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Audiences Will Soon Be ‘Spellbound’ by Skydance Animation’s Latest Production

Magic and luck have long been major thematic elements in animated movie-making. With the upcoming release of Spellbound, John Lasseter’s next feature film with Skydance Animation, it looks like animated magic is here to stay.

The film follows a magical teen, Princess Elian, who tries to save her family and kingdom from a battle between light and dark forces. It’s a coming-of-age tale that promises to tug at heartstrings, like many of John Lasseter’s other Skydance Animation projects, Blush and Luck.

What We Know About Skydance Animation’s Spellbound

In true magical story fashion, not much more is yet known about the storyline of Spellbound. (There’s something to be said for giving audiences the gift of anticipation…)

What is known about the Skydance Animation project is that Rachel Zegler (Wednesday), who brought the character of Maria in 2021’s West Side Story to life, is set to voice Princess Elian. Zegler is joined by Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, who play Queen Ellsmere and King Solon.

Elian shares the kingdom with her parents, Ellsmere and Solon, which she’s trying to save with the help of her magical abilities and a few sure-to-be-comic sidekicks. Funny man Nathan Lane joins the cast as Oracle of the Sun, as does John Lithgow as Minister Bolinar.

According to Skydance Animation President Holly Edwards, this story, with its compelling characters, magical elements, and fantasy setting, is sure to be a big hit with audiences.

Who Is on the Production Team and Crew of Spellbound?

It isn’t only the voice talent on Spellbound that has some significant talent. The production team and crew of Spellbound feature several industry stars. In addition to John Lasseter, the team includes director Vicky Jensen, who brought Shrek and Shark Tale to the screen.

Writers Lauren Hynek, Elizabeth Martin, and Linda Woolverton penned the script. Alan Menken, of Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas fame, is also lending his musical talents to this Skydance Animation production.

Some Other Spellbound Facts

At one time, the release date for this Skydance Animation production was said to be in early October of this year. However, according to IMDb, audiences can expect a release in 2023 (or possibly, 2024, according to some industry publications).

As it is with many movie productions, Spellbound has undergone some changes. It has undergone two name changes (Split and The Unbreakable Spell) in addition to the change of release dates.

Still, there’s a lot to be hopeful about. Skydance Media has embraced live-action and animated stories and multiple distribution outlets, including Apple TV+. Adding John Lasseter to not only Spellbound but to Skydance Animation in general means, we can expect more Oscar-caliber stories from the animation studio in the future.

During his time at Disney and Pixar, Lasseter developed a reputation as a cutting-edge advocate for animated stories, including digitally animated films. In part, animated film fans have him to thank for masterpieces like Toy Story and Up.

Spellbound and the Toy Market

Given Spellbound’s intended audience – families with young kids – it is probably no surprise that the upcoming animated flick already has a toy licensing deal. PMI Limited and Spin Master are working with Skydance Media to create toys like dolls, vehicles, stationery, keychains, and games.

The addition of a toy line in the mix is also a nod to John Lasseter’s influence. According to the LA Times, toy licensing and other types of licensing account for up to $8 billion annually. Some say that that number can go as high as $23 billion.

Skydance Animation’s Spellbound is set to hit theaters in 2023. It’s John Lasseter’s second feature film with Skydance Animation. He’s the head of the animation for the production company, as well as a producer on the film.

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