The Oscar-winning animation studio Aardman Animations has joined the Netflix fold. The two companies announced today they will team up for “A Winter’s Tale From Shaun the Sheep,” a half-hour special to air in the U.S. and other countries during the 2021 holiday season.
The news arrives just before the Valentine’s Day Netflix release of “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.” The sci-fi comedy is the sequel to Aardman’s Oscar-nominated “Shaun the Sheep Movie” (2015), which grossed $106 million at the international box office. Though the holiday special is clearly courting comparisons to William Shakespeare with its sheepish title, the official synopsis doesn’t bear a whole lot of resemblance to the bard’s late-career comedy.
The official synopsis for “A Winter’s Tale From Shaun the Sheep” reads:
“The world’s favorite sheep stars in his very own winter’s tale. Shaun’s seasonal excitement turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the Flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present? Prepare for a ‘Santastic’ adventure as everyone learns the true value of Christmas!”
“A Winter’s Tale From Shaun the Sheep” was written by Giles Pilbrow from a story by Pilbrow and Mark Burton. The stop-motion animated special will be directed for Aardman by Steve Cox and produced by Richard Beek. Mark Burton, Sarah Cox, and Carla Shelley serve as executive producers.
With this latest project in the works, Netflix bolsters its growing slate of nearly a dozen animated features. The streamer is heading into this weekend’s Academy Awards with Best Animated Feature contender “Klaus,” the charming Santa origin story with innovative 2-D animation, as well as “I Lost My Body,” the acclaimed French existential mystery about a severed hand. After only two years in the game, Netflix has quickly established itself as a viable alternative to the Hollywood studios and a direct competitor to indies from GKids and Sony Pictures Classics.
First up for Aardman and Netflix is “Farmageddon,” from StudioCanal. Co-directed by Aardman animators Richard Phelan and Will Becher, and revolving around a martian toddler, “Farmageddon” will stream in early 2020. Netflix will support an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run next season.
“A Winter’s Tale From Shaun the Sheep” will begin shooting in late 2020 and make its debut on Netflix in the U.S., Latin America, Spain, CIS, and Greece late next year. BBC will premiere the film in the UK.