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‘The Little Prince’ Goes to Netflix

'The Little Prince' Goes to Netflix

Netflix has scooped up domestic rights to animated Cesar-winner "The Little Prince," which was ditched by U.S. distributor Paramount.

The studio is currently trying to wrap itself in winning colors as CEO Philippe Dauman looks for the right strategic buyer for a minority stake. The studio has been trying to figure out an animation strategy since the defection of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s major supplier DreamWorks Animation to Twentieth Century Fox. This also reveals the Hollywood majors’ numbers-crunching anxiety on marketing costs vs. theatrical returns.

That’s something Netflix doesn’t have to worry about. 

The CG and stop-motion animation feature directed by Mark Osborne (Oscar-nominated "Kung Fu Panda") debuted out of competition at Cannes and has already grossed $100 million internationally, including Canada. It was scheduled to open stateside on March 18, but will now be made available via Netflix streaming in a few months. 

The well-reviewed family-friendly "The Little Prince," based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 1943 children’s classic, with a voice cast including Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams and Paul Rudd, would likely have scored far better in theaters than Paramount’s most recent animated pickup, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s R-rated Oscar-nominee "Anomalisa," which so far has grossed less than $3 million in North American theatrical release. But that left a bitter taste, as Disney/Pixar’s "Inside Out" inevitably won the Oscar, and Disney blockbuster "Zootopia" is still going strong.

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Comments

Virginia

BIG mistake on Paramounts part. Lack of intelligence is my guess. Thinking with their banks rather than their heads.

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Davin Lacksonen

I don’t understand. How is this a good economic move? Do they not think a well-reviewed animation film with a long list of A-listers will make them money? Is it in the wake of ‘Zootopia’ that worries them? This is disheartening and, correct me if I’m wrong, unprecedented in terms of a wide release being ditched entirely at so late a last minute.

Jenni Johnson

From what I’ve heard, Philippe Dauman taking over Paramount (and the Viacom properties) wasn’t going to bode well for any of those companies. Do you agree? And with him selling 40% of the Paramount studio lot, what do you think the future of Paramount will be? It sounds like a lot of big names are jumping ship (didn’t Steven Spielberg just leave, or did he return?).

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