Award-Winning Animation Studio LAIKA Expands Into Live Action

Oregon Studio Acquires Rights to Screenwriter John Brownlow’s Debut Action Thriller Novel Seventeen

aiphotoimaging laika studio animationLAIKA, known for the Academy Award®-nominated animated films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link, is expanding into live action. The studio has optioned Seventeen, the upcoming first novel by acclaimed screenwriter John Brownlow (The Minaturist, Sylvia). Currently in production on its sixth animated feature film, LAIKA secured the rights in an intense bidding war and plans to adapt it as a live action project. The announcement was made today by Travis Knight, President & CEO.

“For the past 15 years, LAIKA has been committed to making movies that matter,” says Knight. “Across mediums and genres, our studio has fused art, craft, and technology in service of bold, distinctive, and enduring stories. With Seventeen, LAIKA is taking that philosophy in an exciting new direction.”

“Seventeen is a stiff cocktail of wicked wit, exhilarating action, and raw emotion,” Knight continues. “John has such a wonderfully unique voice. He’s crafted a brilliant universe with its own powerful identity. Seventeen is a thriller with soul, a sinuous adrenaline-fueled actioner with a sincere heart beating underneath its rippling pectorals.”

Author and screenwriter John Brownlow is well known for his film and television credits. He is the screenwriter of the feature film Sylvia starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig and wrote and executive produced the three-part BBC limited series The Minaturist, which starred Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit). He also wrote the four-episode limited series Fleming, which starred Dominic Cooper as James Bond author Ian Fleming.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be developing Seventeen for the screen with LAIKA,” says Brownlow. “As a long-time fan of LAIKA’s movies for their vision, heart, craft, intelligence and ambition, I couldn’t have hoped for the novel or the universe it inhabits to have found a better or more exciting home. I’m beyond honored to be part of their plans for the future.”

UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton has preemptively acquired worldwide publishing rights to Seventeen. Hanover Square will publish the book in the US in 2022. LAIKA was represented in the deal by CAA. John Brownlow is represented by George Davis at Nelson Davis LLP, Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent Group and CAA.

Share

“Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train” Theatrical Film Comes To North America

Young Tanjiro of the Demon Slayer Corps is on a mission to figure out a way to turn his sister back into a human. And his emotional journey continues, as the new film that has slayed box office records in the Asia-Pacific region heads to the big screens in North America.

Demon Slayer Kimetsu No YaibaYoung Tanjiro of the Demon Slayer Corps is on a mission to figure out a way to turn his sister back into a human. And his emotional journey continues, as the new film that has slayed box office records in the Asia-Pacific region heads to the big screens in North America.

Aniplex of America and Funimation are bringing the cinematically praised, emotionally charged, and action-packed anime film Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train to theaters nationwide in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, April 23, 2021, including in 4DX and on IMAX screens. The film will be available in both English dub as well as subtitled. Tickets are available beginning April 9 at funimation.com/demonslayermovie.

In addition to theaters, it was also announced that fans can enjoy the film on EST (Electronic Sell-Through) beginning June 22, 2021 on Apple TV, Microsoft Store, Vudu, Google Play*, PlayStation Store,
and Amazon. Pre-orders for the film will begin on April 26, 2021 on Apple TV, Microsoft Store, and PlayStation Store.

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is directed by Haruo Sotozaki featuring the original story by Koyoharu Gotoge (JUMP COMICS/SHUEISHA) with screenplay and animation production by studio ufotable. The running time for the film is one one hour and 57 minutes and is rated R.
Continue reading

Share

“Wolfwalkers” Garners GKIDS’ Historic 12th And Cartoon Saloon’s Consecutive 4th Oscar® Nomination For “Best Animated Feature”

Hand-Drawn, Critically-Acclaimed Film is Also Winner of Top Audience Award at AFI Fest; Recognized by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review for “Best Animated Feature” Honors; and a Current BAFTA, Producers Guild, and Multi-Annie Award Nominee

WOLFWALKERS” GARNERS GKIDSGKIDS, the distributor of multiple Academy Award®-nominated animated films, is has announced its latest, WOLFWALKERS, was nominated for an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature” this morning by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The film marks GKIDS’ historic twelfth Oscar nomination since its inception in 2010. It also marks the fourth consecutive nomination—a streak in this category—for award-winning Ireland-based animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, which has made only four features films to date.

