Oscar-winning Rango director Gore Verbinski’s Cattywumpus is no longer moving forward at Netflix, according to a Deadline report.
Citing sources close to the project, the report says that while Netflix will no longer be home to the half-finished film about cats in outer space, the streamer is allowing the Cattywumpus creative team to look for a new studio where they can complete their work. News that the project had landed at Netflix first hit the web back in the spring of 2020.
These kinds of developments aren’t rare, but they are noteworthy, especially when top level talent is involved. Verbinski’s films have grossed more than $3.75 billion and his resume boasts blockbuster titles including three Pirates of the Caribbean films, The Lone Ranger, the U.S. remake of The Ring, and Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts starrer The Mexican. His last feature to hit theaters was 2016’s A Cure for Wellness. It seems likely that a half-finished film from such a prolific and profitable filmmaker will draw plenty of attention on the open market.
Netflix has been on the other side of this situation in the past, and just this year announced it has purchased a half-finished Nimona feature. That film was well into production at Blue Sky Studios when Disney acquired the company as part of its larger Fox acquisition. Disney then shuttered Blue Sky and halted production on the adaptation of ND Stevenson’s graphic novel, which is now being produced by Netflix and Annapurna Pictures (Missing Link, Sausage Party). DNEG (Ron’s Gone Wrong) is animating the film out of its London studio with Blue Sky veterans and Spies in Disguise directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane at the helm.
Despite a rough start to 2022, Netflix animation now looks to be trending in a more favorable direction. Over the next several months the streamer will see three of its original animated features get high-profile festival premieres before limited theatrical runs: Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. The streamer will also send Stephen Donnelly’s Scrooge: A Christmas Carol to theaters in November before it hits the platform in early December.
A likely contributing factor to the streamer dropping Cattywumpus is that the people who commissioned the film in the first place are no longer the ones making decisions at the company. This summer, the streamer shook up its animation executive structure when it promoted Karen Toliver to lead its Animation Film team. Former vps Melissa Cobb and Gregg Taylor shifted roles to becoming producers, and vp of animation production operations Bruce Daitch left the company.
Pictured at top: “Rango”