Entertainment company, Annapurna, is launching a new animation division co-led by former Disney animation execs Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein. The duo recently collaborated with Annapurna on the highly anticipated animated film Nimona, which premieres on Netflix next year.
“Robert and I have had an inspiring experience collaborating with Megan, Nathan, and Annapurna,” said Millstein. “We’re excited to bring incredible animated stories to Annapurna’s portfolio of talent-led projects.”
Baird and Millstein previously headed Fox/Disney’s Blue Sky Studios, where they led over 500 filmmakers and were responsible for developing and producing Blue Sky’s feature animation slate. During Millstein’s tenure as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, the company released numerous blockbusters, including Big Hero 6, ZOOTOPIA, Moana, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. A longtime screenwriter, Baird’s credits include Monsters Inc., Cars, Monsters University, Big Hero 6, and Ferdinand.
“We instantly felt at home at Annapurna,” said Baird. “Their vision is extremely compelling and is a deep match with our values and the types of impactful stories we want to help bring to life.”
“We are excited to have Andrew and Robert joining Annapurna,” said Annapurna founder and CEO Megan Ellison. “Working with them and the Nimona team has been an incredible experience, and we cannot wait for audiences to see the film. We believe adding animation alongside our other divisions, in combination with the depth of our catalog, will lead to tremendous opportunities. Anything is possible.”
“Animation is a natural extension for us, and it became an instant fit when we started to collaborate with Andrew and Robert,” said Annapurna president Nathan Gary. “They both bring the kind of energy, quality, and creative vision that connects all Annapurna divisions and projects.”
Annapurna’s debut animated project with Baird and Millstein will be Nimona, directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane and produced by Julie Zackary and Karen Ryan. The film had been in production at Blue Sky before the studio was shut down.
In Television, Annapurna earned 12 Emmy nominations earlier this year between The Staircase and Pam & Tommy. In addition, Vanessa Bayer’s comedy series I Love That for You on Showtime premiered in May, and Sausage Party: Foodtopia is in production for Amazon Prime Video with Sony, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg at Point Grey. Up next to be released are The Changeling for Apple + and Dead Ringers for Amazon Prime Video, both currently in post-production.
This year Annapurna Interactive released the hugely popular Stray and Neon White games. In addition, the company recently announced a partnership with Konami on the upcoming title Silent Hill Townfall.