The best-reviewed animated film of 2020, WOLFWALKERS is directed by two-time Academy Award -nominated director Tomm Moore and director Ross Stewart, and is the final installation in Cartoon Saloon’s hand-drawn Irish folkloric trilogy, which include “The Secret of Kells” (2010) and “Song of the Sea” (2015).

GKIDS has a long-standing relationship with Cartoon Saloon, having served as the U.S. distributor for all of the studios’ Academy Award nominated films including Moore’s “The Secret of Kells” and “Song of the Sea,” and Nora Twomey’s “The Breadwinner.” In addition to handling distribution, GKIDS CEO/Founder Eric Beckman and President Dave Jesteadt are executive producers on both “The Breadwinner” and WOLFWALKERS.


Continue reading

Share

Apple’s Animated Feature “Wolfwalkers” Earns 10 Annie Award Nominations

Apple TV+ Series “Stillwater” Lands Nomination for Best Preschool Series

Apple Original Films’ critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated “Wolfwalkers” has earned 10 Annie Award nominations, including Best Animated Feature – Independent, and the Apple TV+ series “Stillwater” landed a nomination for Best Preschool Series for 11 nominations in total for Apple. The nominations were announced today by ASIFA-Hollywood for the 48th Annual Annie Awards, which recognize the year’s best in the field of animation. In just over a year, Apple Original series and films have won 74 awards, and earned 287 nominations across its original programming.

The Apple Original Film “Wolfwalkers,” the latest from two-time Academy Award-nominated director Tomm Moore and director Ross Stewart, and co-produced by the award-winning animation studios Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions has landed numerous prestigious honors since its debut. The film is an AFI Fest and Critics’ Choice Super Award-winner, and has been named best animated film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Dublin Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association and San Diego Film Critics Society.

Today’s Annie Award nominations for “Wolfwalkers” include:

Best Animated Feature – Independent
Best FX – Feature
Best Character Animation – Feature
Best Character Design – Feature
Best Direction – Feature
Best Music – Feature
Best Production Design – Feature
Best Storyboarding – Feature
Best Voice Acting – Feature
Best Writing – Feature

The Annie Awards will be announced on Friday, April 16.
Continue reading

Share

Film Feature: “Earwig And The Witch”

© 2020 NHK, NEP, Studio Ghibli

GKIDS, the acclaimed distributor of multiple Academy Award®-nominated animated features, will release Studio Ghibli’s highly-anticipated new feature EARWIG AND THE WITCH in both theaters and on streaming in early February, followed by a home entertainment release in the spring. Tickets are on sale now for the film’s theatrical debut on February 3, 2021, in both Japanese subtitled and English dub versions. The film will appear in select theaters nationwide with longtime partner, Fathom Events, as well as independent theater circuits. At Fathom Events screenings, in addition to the full feature, audiences can look forward to a special interview with director Goro Miyazaki, and producer Toshio Suzuki. For fans looking forward to viewing Earwig and the Witch at home, starting February 5, Earwig and the Witch will also be available to stream in the US on HBO Max.

Tickets for Earwig and the Witch are available now at EarwigMovie.com and participating box offices. Ticketing setup is at the discretion of local theaters. Audiences unable to purchase tickets at their local theater are advised to continue to check back for updated ticket availability, especially closer to the event date.

The latest film from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and more) is directed by Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea) and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with planning from Academy Award®-winner Hayao Miyazaki. An official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, the film aired on NHK in Japan December 30, 2020. Based on the children’s novel by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle), the film marks Studio Ghibli’s first CGI animated feature and first feature film production in four years.

The English language cast features the voices of Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Gosford Park), Kacey Musgraves (“Golden Hour” “Same Trailer Different Park”) and Dan Stevens (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, FX’s Legion), as well as Taylor Paige Henderson as “Earwig”. In addition to her debut voice acting role as “Earwig’s Mother,” six-time Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves sings the English language version of the film’s theme song, “Don’t Disturb Me.”

SYNOPSIS
Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.

