LAIKA and Focus Features Teaming Up for Three More Films

by     Posted 47 days ago

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I’m thrilled whenever LAIKA releases a new stop-motion animated feature film, and every time I feel like I want to pick it up and protect it from the kinds of cynical, bland, and uninspired animation films that seems to populate the marketplace.  Through Coraline, ParaNorman, and now The Boxtrolls, the studio has continued to march to the beat of its own drum, crafting gorgeous and compassionate films that refuse to talk down to kids.  Their movies don’t make near as much money as the big releases from the likes of DreamWorks Animation or Pixar, and so it comes as extremely welcome news that LAIKA and Focus Features have entered a distribution deal for the animation studio’s next three projects, ensuring that we have at least three more LAIKA movies to look forward to.  More after the jump.

THE COLLISION: Episode 105 – THE BOXTROLLS and Laika

by     Posted 51 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we talk about Laika’s newest film, The Boxtrolls.  We discuss what makes the movie unique, its strengths and weaknesses, why Sir Ben Kingsley is great, and more.  We also take a look at Laika, and how they’ve differentiated themselves from other animation studios beyond using stop-motion animation as opposed to CGI.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The Maze Runner“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg and @AdamChitwood.

THE BOXTROLLS Review

by     Posted 55 days ago

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Animation studio Laika isn’t just on the cutting edge of stop-motion animation.  They’re also the only studio putting out offbeat stories that unabashedly focus and celebrate true outsiders.  They make movies that are cute without being cutesy, strange without being self-conscious, and funny without being pandering.  Their latest film, The Boxtrolls, is by far their best yet as they’ve created a rich, gorgeous world filled with adorable characters, remarkable detail, and a clever comment on propaganda, which is ambitious for a movie that’s ostensibly a family film.  Laika may have made a name for themselves with Coraline and ParaNorman, but The Boxtrolls feels like the first movie that represents the heart and soul of this oddball studio.

Laika’s CEO and Lead Animator Travis Knight Talks THE BOXTROLLS, Making Enduring Pictures, the Funny End Credits, and More

by     Posted 56 days ago

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Travis Knight, The Boxtrolls producer and lead animator who worked on LAIKA’s first two groundbreaking movies, ParaNorman and Coraline, loves the 100-year-old art form and is always looking for bold and innovative ways to take it to places it’s never been before.  While ParaNorman and Coraline were contemporary American stories told with shadings of supernatural elements, The Boxtrolls is a period piece mashup of detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a dark Dickensian twist.  Opening September 26th, the beautiful stop-motion 3D animated film features an extraordinary cast that includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Elle Fanning.

At our roundtable interview, Knight discussed how animating in stop-motion is less about patience than the ability to focus your imagination intensely for long periods of time, why it’s crucial to find the right voiceover actors who can bring believability to the characters and emotional authenticity to the performance, why he wants to make thought provoking, emotionally resonant, and enduring films rather than pop-culture confections, his childhood inspirations for dynamic storytelling, how the film’s 3D elements were designed from the beginning to bring the best aspects of technology into this hand-crafted world, the funny bit in the end credits, and his next awesome project.  Check out the interview after the jump and please note there are some spoilers.

THE BOXTROLLS Motion Poster Puts Sparky to Work

by     Posted 99 days ago

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I know I can’t get enough of Laika’s The Boxtrolls and hopefully it’s the same for you as well because even after our San Diego Comic Con coverage and the teaser trailer that dropped last week, we’ve got a brand new motion poster for the film to share.

Hit the jump to check out The Boxtrolls motion poster featuring Sparky, Fish, Oil Can, Shoe and the rest of the gang trying to show off the film’s title prior to its September 26th debut.  The movie features the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle FanningBen Kingsley, Toni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, and Jared Harris.

THE BOXTROLLS Teaser and Poster Introduce You to the Trolls Themselves

by     Posted 104 days ago

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Laika is on a roll with Coraline, ParaNorman and now The Boxtrolls.  It’s sometimes a slow roll because of their dedication to painstakingly crafting their films, but it’s worth it.  Stop-motion animation takes forever, and pulling it off in such a gorgeous manner must take even longer.  Now we have a new teaser and poster that bring us a little closer to the world we’ll be visiting in a little over six weeks.

Hit the jump to check out The Boxtrolls teaser and poster that introduces the characters of Fish, Oil Can, Knickers, Wheels, Sweets, Eggs and Sparky.  The Boxtrolls arrives in theaters on September 26th and features the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris. You can also check out our Comic-Con panel recap!

THE BOXTROLLS Comic-Con Panel Recap: Getting Lost in the Lovable, Grimy World of Underground Scavengers

by     Posted 116 days ago

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The Boxtrolls is one of my most-anticipated films of the fall.  LAIKA is one of the most exciting studios working today because they’re the only one wholly committed to the beautiful art of stop-motion animation.  But beyond their medium, they’re telling rich, interesting stories about weird outsiders traveling through strange worlds.  The Boxtrolls looks like their most ambitious yet, and today’s Comic-Con panel made me even more eager to see this strange, gorgeous movie.

Hit the jump for The Boxtrolls Comic-Con panel recap.

New Trailer for Laika’s THE BOXTROLLS Features the Cowardly, Ugly, and Heroic Creatures

by     Posted 246 days ago

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Laika has released a new trailer for their stop-motion animated feature, The Boxtrolls.  The movie tells the story of the misunderstood titular trolls that live underneath the streets of Cheesebridge, where they attempt to raise an orphaned human boy as their own.  This trailer doesn’t go deep into the plot, but does highlight the personality of the boxtrolls, and although they’re capable of human speech, most of their dialogue here is the adorable gibberish that sounds like the minions from the Despicable Me movies.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy MorganThe Boxtrolls opens in 2D and 3D on September 26th.

