Netflix is acquiring more VFX and animation companies with the acquisition of Australia’s premiere studio Animal Logic. For over three decades Animal Logic has been at the very heart of Australian effects and animation. From its humble beginnings in Crows Nest in Sydney, the company has been both the technical and creative heart of an incredible array of Australian and International films, The Matrix, 300, Babe, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and many more. The company was started by Zareh Nalbandian and VFX supervisor Chris Godfrey built from the original Video Paint Brush Company, a leading Australian title and broadcast animation company.
“Today, we announced that we will be acquiring leading animation studio Animal Logic, with ~800 amazing people mostly in Sydney and Vancouver, which will help us accelerate the development of our animation production capabilities and reinforces our commitment to building a world-class animation studio. We’ve been partnering with Animal Logic for two years.” The company stated in its shareholder release. “Together, we’ll create an animation studio that will produce some of our largest animated feature films. We’ll fund the purchase from our existing cash balance. The deal is subject to certain regulatory approvals and we anticipate closing later this year.”
Animal Logic has worked hard to be seen as a creative powerhouse and not just a VFX ‘gun for hire’, it has made the transition that so many have tried and few have succeeded at: moving from vendor to author. Animal Logic’s move into animated features succeeded where so many have failed. But along the way it has also built an impressive team of researchers and developers, building complex and significant tools from it’s earliest involvement with Flame to its Glimpse Render and beyond.
The company’s work in animation really started with films such as Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and then exploded with its work on The Lego Movies and Peter Rabbit.
After 25 years, Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with 222 million paid memberships in over 190 countries watching TV series, feature films and documentaries in a wide variety of genres and languages.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said last year in the Netflix Q2 Earnings Report that Netflix is building out its animation unit with the hopes of competing with the Disney Animations studios in the area of family animation. Two months ago it was reported that Ron Howard’s directorial debut animated feature The Shrinking of Treehorn had been picked up by Netflix. The animated musical is set in New York City during the holidays and was written by Rob Lieber, based on the children’s book by Florence Parry Heide. The film is being produced by both Animal Logic and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.
The Animal Logic purchase builds on Netflix’s previously announced multi-year deal, with DNEG, which is reported to be worth at least $350 million (over the period up until 2025). And with acquisitions in VFX, in particular visual effects studio Scanline VFX, who most recently worked on Stranger Things. In its first four weeks, Stranger Things season four generated 1.3 billion hours viewed, making it Netflix biggest season of English TV ever.
While Netflix has had layoffs, The streamer revealed in its second-quarter shareholder letter that its share of total TV viewing in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 7.7% in June, up from 6.6% in June 2021, according to Deadline.
It is worth noting Netflix is also moving into gaming, since its recent games division launch it has already released a small selection of licensed mobile games. “Since last November, we’ve released new games every few weeks, with the portfolio growing to the current total of 24,” the company stated. The games are all intended to be accessible to broad audiences, and span several genres and categories, including racing with Asphalt Xtreme, the digital version of the irreverent card game Exploding Kittens, zombies in Into the Dead 2 and the knitting for cats in Knittens.”