The Head of Skydance Animation, John Lasseter, has been hard at work developing and releasing several new animated projects. As the director of Frozen, Toy Story, and Cars, his experience in the industry is unparalleled, and his talents shine through in new releases Blush, Luck, and Spellbound. These titles were recently announced as a collaboration between Apple Original Films and the animation division of David Ellison’s Skydance.
Blush is a short film that’s currently streaming on Apple TV+. The story is a metaphor for former Disney story artist Joe Mateo, who lost his wife to breast cancer. It features a horticulturist who travels through space and eventually lands on a barren dwarf planet. After facing a desolate existence, he’s saved by a female character who plants beautiful and life-saving succulents.
John Lasseter was touched by the sincerity of this project, which included numerous references to Mateo’s wife, Mary Ann. Even the title was an homage to how quick she was to blush. He said that the project provided hope for both him and Mateo during the pandemic.
Luck is a full-length animated feature starring Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Flula Borg, Lil Rel Howery, John Ratzenberger, and Adelynn Spoon. It’s scheduled to stream on Apple TV+ on August 5, 2022. The movie tells the story of a young girl, Sam Greenfield, who ages out of the foster care system. She also happens to be the unluckiest person in the world. Soon after striking out on her own, she discovers the Land of Luck and a full cast of magical characters who can help her change her luck.
This story explores many different themes, including lost love, the power of family, and the meaning of fate. Adelynn Spoon plays a young girl who lives at the foster care home. She believes she’ll find a family if only she can find a lucky penny, a feat that Sam is desperate to accomplish throughout the movie.
Spellbound is scored by legend Alan Menken, directed by Vicky Jenson, and produced by David Lipman (the team that brought Shrek to life). Slated for a November 11 release, potentially alongside a theatrical release, the story details the struggle of a young girl to rescue her family from the darkness. Filled with magic and sorcery, this tale is fleshed out by a captivating world and compelling characters.
Menken, the same man who composed classics like “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and the original songs from Tangled, is excited to be a part of this new project. The movie also features writers Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin of Mulan and Linda Woolverton of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Chris Montan of Frozen will produce. The cast is yet to be announced, though it’s clear from the cast of Luck that there will be some big names attached to this project.
This division of Skydance is still getting off the ground, though the talent that it’s managed to attract is notable. President Holly Edwards, formerly of Dreamworks, has more than 20 years of experience in the field. John Lasseter has directed some of the most beloved films of all time, including Toy Story 3 (the first animated film to surpass $1 billion global earnings). This team has a talent for understanding what it means to appeal to both children and adults, presenting universal themes in clever and unexpected packages.