Illumination, the studio behind the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise, has enlisted Mike Moon to form a new label, Moonlight. The goal is to expand the range of films Illumination makes to more than the child-friendly rate that was usual in the trade.
Moon was most recently Netflix’s head of adult animation, a position he resigned in July to “pursue other opportunities.” His departure came when the streamer, battered by a swooning stock price, fired animators and reversed his space ambitions. In addition to his new role as president of Moonlight, the company said Moon will serve as senior creative advisor to Illumination. Moonlight’s films will be distributed under Illumination’s distribution partnership with Universal Pictures. Illumination said the goal is for Moonlight to “make animated films that go beyond the family genre”.
“We have an exceptionally talented group of artists, filmmakers and producers at Illumination and we believe there is no better compliment to this team than Mike and the new company we are working with to build,” said Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination, in a statement. “He has exceptional taste, deep experience and a strong vision for the films we want to make together. I look forward to Mike and Moonlight making a substantial contribution to the future of Illumination.”
Moon started his career as an animation artist during 15 years. He then held executive positions at Sony, Disney and Cartoon Network. At those companies and at Netflix, Moon worked on films like ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, ‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ and ‘Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends’. Moon recently worked as a producer on Netflix’s coming “Entergalactic”, a music streaming special from Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi.
Moon stated, “I’m excited to join the amazing team at Illumination. Chris has set the benchmark for character, storytelling and innovation in animated films and I am honored to be a part of the future of this visionary studio.”
In addition to anything to do with “Minions,” Illumination’s films include “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and ‘Sing’. The company is also working on a new Super Mario Bros. movie that will premiere in 2023.
Moonlight will be based at Illumination’s headquarters in Santa Monica, with its films produced by Illumination Studios Paris.