Paramount Pictures announced today that it has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s R-rated stop-motion picture, Anomalisa. Normally, an animated film wouldn’t garner much serious attention from critics or general audiences, let alone a stop-motion film; the stigma that these works are still the stuff of kids’ movies is, by and large, still the default opinion. Anomalisa has already shaken up that assumption thanks to winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival after its world premiere at Telluride. Continuing its festival circuit, Anomalisa just played at Toronto International Film Festival and will soon makes its way to Austin’s Fantastic Fest. Paramount swooped in before Anomalisa could garner any more attention, and has set its domestic release date as December 30, 2015 in New York and Los Angeles.
Anomalisa centers on Michael Stone, a husband, father and respected author of “How May I Help You Help Them?” Stone is described as “a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he’s scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life.” So it’s plain to see that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill animated feature with talking animals and silly jokes. Rather, it’s a contemporary adult comedy that just happens to be told in the style of stop-motion animation. It aims to blend Kaufman’s signature storytelling with the stop-motion animation experience of Johnson (Moral Orel, Community: “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole).
“The film is a spectacular achievement of artistry, one that we are incredibly pleased to be a part of. Charlie is a filmmaker of immense vision and craft and he and Duke have created a film that stands alone as one of the year’s best”.
Directors Kaufman and Johnson, along with producer Rosa Tran, gave this comment on their picture:
“Anomalisa has been a three year labor of love and we are thrilled the film has now found a home at Paramount with people who are passionate about the film and are committed to sharing it with the world.”
Anomalisa features the voice cast of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a strings-based score by Carter Burwell. Look for it later this year in New York and L.A. theaters, hopefully with an expanded release soon after.