Netflix will produce “Escape From Hat,” an upcoming animated feature film from “Kung Fu Panda” director Mark Osborne. The announcement is part of a larger drive by the streaming service to become a major player in family entertainment. Netflix has recently unveiled a bold slate of films and shows aimed at kids and parents from the likes of Nora Twomey (“The Secret of Kells”), Jorge Gutierrez (“The Book of Life”), and Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”).
“Escape From Hat” is set in a fairy tale world. Here, black cats are bad and magic rabbits are good. This fragile balance is threatened when one rabbit is cast into a mysterious realm of danger and shadow as part of a magic trick gone wrong. Now, he must find a way to escape from a magician’s hat, hence the title. “Escape From Hat” boasts a screenplay by Osborne and writer Adam Kline (“Artemis Fowl”). It is adapted from Kline’s upcoming novel of the same name. Production will begin this month.
Osborne will direct and produce with Jinko Gotoh, who worked with Osborne on the critically acclaimed feature “The Little Prince” and serves as producer on the 2019 Netflix animated feature film “Klaus.” Osborne previously collaborated with Netflix vice president of kids and family Melissa Cobb when she was an executive at DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind “Kung Fu Panda.”
“‘Escape From Hat’ tells a story about friendship and magic, which perfectly mirrors how I feel about getting to reunite with my friend Mark at Netflix after 10 years,” Cobb said in a statement. “I cannot wait for audiences around the world to immerse themselves in our fantastical magic trick gone awry, where they will find an epic and imaginative world of good versus evil.”
Netflix expects the film to be released in 2022.
“Netflix is shaking up the animated feature world in highly inventive ways, including offering filmmakers the rare opportunity to turn their dream project into a reality,” Osborne said. “I’m thrilled that ‘Escape From Hat’ is now one of them.”