Apple could be about to enter movie business with animated feature

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Cartoon Saloon
A shot from Cartoon Saloon's "The Breadwinner."
Photo: Cartoon Saloon

Apple is reportedly negotiating with Cartoon Saloon, an Irish Oscar-nominated animation studio, for the distribution rights for what would be Apple’s first animated feature film.

A deal is supposedly close to being reached, although there are scant details beyond this. Cartoon Saloon has previously produced three Academy Award-nominated animations including Secret of Kells, The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea. Its preschool series, Puffin Rock can be found on Netflix, and is also popular in China.

Cartoon Saloon co-founder Tomm Moore is due to start production later this year on his third feature, Wolfwalkers. Whether this is the property Apple is interested in bidding on is not clear from Bloomberg‘s recent story.

Apple’s original content ambitions

Apple has so far signed around 16 different TV shows into development — in addition to the non-scripted series such as Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps the company has already released. However, it has also ventured into other types of content production and distribution including documentaries, music videos, and more.

Apple has yet to reveal exactly how these shows will be made available to customers. While it is certainly nothing definite, the company recently signed a Writers Guild of America master contract promising writers greater benefits for shows that air for free online. That is in contrast to the subscription model that companies like Netflix have employed. Whether that offers a hint about Apple’s plans remains to be seen.

Although Apple doesn’t have direct experience of producing animations before, the company does have close ties with Pixar thanks former CEO Steve Jobs’ role running both companies.