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Apple and Skydance Animation Formally Announce Multi-Year Partnership

David Ellison (Left) and Jon Lasseter (Right)

Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Following Variety‘s exclusive report in December, Apple is officially announcing its multi-year content partnership with David Ellison’s Skydance Animation.

The agreement, which includes the previously announced feature films “Luck” and “Spellbound,” will also include what Apple billed as “first-ever theatrical-quality animated television series” for Apple TV Plus subscribers.

Skydance Animation is a division of Ellison’s Skydance Media, which is run by John Lasseter and president Holly Edwards. The deal reunites Lasseter with the Cupertino giant decades after he founded Pixar with the late Steve Jobs.

The first series up is “The Search for WondLa,” which scored a two-season order to start, based on the beloved book series by Tony DiTerlizzi. The Apple original will be written and executive produced by showrunner Lauren Montgomery, with Chad Quant, DiTerlizzi, and Gotham Group also serving as executive producers. Several other titles are expected to be announced in the coming months.

“Luck,” from director Peggy Holmes and writer Kiel Murray, follows the unluckiest girl in the world thrown into battle in an unseen world of good and bad luck. The musical feature “Spellbound” follows a young female lead hoping to break the spell that divides her magical kingdom, and comes from director Vicky Jenson and writers Lauren Hynek, Elizabeth Martin and Linda Woolverton.

In just over a year since launch, Apple Originals have been honored with 242 awards nominations and 66 wins, including Critics Choice Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, an NAACP Image Award, a Peabody Award and more.

Previously engaged in a theatrical distribution deal with Paramount Pictures, the animation pact makes Apple Studios a serious player in both TV and film formats. The service already counts the recent Golden Globe nominee for best animated picture “Wolfwalkers,” Daytime Emmy Award-winner for Outstanding Children’s Program “Ghostwriter,” and Daytime Emmy winner “Snoopy in Space,” based on the “Peanuts” character.

Variety's Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.


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