by DNEG Animation, the resurrected Nimona is the highly-anticipated adaption of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power creator ND Stevenson’s graphic novel of the same name.
Having begun production under Blue Sky Studios before finding its latest home after Disney killed the studio, the sci-fi fantasy tale, Nimona follows the knight Ballister Boldheart (CV: Riz Ahmed – Takai in Weathering with You English Dub), who has recently found himself framed for a crime he never committed.
Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on one’s perspective – the only person who can prove his innocence is the very person he has vowed to destroy, the impulsive shapeshifter Nimona (CV: Chloë Grace Moretz -Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family).
Nimora will shapeshift onto Netflix in Summer 2023
The latest project from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, Leo is a coming-of-age animated musical comedy that follows the story of the titular 74-year-old reptile (Sandler) who, after having spent decades as a class pet in a Florida elementary school, learns that he is in the final year of his life.
Upon learning of his impending demise, Leo – alongside his fellow class pet and terrarium-mate, a turtle played by Bill Burr – hatches a plan to escape the confines of the classroom and experience life on the outside.
Unfortunately, the pair’s mad dash freedom will have to wait, as Leo soon finds himself caught up in his students’ problems, including their having to suffer through an evil substitute teacher.
Leo will begin his quest to check off his bucket list on November 22nd.
The Monkey King
Over the years, there have been countless adaptations of the timeless 16th-century Chinese tale Journey to the West, and later this year Chinese animation studio Pearl Studio – perhaps best known as having helped produced the third film in the Kung Fu Panda series – will seek to add their own interpretation to the mix with The Monkey King.
Seemingly a relatively straight-forward adaptation of the seminal Chinese work, The Monkey King will follow the protagonist Sun Wukong (CV: Jimmy O. Yang – Joey Raccoon in We Bare Bears) as he and his trusty staff – the Ruyi Bang – embark on an adventure littered with such obstacles as demons, Gods, and the simian warrior’s own ego.
However, their plans are thrown for a loop when the Dragon King (CV: Bowen Yang – Ronnie in Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again) steals Sun Wukong’s staff, leading him on a wild chase to retrieve what is rightfully his.
Along the way, Sun Wukong will also meet a young village girl named Lin, who forces the hero to confront his own selfish nature and discover how “even the smallest pebble can have a big effect on the world.”
The Monkey King releases on Netflix this Summer.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
After 23 years Aardman Animations, the multi-Academy and BAFTA Award winning studio behind Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, has reunited with StudioCanal and Pathé to deliver a sequel to their cult classic stop motion hit, Chicken Run.
Since escaping their pie-based fate on Tweedy’s farm in the first film, Ginger has been living the live of her dreams, having found a peaceful island sanctuary where she and the rest of the flock can live peacefully away from the dangerous human world. The recent hatching of her and Rocky’s baby girl, Molly, has only served as icing on top of her almost-complete-happy-ending cake.
But on the mainland, the entire chicken race faces a new and menacing threat. Despite having already won their freedom, Ginger and her crew decide to risk it all to break back in to their old haunt and save chicken kind.
Notably, Aardman Animations has decided to not bring back Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Phil Daniels, and Timothy Spall to reprise their roles as Ginger, Rocky, Fetcher, and Nick from the first film.
Instead, they will be respectively replaced by Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Romesh Ranganathan, and Daniel Mays. Meanwhile, David Bradley has been cast to succeed the late Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler.
Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget is set to run onto Netflix in Fall 2023.
In Your Dreams
Produced by Kuku Studios, In Your Dreams is a comedy adventure centered on Stevie and Elliot, two siblings whose parents are on the verge of getting a divorce.
In order to save their parents’ marriage, the siblings travel the magical world of dreams to find The Sandman, who according to legend will grant the wishes of those who manage to find him. Despite the duo being “total opposites,” Stevie and Elliot will learn that if they work together they can overcome any obstacles the world of dreams throws their way including their worst nightmares.
The magical world of In Your Dreams will be coming to Netflix in 2024.
Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie
The next entry in the late and great Stephen Hillenburg’s Spongebob Squarepants franchise, Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie finds the residents of Bikini Bottom suddenly scooped up from their homes.
The only pair left after the incident, it’s up to Spongebob Squarepants (CV: Tom Kenny – Benito Mussolini in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio) and Sandy Cheeks (CV: Carolyn Lawrence – Cindy Vortex in Jimmy Neutron) to travel to Texas and save day.
The ultimate mission to save Bikini Bottom begins in 2024.
Based on the BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Richard Curtis’ Christmas children’s book of the same name, That Christmas will tell an anthology of stories about a number of topics including, love and loneliness, family and friends, Santa Claus “making a big mistake”, and the chaos caused by an enormous flock of turkeys.
Produced by Locksmith Animation and animated by DNEG Animation, the CGI film will hit the streaming service in 2024.
Thelma the Unicorn
Adapted from the best selling children’s fantasy picture book by Aaron Bradley, Thelma the Unicorn follows a plain pony named Thelma who dreams of becoming an international popstar.
But her fortunes change one day when a combination of her sticking a horn to her forehead and a truck accidentally splashing her with pink paint and glitter gives her a new look that catches the public’s eye.
As a result, Thelma soon finds herself on the path to becoming the sparkling popstar she’s always dreamed of being – as well as confronting the fact that fame always comes with a price.
Mikros animation’s CGI musical comedy dazzles onto Netflix in 2024.
And finally, rounding out Netflix’s upcoming slate of animated films is Tsuburaya Productions’ and Industrial Light and Magic’s new take on the former’s classic Japanese hero, Ultraman.
This latest iteration of the Japanese pop culture phenomenon centers on Ken Sato, a baseball superstar who has been selected as the next person to pick up the mantle of the franchise’s titular Earth-defending titan.
However, near immediately after becoming the next Ultraman, Sato finds himself facing the mantle’s greatest obstacle yet: taking care of a newborn Kaiju.
Now, Sato must undergo a journey to determine what it means to be the hero Ultraman, all the while balancing his duties as a parent to an enemy Kaiju, his attempt to repair his relationship with his estranged father, and the shenanigans of the Kaiju Defense Force.
During an interview at Netflix’s Tudum 2022, directors Shannon Tindle and John Aoshima described of the project, “With this film, we’re merging old and new, combining our love for the original Ultraman with a bold new look drawn from manga, anime and, of course, the original series.”
“We can’t wait to show you more,” they added.
Ultraman activates its Flash Beam in 2024.