Two previously announced Netflix movies have been shut down after animation department shakeup

(Image credit: Netflix/DNEG Animation)

In an exclusive with Variety, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed that the company’s animation unit will undergo a restructure, resulting in job cuts across the department and the cancellation of two films that are already in pre-production. 

The two scrapped projects include the previously unannounced Escape from Beverly Hills, which will return to the open market, and Tunga, a film based on Zimbabwean spiritual culture and mythology, which will return to development.

The news comes after Netflix executive and animation vice president Karen Toliver made tweaks to the long-term strategy for the group, choosing to focus on recruiting outside producers to air their animated works on the service instead of creating new content in-house. 

With pink slips expected to be handed out in the coming weeks, it is unclear how many employees will be replaced or which specific companies Netflix will outsource to, but it has been confirmed that the division is actively exploring output deal offers to third-party producers.

Netflix isn't the only company making such drastic changes. Recently, DreamWorks announced plans to cut up to 70 jobs in their animation field and will also be outsourcing production more often from now on. 

Despite this, Netflix Animation has had its biggest year yet in 2023 with smash hits such as Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which took the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Further seemingly successful releases lay on the streaming horizon, with Adam Sandler’s Floridian Lizard tale Leo coming to the service on November 17, and the highly anticipated Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget due to release in theatres on October 14, with a December 15 release to follow on Netflix. 

Can’t wait for the Chicken Run sequel? Check out our list of the 30 best kids' movies on Netflix available to stream right now. For more on Netflix see our list of the 7 movies and shows you have to watch this October on the streaming site. 

Editorial Associate, GamesRadar+

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for SFX and Total Film online. I have a Bachelors Degree in Media Production and Journalism and a Masters in Fashion Journalism from UAL. In the past I have written for local UK and US newspaper outlets such as the Portland Tribune and York Mix and worked in communications, before focusing on film and entertainment writing. I am a HUGE horror fan and in 2022 I created my very own single issue feminist horror magazine.