It’s the latest animated title at the streamer to get the axe, following executive producer Ava DuVernay’s “Wings of Fire,” the toddler-friendly “Antiracist Baby” and “With Kind Regards From Kindergarten” earlier this year.
With “Ember,” as well as the previously scrapped animated projects, sources at Netflix say the decision is creatively driven, not cost-related. Animated TV shows and movies take longer to make compared to live-action, and it’s not uncommon to send projects back into development or part ways entirely over the lengthy timeline.
Pablos retains rights to “Ember” and will be able to shop the film elsewhere. An animation veteran, Pablos started the company SPA Studios and developed the concepts for cartoon hits like “Despicable Me” and “Smallfoot.” He wrote and directed the Christmas-themed “Klaus,” which was Netflix’s first original animated feature film. It received positive reviews and landed an Oscar nomination for best animated feature.
Netflix over the summer announced plans to make “Ember,” which remains in production. The story is described as an “epic adventure tale of humankind’s quest for fire told through the eyes of young Dikika who embarks on an impossible race to a distant volcano to retrieve the precious spark that will save her tribe.”
Sources at Netflix stress the company is still committed to series and films geared toward kids and families. Recent and upcoming releases include “Wendell & Wild,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” and “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.”