The new studio will be led by former Disney execs, Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein.
Annapurna Pictures, a media company that co-produced a number of animated projects including Sausage Party and Missing Link, is establishing its own in-house animation arm that will be co-led by former Disney animation executives Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein.
Millstein, the former Walt Disney Animation Studios president, and Baird, who, among others, worked as a screenwriter on Big Hero 6 and Monsters University, already collaborated with Annapurna on the oft-delayed animated movie Nimona. The project will debut on Netflix next year and will be the first release of the newly-formed Annapurna Animation division.
"Animation is a natural extension for us and it became an instant fit when we started to collaborate with Andrew and Robert," said Annapurna's president Nathan Gary. "They both bring the kind of energy, quality and creative vision that connects all Annapurna divisions and projects."
The duo previously led Blue Sky Studios, the Disney-owned animation studio known for creating the Ice Age movies, which was shut down in 2021. The studio was responsible for the production of Nimona, however, following the announcement of its closure, the animated movie moved to Netflix.
Andrew Millstein and Robert Baird
According to Annapurna founder and CEO Megan Ellison, Millstein and Baird’s contributions to Nimona’s production were the key factors that influenced bringing the project home. "We are excited to have Andrew and Robert joining Annapurna. Working with them and the Nimona team has been an incredible experience and we cannot wait for audiences to see the film," she said.
Nimona is an adaptation of a graphic novel by the same name written by Nathan Stevenson. Its story revolves around a Knight who "is framed for a crime he didn't commit" and a shapeshifting teen Nimona who can help him prove his innocence but, at the same time, might be a monster the Knight has sworn to kill. The animated movie will be starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Nimona and Riz Ahmed as Knight.