Crunchyroll and the production companies of Idris Elba and his wife, Sabrina, are joining forces for an animated fantasy series with the working title Dantai. It is the first producing collaboration by the pair, who married in 2019.
The news about the project comes as Crunchyroll also reports surpassing four million subscribers. The WarnerMedia anime specialist is in the process of being sold to Sony’s Funimation in a $1.2 billion deal.
Crunchyroll passed three million subscribers just last summer. At that time, it added two higher-level subscription tiers beyond the $8-a-month “Fan” basic tier. The $10 “Mega Fan” and $15 “Ultimate Fan” plans have been “very successful” and comprise a “significant portion” of the overall subscriber base, a company rep told Deadline. The company has not broken out numbers by level.
Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll has accumulated a library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes, available in more than 200 countries and territories. It has more than 100 million registered users and more than 50 million social media followers.
“For more than a decade, through anime and anime-inspired originals, Crunchyroll has been leading the charge for the popularization of adult dramatic animation and we are fast becoming the epicenter for the next generation of animation fans, as is evidenced by our incredible growth in registered users and subscribers” said Joanne Waage, Crunchyroll’s GM. “Gens Y and Z have experienced superhero fatigue and are hungry for the new stories and ideas that our creators tell. This development deal with Sabrina and Idris Elba is another example of how we’re working with best-in-class partners to bring in new audiences and tell fresh and compelling stories through a medium that transcends genres and generations.”
Described as a “dark fantasy” and an “Afro-futuristic science fiction series,” Dantai comes from Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Sabrina Elba’s Pink Towel Pictures. Each is an executive producer.
The series will be set in a city where the rise of biotechnology has created an “ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots,” according to the official logline. “Two rising stars from either side of this divide are pitted against each other in a story that will ultimately explore equality and kinship within a corrupt society.”
Sarah Victor, Crunchyroll’s head of development, called it “a privilege to work with such talented, creative partners and we look forward to bringing this exciting project to life.”
In a joint statement, the Elbas said, “We’re really excited to be announcing this deal on our first anime. We’re both fans of the genre and see a huge opportunity to create something unique for a powerhouse like Crunchyroll. The story of Dantai is our first collaboration as producers together and is one that is close to our hearts.”