Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon has been around for nearly 20 years, though their most famous feature titles have come in the last decade. The studio counts Oscar-nominated films The Secret of Kells (2009), Song of the Sea (2014), and The Breadwinner (2017) as their only three major feature releases, but that might be about to change thanks to a possible deal with Apple, Inc.
Bloomberg reports that, as part of Apple’s push into original programming, there are plans for an animated feature film that will be produced through Cartoon Saloon, possibly with even more films to follow. The deal is not finalized, no movie is currently under production as part of the deal, and a potential release date would be more than a year away, but it’s clear that Apple is taking the animation side of its original content plans very seriously. What’s less clear, however, is just how Apple plans to release that film; a theatrical release is currently still required for an Academy Award qualification, so that’s certainly in the cards despite the company’s plans to push into the digital content arena. We can expect to see the first fruits of Apple’s plans in 2019, though whether that includes this particular animated feature remains to be seen.
As for Cartoon Saloon, the production company is still moving ahead with Wolfwalkers, the third feature film to be directed by Tomm Moore. Production on that film is slated to start up later this year. That might mean that Nora Twomey is freed up to direct an animated feature for Apple, following up on her co-director efforts on The Secret of Kells and her directorial work on The Breadwinner. That would be a big get for Apple.
On the small screen, Cartoon Saloon also has the Annie Awards-nominated preschool series Puffin Rock and the award-winning children’s series, Skunk Fu! It was also recently reported during a presentation by Disney at Annecy that the production company would also be making the animated series Vikingskool for the Mouse House’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa market. Stay tuned for more as we hear it!