Report Layoffs at Netflix Animation as Part of Department Reorganization

An unknown number of people will be laid off from Netflix Animation in the coming weeks, according to a report in Variety and confirmed by Netflix.

The layoffs are part of a restructuring, which will result in fewer animated features being produced in-house; Netflix intends to acquire more projects from third-party producers through output contracts, which are more cost effective than producing content in-house. Netflix has had output deals with Sony Pictures Animation, Nickelodeon, Illumination, and DreamWorks Animation, and will likely rely more heavily on such deals as its own animation division shrinks.

The Variety report also identified two original animated films that have entered turnaround: the first was the previously unreleased "Escape from Beverly Hills," and the second is an African mythology film based on the Bantu-speaking Shona people of Zimbabwe, " Tunga. The latter film will remain on Netflix and be returned to development.

After a spectacular launch with huge sums of money to grow the animation division, the reality was faced with numerous projects that failed to meet the streamer's own expectations. These disappointments led to multiple layoffs in 2022, including 70 in May 2022 and 30 in September 2022.

Perhaps it is ironic that while Netflix's animation division continues to shrink, it is beginning to gain a creative foothold; Netflix won its first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature earlier this year for Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio," "Nimona" and "The Monkey King." Recent animated films produced or financed by the company have enjoyed strong audience numbers. Leo," starring Adam Sandler, and Aardman's "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget."