Netflix cost cutting hits Zim creator Jabangwe’s production ‘Tunga’
By Laurén Alexa
Zimbabwe-born creator Godwin Jabangwe’s ‘Tunga’ has reportedly been sent back into development while previously unannounced ‘Escape from Beverly Hills’ will re-enter the open market; the streamer has yet to disclose the number of layoffs planned.
The ongoing effects of recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue to be felt in the animation industry, as Netflix has reportedly shut down two films in pre-production and will cut a yet undisclosed number of jobs as part of a division reorganization, according to Variety.
The streamer has yet to reply to AWN emails regarding the report. The division laid off 30in September of last year.
Tunga, purchased in 2019 from Zimbabwe-born creator Godwin Jabangwe, has supposedly been sent back into development with the streamer. Previously unannounced Escape from Beverly Hills will re-enter the open market.
Since joining Netflix in early 2022, animation vice president Karen Toliver has focused on the unit’s long-term strategy of offering a robust project slate. To keep that promise amidst cuts, the streamer will now seek third-party output deals to keep productivity consistent.
To that end, Star Trek: Prodigy (cancelled mid-season at Paramount Plus) will now stream on Netflix by the end of 2023.
Ironically, Netflix Animation experienced its most successful year in 2023.
The division won the Best Animated Feature Oscar for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, recently released the critically acclaimed Nimona, and boasts the anticipated upcoming titles Leo, starring Adam Sandler, and Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.