Illumination, the studio behind the Despicable Me franchise, has tapped Mike Moon to start a new label called Moonlight. The goal is to expand the range of films Illumination makes beyond kid-friendly fare.
Moon was most recently Netflix’s head of adult animation, a post he resigned from in July to “pursue other opportunities.” His exit came as the streamer, battered by an impotent share price, fired animators and scaled back its space ambitions. In addition to his new role as President of Moonlight, the company said Moon will serve as Illumination’s senior creative advisor. Moonlight films are distributed under Illumination’s distribution partnership with Universal Pictures. Illumination said the goal is for Moonlight to “produce animated films that transcend the family genre.”
“We have an exceptionally talented group of artists, filmmakers and producers at Illumination and believe there is no better compliment to this team than Mike and the new company we are building together,” said Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination statement. “He has exceptional taste, deep experience and a strong vision for the films we want to make together. I look forward to Mike and Moonlight making a significant contribution to the future of Illumination.”
Moon began his career as an animator for 15 years. He then moved into senior positions at Sony, Disney and Cartoon Network. At those companies and at Netflix, Moon worked on films such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Moon recently served as a producer on the upcoming Netflix series “Entergalactic,” a music streaming special from Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi.
Moon stated, “I am very excited to join the amazing team at Illumination. Chris has set the standard for character, storytelling and innovation in animated films and I’m honored to be a part of the future of this visionary studio.”
In addition to Minions, Illumination’s films include Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. The company is also working on a new Super Mario Bros. movie, which is set to hit theaters in 2023.
Moonlight will be based at Illumination’s headquarters in Santa Monica, with the films being produced by Illumination Studios Paris.