Cartoon Saloon boosted by deals with Apple and Netflix

Oscar-nominated Kilkenny animation company saw profits rise 39% in 2019

The Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers contributed to a 39 per cent rise in profits at Cartoon Saloon in 2019. Newly filed accounts for the Kilkenny-based animation studios show it made a profit of €452,163 in the year, as revenues also jumped 39 per cent from €6 million to €8.45 million.

The company is basking in the glow of its Oscar nomination for its hand-drawn film, Wolfwalkers, currently available on Apple+ TV.

The accounts show the Wolfwalkers work represented a sizeable bulk of revenues in 2019 with Cartoon Saloon Ltd receiving €3.6 million in revenues from connected company, Wolfwalkers Productions DAC, during the year.

Cartoon Saloon managing director Gerry Shirren said on Tuesday: "We're delighted that Apple TV + has acquired Wolfwalkers and we are working with a broad range of studios and platforms and currently have a film project [My Father's Dragon] in production for Netflix. "


Numbers employed at the company increased by 33 from 113 to 146 in 2019 as the business rode the crest of a wave after sealing deals with streaming giants Netflix and Apple for new work.

Confirming growth in the business during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Shirren revealed that "employment levels have increased further since and we will continue to hire further for new projects starting in production later this year".

Figures published by the Revenue Commissioners show that Cartoon Saloon qualified for film tax relief of between €1 million and €2 million for its Wolfwalkers production in 2019.

Oscar glow

On the Oscar nomination for Wolfwalkers – the fifth for the company – Mr Shirren said founders and creative leaders Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young were thrilled by the recognition.

“We are looking forward to a great big Zoom party on the night of the Oscars. As for winning, who knows what might happen on the night, but no doubt, Soul is the favourite and it has already won the Golden Globe and the Bafta,” Mr Shirren said.

The team is “really appreciative and humbled by the fact that Wolfwalkers has had 66 awards nominations to date worldwide and won 21 awards already”, he added.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times