Netflix said no to Apple TV+’s Wolfwalkers
James R | On 31, Oct 2020
Netflix said no to Wolfwalkers, the new animation from Cartoon Saloon, one of its directors confirmed.
The film, which is the latest from the Irish animation studio behind the Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells, The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea, is set in Kilkenny during the 17th-century occupation by Oliver Cromwell’s forces. It follows Robyn, a young apprentice hunter whose father, Bill, is hired to wipe out the last of the wolf pack in the woods surrounding the town. In the forest, she meets the free-spirited Mebh, a girl from a mysterious tribe rumoured to have the ability to transform into wolves by night. As they search for Mebh’s missing mother, Robyn uncovers a secret that turns her seemingly simple world upside down, leading to a magical tale of friendship and understanding.
Wolfwalkers is out now in UK cinemas, released by Wildcard Distribution, before arriving on Apple TV+ next month. But the film almost ended up at a different streaming service, co-director Tomm Moore revealed in an interview with us.
“Netflix said no to Wolfwalkers early on, and I think they regretted it,” he told us.
The film, which we gave five stars in our review, arrives just as Netflix plans to step up its animation output, with Ted Sarandos recently saying in a Variety interview that it plans to release six animated features a year. Indeed, Cartoon Saloon is already working with Netflix on My Father’s Dragon, a 2D family feature from The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey based on the novels by Ruth Stiles Gannett.
“I think at the start, they were tentatively dipping their toe in the water,” added Moore. “And I think when we pitched Wolfwalkers, they were doing Klaus and doing My Father’s Dragon already, and that was enough. Now it seems like they’re like “Right, let’s go”. I had lunch in there with Phil [Rynda] and while I was having lunch I met like Glen Keane, Jorge Gutierrez, Chris Williams, like all these awesome animators from Disney and DreamWorks, and they’re all at Netflix now. So you get the feeling that they’re really gonna, they’re gonna do some amazing stuff, you know?”
Apple TV+, meanwhile, has ambitions of its own, with a multi-year deal signed this year with the Maurice Sendak Foundation to produce new series and specials based on Sendak’s much-loved books, as well as a partnership with the Jim Henson Company to reboot Fraggle Rock and a deal to make Apple TV+ the exclusive home of the Peanuts franchise.
Wolfwalkers will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on 11th December. For where you can find the film on the big screen, click here – and read our full interview with Tomm Moore and co-director Ross Stewart here.
Wolfwalkers is available on Apple TV+, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, with a seven-day free trial. For more information on Apple TV+ and how to get it, click here.