Animation studio Laika, of Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link fame, has announcedthat its Portland, Oregon-area studio will be closed till 1 May, while “all employees are being paid in full with all benefits in place” during this crisis situation.
Commented Laika president and CEO Travis Knight to The Hollywood Reporter, “When this ends, and it will end, the world will need storytellers more than ever. The world will need hope and inspiration and empathy and high-spirited joy. The world will need beauty and poetry and restorative works of art. The world will need you. Telling stories is one of the prime functions of the human mind and spirit. Good stories open us up to new possibilities, to new ways of thinking, to recognize the shared humanity in which we all participate. That has always been Laika’s reason for being. And it will remain so. And we will do it as we always have. Together.”
Laika, best known for its hybrid stop-motion and CG approach to animation, doesn’t have a 2020 release. It is owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Travis Knight’s father.
Laika had two divisions: Laika Entertainment for feature films and Laika/house for commercial content. The studio spun off the commercial division in July 2014 to focus exclusively on feature film production. The new independent commercial division is now called HouseSpecial.
Laika Entertainment’s Missing Link surpassed Disney’s Frozen 2, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Disney’s The Lion King and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 at the Golden Globe.
The film is an adventure tale of a yeti, Mr. Link, who becomes tired of living a solitary life. The clay-mation film, which was released in April 2019, garnered $16.6 million at the domestic box office and around $9.5 million.
Written and directed by Chris Butler (Laika’s Paranorman), Missing Link is produced by Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight.
Since the category was introduced in 2006, Missing Link (2019), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011) have been the only non-Disney films to take home the award at the Golden Globe.
Industry veteran David Burke has been named chief marketing officer at Laika, the animation studio behind movies such as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings. Burke earlier worked with Universal Pictures, where he was the general manager for Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“Dave Burke is an extraordinarily talented marketing professional with over two decades of global movie business experience. As we continue to build our studio and the Laika brand, Dave’s counsel and leadership will be of immeasurable value,” Laika president and CEO Travis Knight said in a statement.
Throughout his career, Burke has planned releases on more than 380 titles, including 60 that debuted to No. 1 in the Ireland and Northern Ireland markets, as well as all four Oscar-nominated Laika films. He delivered €40 million for Illumination and Universal at the Irish box office, planning the releases of each of the Despicable Me franchise titles through to The Secret Life of Pets 2. During his time at Universal, Sing debuted to the biggest opening of all-time for an original IP animation at the local box office.
Prior to Universal Pictures, Burke worked with Irish independent film distributor Clarence Pictures, the distribution arm of Little Bird and Eclipse Pictures. He also has extensive experience in film specific third-party promotions during his time with Halo, where he worked with Twentieth Century Fox and United International Pictures.
Burke is a former chairman of The Industry Trust, an entity that promotes the value of copyright and creativity in Ireland’s film, television and video industry.
American stop-motion studio, LAIKA’s fifth stop-motion feature, Missing Link (earlier titled Film Five) is set to be released on 19 April 2019 by US distributor Annapurna Pictures.
Multi-Oscar-nominated house behind Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, LAIKA is now ready to come up with a cryptozoological adventure. The synopsis of the movie goes:
Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) is the slightly silly, surprisingly smart and soulful beast who is the last living remnant of Man’s primitive ancestry, the Missing Link. As species go, he couldn’t be more endangered; he’s the last of his kind and he’s lonely. Proposing a daring quest to find his rumored distant relatives, he enlists the help of Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters, and Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), who possesses the only known map to the group’s secret destination, in an odyssey around the world to find the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
The much-talked voice cast also features Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit), Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Matt Lucas (Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland), David Walliams (Little Britain), Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) and Ching Valdes-Aran (Nurse Jackie).
Written and directed by Oscar nominee Chris Butler (ParaNorman), this humorous family adventure will find speaking of acceptance and finding one’s place in the world. LAIKA’s head of production and Oscar nominee Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman, Kubo and the Two Strings) is co-producing the project with LAIKA president & CEO Travis Knight who earned an Academy Award nomination and won a BAFTA for his directorial debut on Kubo and the Two Strings.
Lions Gate will distribute Missing Link in the UK and Ireland, while AGC International is handling the international sales.
Every adventure has a beginning. The new Bumblebee movie teaser is out for the viewers to watch, starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. The movie is produced by Paramount Pictures, written by Christina Hodgson, and directed by Travis Knight. It is expected to hit the theaters in the coming Christmas. Similar to The Transformer series, this movie will be produced in genre such as action and adventure, science fiction, and fantasy. Unlike transformers which portrayed plenty of destruction and constant chaos, Bumblebee movie is quiet, colourful, unruffled, and nostalgic. The movie showcases a limited number of robots restricting to Starscream and Bumblebee himself.
Bumblebee movie is set in 1987, and from its first trailer, it’s clear that the movie has a different story and protagonists than Michael Bay’s Transformer series. In the plot, Bumblebee finds refugee in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. He has adopted a retro design and is looking much softer, brighter, bubbly, and just as an adorable anime robot over the cold, spiky steel. At the age of 18, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) who is a mechanic locates Bumblebee when she visits the junkyard in search of a car to buy. She discovers Bumblebee in a battle-scarred and broken condition, in spite of that she claims him and reinvigorates him before realizing he is no ordinary car. And then begins their journey of friendship and adventures together, fighting against the military-obsessed adults.
“You got people out there who need you,” Charlie is heard saying in the teaser trailer. “This is why you are here, bee.”
Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis are all set to lend their voices to the new stop-motion movie Film Five (working title),currently in production at LAIKA, the animation firm behind Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline, The Boxtrolls and ParaNorman.
LAIKA has partnered with Annapurna Pictures for distributing the film, mainly in the U.S. as per an official statement released by LAIKA CEO and president Travis Knight and Annapurna Pictures CEO and founder Megan Ellison.
“Our next film represents an evolutionary shift for Laika. It’s an exciting bridge to our future. Director Chris Butler and the wizards at LAIKA have crafted a moving work of art, layered with wit and imagination and soul. Plus it’s really, really funny. It’s a privilege to partner with Megan and her exceptional team at Annapurna to bring this beautiful original story to the world,” Knight said.
Chris Butler, who directed LAIKA’s ParaNorman, is helming Film Five. The plot is currently kept under wraps but is described to be a rip-roaring, globe-trotting comedy-adventure replete with humor. The film also has a heart and conveys a message of acceptance, purpose and place in life centered around the characters. The film has been in production for more than two years and had been lined up to open sometime this year.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Travis and the amazing team at LAIKA. We appreciate their trust and look forward to having some fun together,” Ellison added.
Stuart Ford’s AGC has boarded international sales rights to the project who’ll introduce the film to buyers in Cannes in a private screening of footage from the film, accompanied by an on-stage discussion between Ford and Knight. This big-budget project will be produced by Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight.