‘Despicable Me’ Lighting Studio Hires Netflix Exec Mike Moon

Illumination, the studio behind the “Despicable Me” franchise, has tapped Mike Moon to form a new label, Moonlight. The goal is to expand the range of films Illumination makes beyond the children’s fare that has been its stock in the trade.

Moon most recently served as head of adult animation at Netflix, a post he resigned from in July to “pursue other opportunities.” His exit came as the streamer, hit by the stock price crash, was laying off animators and curtailing his ambitions in the space. In addition to his new role as president of Moonlight, the company said Moon will serve as chief creative adviser to Illumination. The Moonlight films will be distributed under Illumination’s distribution partnership with Universal Pictures. Illumination said that Moonlight’s goal is “to produce animated films that go beyond the familiar 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 partnering to build,” said Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, in a declaration. “He has exceptional taste, deep experience and a strong vision for the films we intend to make together. I look forward to Mike and Moonlight making a substantial contribution to the future of Illumination.”

Moon began his career as an animation artist for 15 years. She later took on executive roles at Sony, Disney, and Cartoon Network. At those companies and at Netflix, Moon worked on movies like “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.” Moon recently served as a producer on the upcoming Netflix movie. “Entergalactic,” a music broadcast special by Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi.

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Moon stated, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at Illumination. Chris has created the benchmark for characters, stories and innovation in animated film and I am honored to be a part of this visionary studio’s future.”

In addition to all things “Minions,” Illumination movies include “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch”, “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Sing”. The company is also working on a new Super Mario Bros. movie set for release in 2023.

Moonlight will be based at Illumination headquarters in Santa Monica, with its films produced by Illumination Studios Paris.

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