Netflix is "Developing Ideas for 'Leo 2'? Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO

Netflix held its fourth-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. What caught our attention, however, was the company's co-CEO Ted Sarandos' notice that the company is discussing a possible sequel to the hit animated feature film "Leo" in 2023.

During a Q&A session on the conference call, Sarandos said, "We're looking at 'Leo 2' right now." The studio previously announced that it is developing a sequel to "Sea Beasts," and "Leo 2" will be the second sequel being developed by Netflix Animation.

In a letter to shareholders accompanying the conference call, Netflix explained that "Leo" was the most successful original film, whether animated or live action, in the fourth quarter of last year. Asked why Leo resonated with subscribers more than other Netflix animated feature films, Sarandos responded:

I think it was for the same reasons that The Sea Beast did last year. It's a great film. We all really love it. It brings a lot of joy to the family. And they watch it over and over again. I think Leo and Sea Beast are proof that we have the flywheel to create original IP in the field of animation, and that the desire for feature animation is very strong. [Leo] was Netflix's biggest debut ever for an original feature-length animated film, released in November, and ranked in Netflix's top 10 most-viewed weekly English-language films nine times. The previous record holders were "Back to the Outback" and "Sea Beasts," which each ranked in the top 10 seven times.

Moving away from Leo, Sarandos spoke very briefly about Netflix's big animated ambitions:

Animation - The art of animation is beautiful. The comedy is funny, and families love it. So I'm looking forward to more of that. We have "Spellbound" coming up next year. We are really excited that the animation team is firing on all cylinders right now.

The co-CEO's comments echo sentiments expressed by Sarandos at the UBS Global Media Communications Conference last December, when he boasted that Netflix plans to increase its feature animation production budget in 2024.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported that "Leo 2" was the first sequel announced by Netflix Animation. The studio announced last year that a sequel to "Kaiju" was in development.