Animation is a big business these days. The craft has come a long way since Steamboat Willie and Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. The art form has taken over television networks and etched itself into households, affecting culture with a simple hum of “Let it Go”. Though it is a long and arduous process, the payoff is huge as seen with Disney and Pixar’s billion dollar paydays for films like Frozen and Finding Dory.
The animation train is still steaming ahead, and it looks like Skydance is getting in the game. The company has teamed up with some heavy hitters for the move, and if you liked Kung Fu Panda and Beauty and the Beast, then you’ll probably like the company’s upcoming projects.
Skydance, known for hits in big franchises like Mission: Impossible and Terminator, has teamed up with Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios, and, according to THR, they’ve just commissioned some high-profile writers. The first comes to us from Kung Fu Panda and Trolls writers, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, to pen one of the projects with the working title Luck. Skydance has been largely mum on the details, but the company has said the story “pulls back the curtain on the millennia-old battle between the organizations of good luck and bad luck that secretly affects our daily lives.” Aibel and Berger will also serve as producers.
The other film is being written by the equally impressive Linda Woolveton, who penned several Disney hits, including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent. The story will follow a teenager who comes of age using her magical powers to defend her family when the opposing forces of light and darkness threaten to divide her kingdom. Woolveton will serve as a producer on the film, and Skydance is aiming for a 2019 release.
With such incredible talent on their hands, the company is looking forward to its future ventures. In a statement, Skydance CEO David Ellison said:
“It is incredibly gratifying to see one of my deepest passions come to life as we enter the animation business with Ilion...Together we aim to bring together the most creative visionaries, the best-in-class production skills, and the highest degree of technological innovation in the service of great stories.”
The choice to enlist writers with different tones and sensibilities is a wise move for the company. Diversifying material provides double the opportunity for success, and with Aibel, Berger and Woolveton's track records, they hopefully will be home runs.
We'll keep you updated on these projects as more information becomes available.