If there’s one thing the stop-motion animation process is known for, it’s being painstakingly slow. Not only are the films put together one frame at a time with intense care and precision, there is an incredible amount of work that needs to go into development and construction long before the first shutter snap is even heard. The folks up at Laika, however - the studio that brought us Coraline and ParaNorman - are constantly making advances in their field and finding new ways to work at peak efficiency. Their model is so effective, in fact, that they will soon start releasing one movie every year.
This impressive bit of news was dropped on us late last year on the set of the upcoming The Boxtrolls by Travis Knight, Laika’s chairman and CEO. Laying down details about the company’s plans over the next few years, Knight revealed that the studio has been developing multiple projects and that an expedited rollout schedule is being created.
As Knight explained, The Boxtrolls (which will be in theaters September 26th) began winding down filming all the way back in December, and at that time the filmmakers at Laika were simultaneously ramping up work on their next project (which wasn’t revealed). Production on the follow-up was planned to start this summer, and the feature after that will shoot next summer. Theoretically, it will be the first time that production on two separate projects will be happening concurrently at Laika, and at that point they will be ready to have a different feature coming to theaters annually.
"It's exhilarating because it has always been one of the goals of ours: to be more prolific and to have more films out there," Knight said. "It just takes a while to get these things going. The whole development process -- as glacial as this part of the process is, the development process is a whole lot worse."
Excited as the company is to start expanding and growing, what Knight insists they refuse to do is sacrifice quality in the name of more films. Referencing Hollywood horror stories where projects had to be put in turn-around because they were rushed and fundamentally flawed at the core, Knight said that Laika makes sure that all of the details are worked out in advance on every project, and that they don’t plan to alter that process.
"When it's in development and there's only a handful of people working on it, you can work some of those things out. Now we've got an incredible group of talented people working in that department. We've got some exceptional projects that are really unlike everything out there. Now we just want to make them! We want to make all these things because they're so great."