New Trailer for Laika’s New Stop-Motion Animated Film THE BOXTROLLS

by     Posted 259 days ago

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The folks at Laika Studios are truly doing special work.  While other animation studios are chasing the almighty dollar with generic-looking animation and cheap, easy jokes and visual gags, Laika aims higher.  The studio’s last two efforts, Coraline and ParaNorman, pair gorgeous visuals with sophisticated and challenging storytelling, and that formula looks to continue with their next film The Boxtrolls.  Focus Features has released a new trailer for the pic, which tells the story of the misunderstood titular trolls that live underneath the streets of Cheesebridge, where they attempt to raise an orphaned human boy as their own.  This trailer doesn’t feature any of the dialogue just yet, but instead opts to show off the adorable characters brought to life through the Laika magicians in a series of scenes set to Cee Lo’s new cover “They’re So Square.”

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  Directed by Anthony Staachi and Graham Annabele, the film features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy MorganThe Boxtrolls opens in 2D and 3D on September 26th.

First Teaser Trailer and Poster for THE BOXTROLLS, from the Makers of CORALINE and PARANORMAN

by     Posted 1 year, 140 days ago

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Focus Features has released the first teaser trailer and poster for the upcoming animated feature The Boxtrolls.  The film comes from Laika, the stop-motion animation studio behind Coraline and last year’s excellent ParaNorman, and tells the tale of the titular trolls who live underneath the streets of Cheesebridge.  Legend has it that the Boxtrolls steal the townspeople’s children and cheese, but the truth of the matter is that the monsters are raising an orphaned human boy named Eggs as one of their own.  This teaser unsurprisingly shows off some gorgeous animation and character creation from Laika, while also teasing a charming story about misunderstood outsiders.  In an animation marketplace dominated by unprovoking, inoffensive family fare, Laika is truly doing something unique by telling stories that reflect our ever-changing social culture and the “modern family.”

Hit the jump to check out the teaser trailer and poster.  Directed by Anthony Stacchi (Open Season) and Graham Annable, the film features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan.  The Boxtrolls is due out September 26, 2014.

Travis Knight (President & CEO of LAIKA) Talks PARANORMAN, Audience Reactions to the Film, Laika’s Future Plans, and More at the VES Awards

by     Posted 1 year, 280 days ago

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On the red carpet at the VES Awards, I managed to get a few minutes with President & CEO of LAIKA Travis Knight.  While some studio heads only decide which films to make, Knight also still works as an animator and had a hand in crafting a few key scenes in ParaNorman.  During the interview we talked about the reaction to the film by audiences, the process of making the movie, how much the structure of the story changed during production, the latest camera technology, and Laika’s plan to eventually release one film a year.  Hit the jump for the interview.

Laika Announces THE BOXTROLLS Featuring the Voices of Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Tracy Morgan and More, Plus the Film’s First Concept Image

by     Posted 1 year, 285 days ago

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Laika and Focus Features are teaming up once again for The Boxtrolls.  Their third production will be the 3D stop motion and CG hybrid animated adaptation of Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters.”  The story centers on a posh Victorian-era town of people obsessed with finery and stinky cheese, but are plagued by an underground society of foul monsters who steal their children…and cheese.  Similar in themes to their previous productions Coraline and ParaNorman, the under-dwellers are not exactly what the citizens’ legends say they are.

Directed by Anthony Stacchi (Open Season) and Graham Annable (a story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), The Boxtrolls features an impressive voice cast featuring Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan.  The Boxtrolls is due out October 17, 2014.  Hit the jump to see the full synopsis along with the first concept image from the film.

PARANORMAN Blu-Ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 351 days ago

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Here’s the thing about ParaNorman: it’s not the family romp it claims to be. The ads push the child hero, and the kid-friendly animation, peppered with the expected amount of grown-up in-jokes. They’re not lying, but at the same time, they miss film’s overall tone: dark, creepy, and often quite sad. That’s actually a good thing – it helps make ParaNorman one of the more original animated features in recent years – but it might catch newcomers by surprise. Hit the jump for my full review of the Blu-ray.

Laika Sets September 26, 2014 Release for Untitled Animated Film

by     Posted 2 years, 41 days ago

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Fresh off the success of this year’s endearing stop-motion animated film ParaNorman, Laika Studios has set a September 26th, 2014 release date for their next feature.  The title of the project hasn’t yet been revealed, but it’s likely one of two films the studio recently put into production: Goblins or WildwoodGoblins is an adaptation of the book by Philip Reeve which centers on a clever young goblin who lives among his slightly less-mannered brethren.  An ancient evil that only he understands is rising and threatens to bring all monsters and mythical creatures into “an epic magical conflict.”  Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Mark Gustafson is directing.

The other possibility is an adaptation of the adult fantasy novel Wildwood, by The Decemberists lead singer Colin Meloy.  Hit the jump for more.

Will LAIKA Save Director Henry Selick’s Cancelled Stop-Motion Film? [Update: No]

by     Posted 2 years, 54 days ago

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Fresh off the success of Coraline, director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) signed a deal with Disney to make stop-motion animated films for the Mouse House.  He was set to adapt Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book in the long-term, but his first Disney stop-motion feature was scheduled for release in October 2013.  All appeared to be going well until this past August, when the studio decided the project was moving too slowly (and reportedly too dark), so they abruptly cancelled production.

Selick was free to shop the project around to other studios to see if he could get it made elsewhere, and now it looks like he may have found a new home for the film.  Hit the jump for more. [Update: Sadly, Oregon Live reports that a source close to LAIKA tells them the talks with Selick went nowhere and the studio won't be financing this project after all].

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