Netflix officially laid off 30 employees this past Wednesday from their animation staff. In a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the streaming giant is restructuring their company due to a declining number of subscribers that began last Spring. Netflix lost over 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022, which was followed by a tremendous loss of 970,000 subscribers in the second quarter of the year. There was a previous layoff of 70-plus employees in animation and multiple canceled projects that included Meghan Markle's Pearl, which made the animation side of the studio begin a restructuring.
The company is in the process of opening a Netflix Animation office in Burbank, CA to develop their upcoming feature animation projects. Netflix Animation is now being led by VP of animation film content Karen Toliver and VP of animation film production Traci Balthazor. The recent layoffs reflect the streaming service's intent to reorganize their animation company under the pair. Some of the upcoming projects that will be released by Netflix Animation will be Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, The Sea Beast, and even a Chicken Run sequel.
The most recent Netflix series, The Sandman, launched at number three on the Nielsen charts but recently made its way to number one on the charts. Previously, Gaiman revealed while talking with Entertainment Weekly why he refused to come aboard previous Sandman projects.
"I had refused to get involved," Gaiman said of previous adaptations, most recently one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached to both direct and star in. "I'd refused to write them; I refused to be the executive producer. I wouldn't do it because I knew that if I did, I would lose the only power that I had, which was to be able to speak out against a bad Sandman movie. Fortunately, Sandman was just too expensive for anybody to justify making. And if you're trying to make a Sandman movie, the first question is, what do you throw out? Because Sandman, by the time it was finished, is 3,000 pages of comic. So what is your movie then?"
Gaiman went on to recall some of the bad adaptations that almost happened, including a version from Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary that was over as soon as he pitched it to the heads of Warner Bros. He also spoke about a version from producer Jon Peters (of Kevin Smith's Superman movie with a giant spider fame), adding: "There was a version of the script, and I'll never forget the first line: 'A-ha, foolish mortals! As if your puny weapons could hurt me, the mighty Lord of Dreams, the Sandman!' And it got worse from there."
Tom Sturridge leads the all-star cast for the series playing the titular character and Lord of Dreams. He stars alongside Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Asim Chaudhry as Abel, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps, David Thewlis as John Dee, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, Stephen Fry as Gilbert, Patton Oswalt as the voice of Dream's raven Matthew, .and as Dream's siblings, Mason Alexander Park as Desire and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death. The first season of the series is now streaming on Netflix.
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