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Ex-Pixar team lands Netflix deal

Kuku Studios and Netflix are working on Go! Go! Cory Carson

Netflix has agreed an overall deal with a US prodco set up by a creative team that previously worked for Pixar, covering animated feature films and series.

Kuku Studios, which is already working with Netflix on forthcoming preschool series Go! Go! Cory Carson, will now exclusively produce content for the streamer.

Kuku Studios is led by Alex Woo, Stanley Moore, Tim Hahn and Erik Benson, whose credits include Pixar movies Ratatouille, Wall-e, Toy Story 3, Monsters University and Finding Dory.

Go! Go! Cory Carson, based the toy line Go! Go! Smart Wheels from VTech Electronics, is due to launch on Netflix early in 2020.

Kuku’s as-yet-untitled first animated feature film for Netflix, focusing on the power and magic of dreams, has been greenlit and will be produced out of Kuku’s studio in Berkeley, California.

“With Go! Go! Cory Carson, the creative team at Kuku proved that they can bring their vast cinematic experience into the preschool realm,” said Melissa Cobb, VP of original animation for Netflix.

In related news, Netflix has begun work on an adaptation of bestselling thriller The Woods by Harlan Coben, with whom the streamer struck a multi-year exclusive overall deal in 2018.

Billed as a Polish original series, the six-part mystery is directed by Leszek Dawid (You Are God) and Bartosz Konopka (Rabbit a la Berlin) and was written by Agata Malesińska and Wojtek Miłoszewski. ATM Grupa is in charge of production.

Set in both 1994 and 2019, The Woods tells the story of a Warsaw prosecutor who is still grieving the loss of his sister, who walked into the woods at a summer camp 25 years ago and was never seen again. However, the discovery of a homicide victim – a boy who vanished along with the prosecutor’s sister – reveals new clues over her disappearance.

Anna Nagler (The Coldest Game) has joined the show as a creative producer, while Andrzej Muszyński and Coben serve as executive producers.

Other shows Coben and Netflix are working on include British series The Stranger and Spanish drama El Inocente. The Woods marks Netflix’s second original series for Poland following fellow drama 1983. It has been financially supported by the Polish Film Institute.

“ATM Grupa has assembled a top-notch team of producers, writers and directors who have created a faithful adaptation of the book while adding local nuance and specificity of character to complete a gripping tale of innocence lost and the power of redemption,” said Michael Azzolino, director of international originals at Netflix.

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