netflix_logo netflix_logo
Feature FilmInternet Television

Netflix Announces Its First Animated Feature – America: The Motion Picture – And It’s Rated R

Netflix is taking another major step forward in the animation world with the announcement that it will finance an original animated feature film of its own. The streamer isn’t playing around either; they’re making a strong statement by making the first film an adult-oriented R-rated animation project.

Netflix is going to make America: The Motion Picture directed by Matt Thompson, a partner in Atlanta’s Floyd County Productions, the current producer of Archer. Thompson was also co-creator of the Adult Swim series Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo.

The project is described by Deadline, which first reported the news, as an “R-rated revisionist history tale about the founding of the country.” Channing Tatum will voice the lead, George Washington.

Screenwriter Dave Callaham wrote the film. His credits include The Expendables and the forthcoming Zombieland 2, and he is the showrunner on Amazon’s upcoming Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, Son of Zorn, 21 Jump Street) are on board as producers, along with Will Allegra, director of development at their production company, Lord Miller. Thompson’s partner in Floyd Country, Adam Reed, is also producing, as is Callaham, Tatum, Peter Kiernan, and Reid Carolin.

  • Too Many Cooks

    Now, the question is, should I expect TV-quality animation or feature-quality?

    • Metlow Rovenstein

      With the way Netflix has been spending money on their originals, I’m expecting above-average animation quality (at least concerning TV animation quality).
      All Hail King Julian (a Netflix original show) has a bigger budget (can be seen in the fact that the characters have fur and the song actually appears on the show) than other TV 3D CGI cartoon shows.

    • alt animation podcast

      Most likely going to be the puppet 2d style of Archer and Frisky Dingo with some 3d elements peppered in

    • Planet Earth

      Probably mostly 2D animation. But the art on Archer now is pretty much feature quality. If anything it’s way higher in production quality than your average tv animated show, so I’d expect the movie to be somewhere there too. I guess it depends on how long they have to work on it too.

  • ea

    I hope it gets a theatrical release to qualify for an Oscar nom. I’m sick and tired of the BAF category having mostly family-friendly movies. We need to do everything to destroy the Animation Age Ghetto.

    • Fried

      “We need to do everything to destroy the Animation Age Ghetto.”
      You realize that’s never going to happen, right? Even in Europe and Japan where animation for adults is common, animation for children will always be more financially successful. People have been trying since the 70’s and it’s always remained for niche audiences. Just enjoy the fact that people are even able to get these made despite people being so scared of taking chance, especially now-a-days, rather than jumping on, “Yeah that’s cool, but what do the Oscars think!?”.

      You can’t say the Oscars are a joke and then put large amounts of value on them. Spirited Away winning did nothing to change the face of animation, Toy Story 3 getting nomination for Best Picture did nothing, these are just blips in the timeline, not revolutions.

      • Matthew

        It’s not realistic to abandon the kids’ audience altogether just as it’s not wise to leave grown-ups out of the equation.

        • ea

          It’s not that unrealistic to make non-kiddy animated films. We’re getting more and more adult animation on TV and the net. A lot of people grew up watching cartoons of all age-demographics; heck, some of the cartoons they watched as kids grew up as well, some for the better (Samurai Jack), others not so much (Ren & Stimpy APC). Anomalisa got nominated for an Oscar and Sausage Party was a relative hit. More are getting used to animation as a medium for all genres and stories, and though I’m not a huge fan of it, the success of anime is proof of that.

      • Pretty much. Often I think the notion most of us have is wanting animation to be seen as equal to live action, at least where stories are concerned and in what accessibility there is to the work and who its marketed to.

  • Are they sort of independently producing it or are they hiring some known animation studios for the execution?

    • Planet Earth

      The animation studio that makes Archer

  • Andres Molina

    Thats great, lets hope more studios strive for darker or more adult animation. Now I’m not saying that we should strive for raunchy r-rated comedies. But I’m saying they should push for more experimental or darker/more complex animated projects. Now as far as the Animation Age Ghetto is concerned, the best way, in my opinion, to stop the ghetto is for mainstream studios (like Pixar or Disney) to start experimenting on darker or vastly more experimental animation so that other studios can see and realize that if the big dogs in the animation are producing more radical/adult films, then they to could be able to join them as well. And some people will say they “should” stick to “kid” movies, and that going darker could piss off the sensitive parents that demand them to only produce family films that are safe and kid friendly, but the way I see it, these people need to learn that animation is a medium that should be accessible or targeted to any audience rather than any kids, and I’m not saying they should go dark or adult as in show off boobs, grotesque shock humor, and profane swearing every other line of dialogue, but rather produce films that are heavier in tone, more radical in story and art style, and deeper in meaning and ideas. And I far as I’m concerned, I would far rather that Pixar or Disney produce a film that is exceedingly radical and completely departs from their previous works and gain controversy from angry parents, then produce something remarkably safe and kid friendly and gain criticism from numerous critics and moviegoers for playing it safe just for the sake of not pissing off those who demand kid friendly fare. Now going radical or adult might alienate certain demographics, but if we want to convince everyone to accept animation as something for everyone, we must learn to let go of our fears and go for it, because sometimes, you will have to break the rules if you want to deliver something truly special, and utterly remarkable.

    • Matthew

      The Walt Disney of the 1930s was pretty dark for his time. Some of the pre-code Silly Symphonies have macabre and surreal imagery, and even SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS was denied a “U” rating in the UK (the equivalent of a G in the US which it has had since about 1975) because it scared children. Eventually the films became lighter in tone and story, but every now and then at various times since Walt’s death they’ve tried to “go dark”; it didn’t always work but it did represent an earnest attempt to break away from their squeaky-clean-always-happy-all-the-time reputation.

    • Mermaid Warrior

      Still, smaller studios creating adult animation (that aren’t raunchy comedies) can pave the way for larger studios to do them. Non-comedy adult animation is rare because networks and studios don’t think that people will go for it. If this Netflix movie is a success, it would encourage other creators to make some as well.

      Now, I doubt we’ll see adult animation directly under the Pixar or Disney name, but I can easily imagine Disney making adult animation and releasing them under one of the other studios that they own, like Touchstone.

  • Rae

    please for the love of god let it be good in its own way and not in the “haha we’re doing things NORMAL animated movies are too scared to do b/c we’re so ahead of the game” way

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Ooooh, I hope it will be good! What I really like is that this isn’t gonna be a raunchy comedy. I say I want more adult animation and people list off Family Guy and South Park… But I want something that isn’t a raunchy comedy. Animation has so much potential.

    • Dylancaufield1

      Agree, to be honest Family Guy is more childish than most Disney cartoons.

  • This is great news. The guys they have on it are top notch, so I have high expectations. For more than a decade I have been pitching and preaching these kinds of projects to producers and studios. Unfortunately I didn’t have the attachments or pedigree to get it further. Now that big shots are making it happen on a high level, I feel that with all the new buyers and platforms, there are more opportunities for us who want to produce animated adult content than ever before.

  • Planet Earth

    I hope there’s a chance this goes theatrical. Would be so cool to see an animated movie in a theater that isn’t 3D pixar or dreamworks style where all the character models basically look the same…or isn’t Smurfs or some other nonsense.