In the summer of 2021, Netflix struck a new deal with Universal’s two animation studios (Dreamworks and Illumination) to receive all new movies released theatrically to come to Netflix in the US for a limited time. Below is your complete guide to what movies are available now and which are on the way to Netflix in 2023 and beyond.
Please note: this list only applies to Netflix US. Other regions’ deals will vary dramatically.
The deal was announced in July 2021 and isn’t the first time Netflix has had access to Universal Animation titles. It’s held the first window rights for Illumination titles for years but lost the Dreamworks deal in 2019.
How does the Universal Animation and Netflix Deal work?
Previously, Netflix’s pay-1 windows are 18 months in length, and while that’s the case for Universal Animated movies, Netflix won’t have the movies for the entire length.
Instead, Netflix will occupy the middle ten months of the 18 months.
The theatrical window was announced in December 2021 to have been reduced from 120 days to 45 days but in reality, most movies that have come to Netflix have been 70 days in length.
Here’s how that window looks:
Once this pay-1 window is up, it’s unclear where the movie will stream. However, Netflix will stream the movies again four years after its initial release window.
Illumination Movies Coming Soon to Netflix
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Theatrical Release Date: July 1st, 2022
Confirmed Netflix Release Date: January 23rd, 2023
After three Despicable Me movies and a spin-off Minions movie, the franchise returned five years after the third entry debuted in theaters.
Here’s what you can expect from the upcoming sequel:
“A fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, Gru hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them, with the backup of his followers, the Minions.”
Steve Carell returned to voice Gru, with Kyle Balda directing.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Theatrical Release Date: April 7th, 2023
Expected Netflix Release Date: ~ October 2023
Netflix reportedly lost the ability to produce a title within the Nintendo universe (we’re referring to The Legend of Zelda). However, Illumination’s Mario movie is still moving forward, with Chris Pratt set to voice the main character.
The movie was originally scheduled for December 2022 but is now set to release in April 2023, and it’s one of the most hotly anticipated movies in 2023.
Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic direct, with Matt Fogel behind the screenplay.
Alongside Pratt on the voice cast list includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, and Keegan-Michael Key.
Theatrical Release Date: December 22nd, 2023
Expected Netflix Release Date: ~June 2024
Not too much is known about this upcoming Illumination title directed by Benjamin Renner other than the logline, which is as follows:
“A modern-day comedy following a family of ducks who convince their over-protective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime as they attempt to migrate from New England, through New York City, and ultimately down to the Bahamas.”
Keegan-Michael Key has been cast as Delroy, a scarlet macaw.
Despicable Me 4
Theatrical Release Date: July 3rd, 2024
Netflix Release Date: ~December 2024
A fourth Despicable Me movie is reportedly in development but not yet fully confirmed. With no further information, making any predictions is too early.
Some Illumination movies in development but yet to be dated are:
- Big Tree
- The Secret Life of Pets 3
- Untitled Pharrell Williams Movie
Upcoming Dreamworks Movies Coming to Netflix
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Theatrical Release Date: December 21st, 2022
Confirmed Netflix Release Date: July 13th, 2023
The second standalone Puss in Boots movie will see Antonio Banderas return to voice the character first introduced in Shrek.
Here’s the logline for the new movie:
“Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: He has burned through eight of his nine lives, leaving him with only one life left. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives.”
The Bad Guys Christmas Special
Coming to Netflix: 2023 TBD
The main movie for The Bad Guys was the first major new title from this deal to hit Netflix in November 2022.
Shortly after its addition to Netflix, we learned that Netflix (likely globally) will be receiving a Christmas special exclusively in 2023.
The movie itself was an adaptation of the book series and is about Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Ms. Shark, and Ms. Tarantula hatching a plot to pull off a big heist.
Among the voices in The Bad Guys are Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina, Anthony Ramos, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, and Craig Robinson.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
Theatrical Release Date: June 30th, 2023
Expected Netflix Release Date: ~January 2024
Directed by Kirk DeMicco, this DreamWorks Animation movie is about a shy teenager discovering that she’s part of a lineage of mythical sea krakens.
Lana Condor, Toni Collette, and Annie Murphy voice star.
Trolls Band Together (Trolls 3)
Theatrical Release Date: November 17th, 2023
Expected Netflix Release Date: ~May 2024
Following the release of Trolls World Tour in 2020, there’ll be yet another entry in the franchise come the end of 2023.
Kung Fu Panda 4
Theatrical Release Date: March 8th, 2024
Expected Netflix Release Date: ~September 2024
Jack Black and Co will return for a fourth feature film in early 2024, with Mike Mitchell directing alongside Stephanie Ma Stine.
Orion and the Dark
Coming to Netflix: 2024 TBD
Finally, we want to quickly touch on Orion and the Dark, a new DreamWorks Animation movie that’s skipping cinemas and heading directly to Netflix around the globe.
Written by Charlie Kaufman, the movie is about a young boy who is afraid of heights and pets. He’s rendered nearly catatonic by the worst of perils: the dark and he confronts his fear after meeting The Dark.
You can read more about Netflix’s Orion and the Dark here.
Other Dreamworks Animation Movies Reportedly in Development
Sadly, Dreamworks Animations’ lineup beyond these three titles isn’t yet finalized. We do know there’s an untitled film set to release in April 2023.
The following movies are also reportedly in development at DreamWorks Animation:
- Dog Man
- Mice and Mystics
- Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles
- Shrek 5
- Spooky Jack
- Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth
- The Wizards of Once
- The Boss Baby 3
Keep this post bookmarked, as we’ll update it over time to reflect new information. Let us know in the comments below which title you’re looking forward to.