The last few months haven’t exactly been kind to western animation. Between various canceled projects or removals of old series at HBO Max and in-progress Netflix series getting paused or completely shut downit can feel like the landscape is going to be in a very different place by the time 2023 rolls around.
Amidst all this, Illumination is looking to expand its films from kid-friendly fare like Minions and the upcoming Mario movie. Variety reports that the production company recently hired Mike Moon, who recently left Netflix after serving as its head of adult animation. In addition to being a senior creative advisor for Illumination, Moon’s new Moonlight label has the stated goal of “producing animated films that push beyond the family genre.”
“[Mike] has exceptional taste, deep experience and a strong vision for the films we intend to make together,” wrote Illumination CEO and founder Chris Meledandri in a press release. “I look forward to Mike and Moonlight making a substantial contribution to Illumination’s future.”
Said Moon, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at Illumination. Chris has created the benchmark for character, stories and innovation in animated films and I am honored to be a part of the future of this visionary studio.”
Outside of Netflix, Moon’s previous credits include Cartoon Network, Disney, and Sony. His resume ranges from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends so Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Inside Job, and The Mitchells vs. the Machines. More recently, he served as an executive producer on Kid Cudi’s Intergalactic series for Netflix. One of the biggest hurdles around getting animation to be recognized as a worthwhile medium has been that so much of it is kids movies or shows. If Moon and Illumination can pull it off, then more variety would go a long way in changing the industry’s public image.
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