Skydance Animation

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Skydance Animation, LLC
  • Animation
  • Motion pictures
  • Television
FoundedMarch 16, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-03-16)
United States
Key people
Number of employees
900[1] (2022)
ParentSkydance Media
Los Angeles

Skydance Animation, LLC is an American animation studio that is a division of Skydance Media, founded on March 16, 2017. The studio is in Los Angeles, with offices in Connecticut and Madrid, Spain; the Madrid branch was originally Ilion Animation Studios.

Skydance Animation's first film Luck was released on August 5, 2022, on Apple TV+ with mixed reviews. Its next film is Spellbound, followed by two other film projects, Pookoo and Ray Gunn, along with a TV series being developed based on the books of The Search for WondLa.


Logo from 2017 to 2020

In March 2017 Skydance Media formed an animation division and a multi-year partnership with Madrid, Spain-based animation studio Ilion Animation Studios.[2] In July, it announced its first two films, Split, for a release in 2019, and Luck.[3] Both films would be distributed by Paramount Pictures as part of their deal with Skydance Media. On October 10, 2017, Bill Damaschke was hired to head the division as president of animation and family entertainment, and Luck was given a release date of March 19, 2021.[4] In April 2018, Luck was greenlit by Paramount Animation chief Mireille Soria.[5]

Skydance Animation signed on directors Alessandro Carloni (Kung Fu Panda 3) to direct Luck, Vicky Jenson (Shrek) to direct Spellbound[6]), and Nathan Greno (Tangled) to write and direct Pookoo (formerly known as Powerless).[7] Peggy Holmes (Secret of the Wings and The Pirate Fairy) was later announced as new director of Luck, replacing Carloni who left over creative differences.[8]

In January 2019, Skydance Animation hired former Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios CCO John Lasseter as Head of Animation, supplanting Damaschke.[9] This decision was met with disapproval from some contributors to various Skydance projects, owing to prior allegations of sexual misconduct against Lasseter during his time with Pixar.[10] Soria announced that the team at Paramount Animation would no longer work with Skydance due to the hiring of Lasseter.[11] Conversely, Damaschke stated that many people "[...] had strong feelings and felt like it was the right thing to do [...] and were excited to get to work with him" and it was "[...] definitely not a black-and-white situation."[12] Emma Thompson was to voice a character in Luck but left the project after Lasseter was hired.[13][14] Jane Fonda was cast as The Dragon in Luck.[15] Holly Edwards, who previously served as Skydance Animation's Head of Production, was promoted to the position of president at Skydance Animation.[16]

On April 2, 2020, composer Alan Menken revealed that he was working alongside Lasseter on a project for the studio,[17] which was later announced to be Split, which at that point was The Unbreakable Spell before retitled Spellbound.[18] Skydance formally acquired Ilion Animation Studios and rebranded it as Skydance Animation Madrid in April 2020.[19] On July 30, the studio named Shane Prigmore for the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Development for Animation, in which he will oversee the creative development of all feature films and television series.[20] That same month, it was announced that Luck and Spellbound were still going to be released by Paramount without Paramount Animation as part of their deal with Skydance Media, giving the two release dates of February 18, 2022, and November 11, 2022, respectively. Paramount's president of domestic distribution, Chris Aronson stated "These films not only continue our longstanding relationship with Skydance, but, along with Paramount Animation's own upcoming films, mean we will be releasing event-level animated films for years to come."[21] However, on December 16, 2020, Apple TV+ entered talks to take over the distribution rights to the films Luck and Spellbound.[22][23] Apple Original Films would replace Paramount for both Luck and Spellbound. More recently, in February 2021, Apple signed an overall deal with Skydance Animation which included animated films and television series. This includes a television adaptation of the novel The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi. The series has been greenlit for two seasons and was announced to feature showrunner Lauren Montgomery as both writer and executive producer with DiTerlizzi and Chad Quant.[24][25] She has since left the project and has been replaced by Bobs Gannaway, another of Lasseter's Disney-era colleagues. On June 2020, Shane Prigmore, an animation veteran who co-created Tangled: The Series, was hired as SVP Development at Skydance Animation. He will be tasked with overseeing the creative development of all films and TV series on the studio's production slate.[26]

