Netflix has entered into a multiyear overall deal with Kuku Studios, under which its key members — Alex Woo, Stanley Moore, Tim Hahn and Erik Benson — will exclusively produce animated films and series for the SVOD pioneer worldwide.
KuKu Studios’ credits include Disney’s Ratatouille, WALL-E, Toy Story 3, Monsters University and Finding Dory, among others.
Kuku Studios’ first project for Netflix is the upcoming “Go! Go! Cory Carson,” a preschool series based on the toy line Go! Go! Smart Wheels from VTech Electronics, which launches on Netflix early in 2020.
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Their first (yet untitled) animated feature film with Netflix, which explores the power and magic of dreams, has been greenlit and will be produced out of Kuku’s Berkeley, Calif.-based studio.
“With Go! Go! Cory Carson, the creative team at Kuku proved that they can bring their vast cinematic experience into the preschool realm,” Melissa Cobb, VP of original animation at Netflix, said in a statement. “A lot of what’s in our creative DNA at Netflix is shared with Kuku, and Alex, Stanley, and Tim have for years honed their ability to tell timeless stories about beloved characters in visually innovative ways. We can’t wait to see what they do next!”
Netflix reportedly is about acquire exclusive streaming rights to late author Roald Dahl’s extensive library of renowned children’s books, including George’s Marvellous Medicine, Boy and Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits, among others.
Dahl’s books have reportedly sold more than 200 million copies globally.
The deal — first reported by Sky News in the United Kingdom — would enable Netflix to create original animated and live-action children’s content. It would also be a feather in the cap for Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family entertainment, who was specifically hired away from DreamWorks Animation last year to up the SVOD pioneer’s profile in children’s programming.
“We know that there is no one type of family,” Cobb said earlier this month when Netflix announced an ambitious family-friendly program slate going forward. “We embrace all kinds of creators, so we can tell unique and diverse stories that resonate with each and every Netflix family.”
While details of the agreement with The Roald Dahl Story Co. remain under wraps, Netflix has made no secret its desire to spend top dollar acquiring IP exclusivity.
The service, which ended its most-recent fiscal period with 130 million paid subscribers worldwide, in late October raised $2 billion in a bond (debt) sale earmarked for capital expenditures.
Netflix also ended the quarter with $18.6 billion in third-party content obligations, excluding $8.3 billion in long-term debt.