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Henry Selick’s considered by many to be the “Godfather” of contemporary stop-motion animation. With ParaNorman heading to theaters (and riding a wave of extremely positive reviews), Selick’s name has been mentioned often because his Coraline helped pave the way for the quiet outcast who can talk to ghosts. So this is an odd time for Walt Disney Studios to decide they want to bail on Selick’s latest stop-motion effort, but that’s exactly what has happened.
Variety says Disney informed close to 150 creative artists working at Shademakers Prods. in San Francisco that they were pulling the plug on Selick’s as-yet-untitled film, which was supposed to be in theaters on Oct. 4, 2013.
It’s unclear exactly what forced Disney head Alan Horn to stop production on Selick’s film. Variety only suggests that the movie wasn’t where it needed to be to maintain its rigorous production schedule. Voice actors hadn’t yet been hired. The studio hadn’t been able to share any artwork, potentially promoting the animated effort to another studio eager to distribute. All of the above meant Disney had enough reason to decide that it wasn’t going to move forward.
The good news, however, is that this decision will not affect Selick’s planned adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which also is set up at the Mouse House. There’s no reason to lose faith in Selick now. The masterful storyteller weaved dark fairy tales in James and the Giant Peach and the brilliant The Nightmare Before Christmas with Tim Burton. But this might be the start of Disney’s declining interest in stop-motion … until ParaNorman passes the $100 million mark. We shall see.