On October 1, 2021, Skydance Animation released its first short film inspired by a true story from Joe Mateo called Blush. It was released on Apple TV+ as part of their multi-year deal. The ships from the short film became the mascots of the studio during the release of Luck, and a portion of Joy Ngiaw's score was used for the fanfare of the studio.[27]

In February 2022, it was announced that Brad Bird would revive his long-dormant project Ray Gunn for Skydance Animation after it was originally set up at Turner Feature Animation.[28] On March 16, 2022, Rich Moore revealed that he has entered into an exclusive, multi-year overall deal with Skydance Animation.[29] In July 2022, Ellison and Lasseter plan for Skydance Animation to make two feature films a year, with their theatrical strategy to be determined on a film-by-film basis. The company is also building a consumer products team to capitalize on its potential successes and will begin to open a 5.8-acre Santa Monica campus in October, expected to be completed by November 2023.[30]


Feature films[edit]


Films produced by Skydance Animation
Release Title Director(s) Producer(s) Writer(s) Composer(s) Distribution
Screenplay by Story by
August 5, 2022 Luck Peggy Holmes
Javier Abad
John Lasseter
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
David Eisenmann
Based on an original concept by:
Rebeca Carrasco
Juan De Dios
Julián Romero
John Debney Apple Studios
Kiel Murray Jonathan Aibel
Glenn Berger

Kiel Murray


Films produced by Skydance Animation
Release Title Director(s) Producer(s) Writer(s) Composer(s) Distribution Ref(s)
2023 Spellbound Vicky Jenson John Lasseter
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
David Lipman
Linda Woolverton
Lauren Hynek
Elizabeth Martin
Alan Menken
Alan Menken
Glenn Slater
Apple Studios [31]

In development[edit]

Films produced by Skydance Animation
Title Director(s) Producer(s) Writer(s) Composer(s) Distribution Ref(s)
Pookoo Nathan Greno Jennifer Magee-Cook Nathan Greno TBA Apple Studios [32]
Ray Gunn Brad Bird John Lasseter
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
Brad Bird
Based on an original concept by:
Brad Bird
Michael Giacchino [33][34]
Brad Bird
Matthew Robbins

Short films[edit]

Release Title Director Composer Distribution
October 1, 2021 Blush Joe Mateo Joy Ngiaw Apple Studios

Television series[edit]


Year Title Showrunners(s)/Developer(s) Network Co-Production Ref(s)
2023 WondLa Bobs Gannaway Apple TV+ Gotham Group [35][36][37]


Critical and public response[edit]

