Netflix has confirmed its original film slate for 2022, which will be by far its most notable year for animated features yet.
The slate includes five self-produced features from the U.S. and Europe, which we previously included in our preview of studio features in 2022. All are directed by acclaimed filmmakers in animation — Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner), Chris Williams (Big Hero 6), Henry Selick (Coraline) — or auteurs chiefly known for their live-action works: Richard Linklater and Guillermo del Toro.
Netflix has also confirmed the release of three original anime films, including Bubbles, which is premiering this month at the Berlinale. Bubbles is the only animated film on the slate to currently have a firm release date: April 28.
Absent from this list are third-party acquisitions and partner-produced films, including anticipated projects like Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, a Nickelodeon-produced spin-off from the series. The film was initially slated for 2021, and sources later told us it was due this year.
There will almost certainly be some surprises too. After all, the streamer picked up its most high-profile animated film of 2021, Sony’s The Mitchells vs. the Machines, after it issued last year’s slate.
For now, here’s the original films that subscribers can look forward to in the next 11 months …
Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood
Director: Richard Linklater
Synopsis: Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives — the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment, and through the eyes of a kid growing up in Houston, Texas who has intergalactic dreams of his own. Taking inspiration from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater’s own life, Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood is a snapshot of American life in the 1960s that is part coming of age, part societal commentary, and part out-of-this-world adventure.
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Director: Tetsuro Araki
Synopsis: The story is set in Tokyo, after bubbles that broke the laws of gravity rained down upon the world. Cut off from the outside world, Tokyo has become a playground for a group of young people who have lost their families, acting as a battlefield for parkour team battles as they leap from building to building. Hibiki, a young ace known for his dangerous play style, makes a reckless move one day and plummets into the gravity-bending sea. His life is saved by Uta, a girl with mysterious powers who appears suddenly. The pair then hear a unique sound audible only to them. Why did Uta appear before Hibiki? Their encounter leads to a revelation that will change the world.
Director: Hiroyasu Ishida
Synopsis: Kosuke and Natsume have been friends since childhood, but as time goes on the relationship between the two sixth graders seems strained as they keep avoiding one another. One day during their summer vacation, they go to a housing complex that is scheduled to be demolished. Having grown up there, the place holds a lot of memories. While playing, they suddenly get caught up in a mysterious phenomenon and when they regain consciousness, they see an entire ocean before them as the housing complex has drifted into a mysterious sea along with Kosuke and Natsume with it. Will they be able to return to their previous world? A summer farewell journey begins.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Synopsis: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvents Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto. This whimsical, stop-motion musical directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.
My Father’s Dragon
Director: Nora Twomey
Synopsis: From five-time Academy Award-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers) and Academy Award-nominated director Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner) comes an exquisite film inspired by the Newbery-honored children’s book from author Ruth Stiles Gannett. Struggling to cope after a move to the city with his mother, Elmer runs away in search of Wild Island and a young dragon who waits to be rescued. Elmer’s adventures introduce him to ferocious beasts, a mysterious island and the friendship of a lifetime.
The Sea Beast
Director: Chris Williams
Synopsis: In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes — and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he’s saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history. From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero 6, Bolt), The Sea Beast takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins.
The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge of Edinburgh Part 1
Director: Bob Shirahata
Synopsis: With over 37 million copies sold and winning in the children’s category of the 39th Kodansha Manga Award, the mega-hit The Seven Deadly Sins (original work: Nakaba Suzuki) is receiving a spin-off anime film. This film will feature an original story by Suzuki. Split into two parts, the story will follow Tristan, the son of The Seven Deadly Sins protagonists Meliodas and Elizabeth. Tristan inherits the power of the Goddess Clan and can heal people’s wounds and injuries, but he often ends up hurting others due to his inability to control his Demon Clan power. To protect his family, Tristan heads to Edinburgh Castle and meets a host of new friends along the way.
Wendell & Wild
Director: Henry Selick
Synopsis: From the delightfully wicked minds of Henry Selick and Jordan Peele comes Wendell & Wild, an animated tale about scheming demon brothers Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Peele), who enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot — a tough teen with a load of guilt — to summon them to the Land of the Living. But what Kat demands in return leads to a brilliantly bizarre and comedic adventure like no other, an animated fantasy that defies the law of life and death, all told through the handmade artistry of stop motion.