Paramount and Skydance have already teamed up for their first animated feature, Luck, which will hit cinemas in early 2022. The two studios must feel pretty confident in that film, as they’ve already commissioned a second animated feature. This one is called Spellbound, and Shrek co-director Vicky Jenson has been hired to direct.
The story is set in a world of magic where a young girl must break the spell that has split her kingdom in two. The script has been written by Mulan scribes Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin as well as The Lion King writer Linda Woolverton. Legendary composer Alan Menken will write the original score and songs, and will hope to add to his eight Oscars.
Although there’s not much of a synopsis to go on, the film does already have a release date – November 11, 2022, which means it will arrive about nine months after Luck. Skydance Animation president Holly Edwards said of both projects:
“Luck and Spellbound create rich worlds and compelling characters that we know will resonate with audiences everywhere. It’s incredibly exciting to see our team of legendary creatives working around the clock and across the globe to bring these pictures to life”.
“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”, added Paramount distribution chief Chris Aronson.
Luck will be directed by Peggy Holmes and revolves around the unluckiest girl alive, who stumbles upon a never-before-seen world of good and bad luck, and joins forces with magical creatures to uncover a force more powerful than even luck itself.
If you’re thinking that these projects sound very Disney-esque, well, this might explain it: Edwards co-runs Skydance Animation with Pixar veteran John Lasseter, who was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by multiple women back in 2017, leading to a six month leave of absence and then “retiring”.
Because so few of these powerful men who (allegedly) commit these crimes actually face any sort of serious consequences, Lasseter was co-helming Skydance not long after.
While it’s encouraging to see the company backing female filmmakers and female-driven narratives, especially considering that Lasseter was also accused of holding back women’s careers at Pixar, it’s hard not to have a sour taste in the mouth. Do Paramount and Skydance need animated success that badly? Could these films not have been developed without Lasseter?
We’ll wait to hear more about both Spellbound and Luck, and whether any famous names become part of the voice cast.