Film Budget Critical
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Luck $140–200 million[38] 48% (94 reviews)[39] 48 (21 reviews)[40]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 17, 2021[41] Original Score – Short Animated Film (Blush) Joy Ngiaw Won
Music + Sound Awards[42] 2022 Joy Ngiaw, Joe Mateo
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 16, 2022 Original Score – Animated Film (Luck) John Debney Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Skydance Lands $400M Investment to Expand Animation, Sports, Interactive Ambitions". The Hollywood Reporter. October 13, 2022.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (March 16, 2017). "David Ellison's Skydance Launching Animation Division With Spain's Ilion". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  3. ^ Busch, Anita (July 31, 2017). "Skydance's Steps Big Into Animation: 'Split' And 'Luck' Coming From Top Notch Ani Filmmakers". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (October 10, 2017). "Skydance Hires Bill Damaschke for Animation-Family Entertainment Post". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (April 25, 2018). "Paramount Grows Its Animation Slate With 'Monster on the Hill,' 'Luck'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  6. ^ "John Lasseter's Second Act". The Hollywood Reporter. July 27, 2022.
  7. ^ Busch, Anita (February 22, 2018). "Skydance Media Taps 'Tangled's Nathan Greno In Multiyear Deal, Will Direct 'Powerless'". Deadline. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Skydance Animation's First Film 'Luck' Lands New Director (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  9. ^ Lang, Brent (January 9, 2019). "Ousted Pixar Chief John Lasseter Hired by Skydance Animation". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Lang, Brent (January 15, 2019). "John Lasseter's Skydance Animation Tenure Is Already off to a Rocky Start". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  11. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (January 14, 2019). "Paramount Animation Chief Says Her Team Won't Be Working With John Lasseter at Skydance Post". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (September 26, 2019). "Producer Bill Damaschke on Bringing Baz Luhrmann's 'Moulin Rouge!' to Stage". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  13. ^ "Emma Thompson explains her John Lasseter letter". Southern California Public Radio. April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  14. ^ "Must Reads: Emma Thompson's letter to Skydance: Why I can't work for John Lasseter". Los Angeles Times. February 26, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Donnelly, Matt (February 17, 2021). "Jane Fonda to Voice Key Role in Apple/Skydance Film 'Luck'". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  16. ^ Donnelly, Matt (February 14, 2019). "Skydance Animation Names Holly Edwards President Under John Lasseter". Variety. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  17. ^ Talk Back with Alan Menken (2020). Young Artists of America. March 28, 2020. Archived from the original on November 20, 2022. Retrieved December 4, 2022 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ Giranda, Carolyn (May 20, 2020). "Alan Menken to Compose Original Songs and Score for Skydance Animation's 'Spellbound'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  19. ^ Grater, Tom (April 6, 2020). "Skydance Acquires Spain's Ilion Studios To Form Combined U.S.-Europe Animation Outfit". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  20. ^ Salinas, Victor (July 30, 2020). "Skydance Animation Hires Industry Veteran Shane Prigmore as SVP Development". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (July 20, 2020). "Skydance Animation's 'Luck,' 'Spellbound' Scheduled for 2022 Release". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  22. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Lang, Brent (December 16, 2020). "Skydance Animation in Talks to Move 'Luck,' 'Spellbound' to Apple (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Apple Makes Big Animation Commitment with New Skydance Animation Deal". Collider. February 17, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 17, 2021). "Apple & Skydance Animation Set Multi-Year Feature Film & TV Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "Apple Makes Big Animation Commitment with New Skydance Animation Deal". Collider. February 17, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  26. ^ "Skydance Animation Hires Industry Veteran Shane Prigmore as SVP Development". July 31, 2020.
  27. ^ "'Blush' Trailer: Apple TV+ Short Film from Skydance Animation". September 29, 2021.
  28. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (February 17, 2022). "Skydance Animation Brings 'The Incredibles' Brad Bird Into Fold To Direct His Animated Film Creation 'Ray Gunn'". Deadline Hollywood.
  29. ^ Grobat, Matt (March 16, 2022). "Oscar Winner Rich Moore Strikes Overall Deal With Skydance Animation". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  30. ^ "John Lasseter's Second Act". The Hollywood Reporter. July 27, 2022.
  31. ^ Sarto, Debbie (June 21, 2022). "Skydance Animation's 'Spellbound' Adds Oscar-Winning Voice Talent". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  32. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (April 6, 2020). "Skydance Media Acquires Animation Unit Of Madrid-Based Ilion Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  33. ^ "Skydance Animation Snatches Brad Bird's 'Ray Gunn'". February 17, 2022.
  34. ^ "Michael Giacchino to Score Brad Bird's 'Ray Gunn' | Film Music Reporter".
  35. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 17, 2021). "Apple & Skydance Animation Set Multi-Year Feature Film & TV Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. ^
  37. ^ DiTerlizzi, Tony [@TonyDiTerlizzi] (November 16, 2022). "In anticipation of the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G series coming to @AppleTV from @Skydance Animation next year, I had the pleasure of refreshing the cover art for The WondLa trilogy. These new editions will available in hardcover or paperback on September, 2023.✨📖✨" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 16, 2022. Retrieved December 4, 2022 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ Keegan, Rebecca; Giardina, Carolyn (July 27, 2022). "John Lasseter's Second Act". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  39. ^ "Luck". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  40. ^ "Luck". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  41. ^ "Hollywood Music in Media Awards Honor Billie Eilish, Hans Zimmer, Nicholas Britell, Rufus Wainwright and More". November 19, 2021.
  42. ^ Music+Sound Awards [@MASAwards] (October 13, 2022). "🏆 @JoyNgiaw it's time to celebrate! #MASAwards Best Original Composition in a Short Film WINNER is @JoyNgiaw for her score on Blush @skydanceanim @Skydance @AppleTVPlus. Big congratulations to you 🙌🙌🙌 View an extract here:" (Tweet). Retrieved December 4, 2022 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]