Which projects have been cut? Titles confirmed by Netflix have been dropped, including Ava DuVernay’s wings of fire Adaptation, preschool series Anti Racist Babyand Best regards from the kindergarten. These cuts come on top of five other cuts Netflix has confirmed were made back on May 3. Here are some details on the project cuts announced this week:
- Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, wings on fire was based on the middle-class fantasy book series of the same name by Tui T. Sutherland. Dan Milano (Co-Creator, Glitch Technologies), Christa Starr (Producer, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return) and Justin Ridge (supervising director/executive producer, Star Wars Resistance) were lined up as showrunners.
- Based on a children’s book of the same name by the scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Anti Racist Baby was offered as a series of animated vignettes with music for preschoolers.
- Best regards from the kindergarten was not previously announced but would have adapted Adam Kline’s popular children’s book about a girl with a great imagination who is afraid of kindergarten.
Why so many cuts lately? Netflix came under scrutiny in the first half of 2022 after a disastrous first-quarter earnings report. The streamer lost subscribers worldwide for the first time in a decade, its stocks plummeted, and stories of dead and dying projects began leaking out, some dating back months. In response, Netflix executives proposed new regulations against password sharing, the possibility of ad-supported subscriptions, and — as we see this week — cuts to spending growth. Rumors are also circulating that Netflix is considering bringing more of its high-profile features to theaters, including an exclusive theatrical window.
How bad is it? The past few weeks have been unprecedented for Netflix, but arguably inevitable. Subscriber growth has been limited, and competing streaming platforms from major studios continue to emerge in many large territories. It’s worth noting that every major animation studio regularly has numerous projects in development. Most are summarily dropped without a public word. It should also be noted that the company is still profitable. Netflix posted a profit of $1.6 billion on sales of $7.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022. Those sales increased nearly 10% compared to the same period last year.
Is Netflix Giving Up Animation? Definitely not. While Netflix benefits from its own animation studio, it also acquires and produces third-party animated titles. The streamer’s recent deals include an extension to its current partnership with DNEG, the addition of Ron Howard The Shrinkage of Treehorn (produced by Animal Logic), a new three-picture deal with Japanese anime producer Colorido (Drifting Home, A Whisker Away) and the acquisition of Marmaduke (Produced by Andrews McMeel Entertainment, Legacy Classics). Netflix also has one of the largest original animation pipelines in the industry, with several high-profile feature titles on the horizon, including Guillermo del Toros PinocchioHenry Selicks Wendel & Wildand Nora Twomeys My father’s dragon to name just a few.
We’re sorry, Marmaduke? Yes. Netflix acquired the low-profile, A-list-voted adaptation earlier this year and debuted the film on May 6. He hasn’t received a single positive review from any major media outlet that we could find, and has a 0% Critical Rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a 25% Audience Rating. Despite the film’s critical issues, it peaked at 9th place in Netflix’s top 10 English-language films for the week of May 2-8 with 7.01 million hours of viewing time. In its second week, it climbed to number three on the same list with 15.03 million hours viewed. For comparison: Richard Linklaters Apollo 10 1/2an animated feature from Netflix Original, never appeared in the streamer’s top 10.