Skydance, Apple Skydance, Apple

Apple’s animation portfolio may be about to get much weightier. According to reports, the tech giant is in talks with Skydance Animation to acquire the young studio’s features Luck and Spellbound for its streaming service Apple TV+.

Variety first reported the news, citing multiple insiders. According to its sources, the negotiations are part of discussions around a “larger agreement” between the two parties. Talent agency WME is also said to be involved in the talks, and theatrical releases are on the cards.

The films are currently at Paramount, with which Skydance has a long-term production and distribution deal, but the company reportedly has the right to take them elsewhere. Skydance, Paramount, and Apple declined to comment to Variety.

Skydance Animation was launched in 2017 as a division of Skydance Media, the film production company founded by David Ellison. It is led by John Lasseter, the former creative head of Pixar and Disney, and Holly Edwards, a veteran producer and production executive formerly at Dreamworks Animation. There were reported tensions between the studio and Paramount Animation following Lasseter’s hiring in January 2019.

Although Skydance Animation has yet to release anything, it has multiple film and tv projects in the works. Luck and Spellbound are set to be its first feature releases. Both are currently dated for 2022: the former for February 18, the latter for November 11.

Luck is a comedy about a very unlucky girl who discovers the world of good and bad luck; it is directed by Peggy Holmes (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, The Pirate Fairy), who replaced Alessandro Carloni earlier this year. Spellbound, which is directed by Vicky Jenson (Shrek, Shark Tale), is a musical fantasy feature “set in a world of magic where a young girl must break the spell that has split her kingdom in two.”

According to Variety, “The handful of executives who screened footage of Luck called it ‘vintage Lasseter,’ citing the dazzling production value and commercial appeal the producer is known for, said insiders.”

Apple has released one original animated feature to date: Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers. It hasn’t announced any others, but there are a number of original animated series on its service or in its pipeline, including Central Park, Snoopy in Space, Doug Unplugs, Stillwater, and the upcoming Harriet the Spy reboot.