Coraline Director Henry Selick's Latest Film Could Be Rescued By Laika

Coraline in Coraline.
(Image credit: Focus Features)

It's been a strangely good year for the art of stop-motion animation. While not performing too well at the box office, critics absolutely fell in love with both Pirates! A Band of Misfits and ParaNorman, and Tim Burton's Frankenweenie has gotten positive buzz from its premiere at Fantastic Fest.

But while there has been success for the medium in 2012, there was also one significant piece of bad news. Henry Selick, best known for directing films like A Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, was developing a new stop-motion project at Disney, but in mid-August it was reported that the project's plug was being pulled. According to reports, Disney felt that the tone of the movie was too dark and that the production was moving too slowly, but now there's some news that could turn that negative into a positive.

Thompson on Hollywood has learned that Laika, the studio that made both ParaNorman and Coraline, is now in talks with Selick to move the project over to their company. Should the deal go through, Selick would continue working on the project in his San Francisco-based company Cinderbiter as a satellite studio to the main Laika headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon. While there is still very little known about the project, Thompson says that the story follows a pair of brothers and that "it takes Selick's special brand of surrealism into a new direction." While it currently doesn't have a title, it was once known going under the name ShadeMaker. Selick will also be making use of the rapid prototyping machines (aka 3D printers) that Laika used on both of their previous films (you can read about those HERE).

I must say that I'm really hoping that this deal goes through. ParaNorman is easily one of the best movies to come out this year (if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go) and the studios first collaboration with the director was absolutely phenomenal. Everyone should keep their fingers crossed.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.