The Gorillaz Animated Movie Has Been Canceled At Netflix

Gorillaz is a band that pretty much everyone has heard of, but only their biggest fans know of their complicated and often very goofy lore. What started off as a collaboration between Blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett has become arguably the most successful virtual band of all time, with Stuart "2D" Pot, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs amassing a loyal legion of fans. Thanks to the band's cartoony appearances, an animated film about them would work extremely well, and they got pretty close to having one thanks to Netflix.

Unfortunately, Netflix has slashed its animated output over the past year, and according to Albarn, the Gorillaz film was one of their sacrifices. In an interview with the Dutch website Humo, the singer refused to name names, but said that their first foray into the medium of film was canceled due to Netflix's animation budget cuts.

"The streaming platform for which we were making the film has withdrawn," said Albarn, according to the English translation of the Humo interview. "They started to panic because they were making too much content and decided to cut back on their movie offerings. And, as has been classic Hollywood practice for decades, the guy we were working with has moved on to another company."

So, how do we know that Albarn was talking about Netflix? In an Apple Music interview from 2021, he directly name-dropped the streamer as their partner (via Collider), expressing excitement for a then-upcoming writing session.

They ain't got a chance

Funnily enough, this was not the first time Gorillaz had a movie announced and then eventually canceled. Back in 2002, the band announced that they would be featured in an animated film called "Celebrity Harvest," which was teased as "a very dark film" involving zombies and the price of fame after the success of their self-titled debut. However, by the time 2005's classic "Demon Days" was released, "Celebrity Harvest" was nowhere to be found, implying that it was dead.

In a partially archived interview with Q, it was revealed in 2017 that DreamWorks Animation had originally partnered with the band for the film. However, executives had it canceled due to its mature content. Keep in mind that the then-fledgling studio had released "Shrek" and "Spirit" around the same time as Gorillaz's debut — now that they were seen as another family-friendly alternative to Disney, they probably didn't want that image to be tainted with Albarn and Hewlett's musical visions of zombies and cannibals.

As for Netflix's cancelation having to deal with animation budget cuts, Albarn told Humo he wasn't surprised, especially since their primary link to Netflix left the company. He called Hollywood a territorial industry, implying that whoever took over the project didn't like what they had to offer.

"If a new guy comes along, he must and will have a different opinion, even if he secretly agrees with his predecessor," he said.

Of course, we know that this cancelation won't mark the end for Gorillaz, as their eighth album "Cracker Island" will release this week. Unfortunately, with this and many other scrappings, Netflix is making it harder for people to admit that animation isn't just for kids.