Share

Nickelodeon Just Announced That SpongeBob SquarePants Is Gay

Nickelodeon

In news that will perhaps be unsurprising to many, Nickelodeon just appeared to make the announcement that the beloved children’s TV character SpongeBob SquarePants is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

The network marked Pride month with a post on Twitter, stating that it was “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month,” accompanied by artwork of SpongeBob, Schwoz Schwartz from Henry Danger, and Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra, all in rainbow-tinted hues.

Korra is canonically queer within the world of Avatar, having embarked on an explicitly romantic on-screen relationship with her best friend, Asami Sato. It is unclear, however, whether Nickelodeon were referring to the “community” or “allies” when it came to those pictures of Schwoz and SpongeBob — but the internet has already made up its mind that after 20 years of iconically camp behavior, S.B. is finally, officially out of the closet.

Continue reading

Share

The ‘Scoob!’ Scoop: Why It’s Skipping Theaters but Hasn’t Caused a ‘Trolls’-Level Firestorm

Theaters are wary that a successful “Scoob!” run could suggest that VOD and theatrical can successfully coexist.

When Universal released “Trolls: World Tour” on VOD April 10, it was also available in the few open (drive-in) theaters. On May 15, Warner Bros. will release “Scoob!” on VOD — and that’s the only place audiences will find it. A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirmed it will play no theaters, and sources suggest that Universal’s “The King of Staten Island” may follow suit.

It seems like a counterintuitive decision. Indoor theaters continue to open, albeit slowly. At this writing they’re still outnumbered by drive-ins, which are doing record business; comparatively, multiplexes’ numbers are suffering.

Both are showing now-familiar VOD titles, the equivalent of second-run movies, yet some of the best drive-ins are grossing multiples better than they did a year ago with “Avengers: Endgame” and “Pokemon Detective Pikachu.”

Continue reading

Share

“Frozen II,” “Missing Link” Lead 2020 Annie Awards Nominations

By Creative Media Times

United Artists Releasing

Its been another great year in animation, and this year’s Annie Awards have the list to prove it. ASIFA-Hollywood has just announced the nominees for the 47th Annual Annie Awards, with ‘Frozen 2’ and ‘Missing Link’ topping the list.

Presented annually by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, Annie Awards recognizes the best in the field of animation throughout the year.

Just as “Frozen 2” is currently breaking boxoffice records, the Disney film also earned an incredible eight nominations, including Best Feature. Also in this category is fellow Disney film “Toy Story 4,” LAIKA’s “Missing Link, DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and Netflix’s “Klaus.”

This bodes well for all five films’ prospects at the Oscar’s Best Animated Feature. Since 2002, the Academy Awards has bestowed the trophy to the same Annie winner a total of 13 times. Last year’s big Annie winner “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won seven awards including Best Animated Feature. The film went on to emerge victorious the Academy Awards.

This year’s Best Character Animation is equally competitive, with “Alita: Battle Angel,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Game of Thrones,” “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” all vying for the trophy.

The Annies also announced the nominations for the categories in television, student film, commercial, special production and VR. See the list of nominations below, or visit annieawards.org/nominees.

Share

First Trailer To “Scoob!” Gives Peek At Shaggy & Scooby Origin

Warner Bros. has released the very first official trailer for Scoob!, the upcoming American computer-animated adventure comedy film, which features how the Scooby-Doo and long-time best friend Shaggy Rogers.

The trailer, which shows some of the characters in their teens and their younger years, starts with young Shaggy meeting a homeless young pup at the beach. When an offers arrives to take Scooby, Shaggy claims The Great Dane. “He’s not a stray!,” Shaggy said, then naming him “Scooby Dooby Doo” to prove it.

Frank Welker is voicing Scooby-Doo, which he has done so since 2002, while Will Forte is Shaggy. Tony Cervone directed the film, from a screenplay by Kelly Fremon Craig.

Also in “Scoob!” are Zac Efron as Fred Jones, Gina Rodriguez as Velma, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne and Jason Isaacs as Dick Dastardly.

Scoob! is set to for release next summer on May 15, 2020.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
The first full-length animated Scooby-Doo adventure for the big screen is the never-before told stories of Scooby-Doo’s origins and the greatest mystery in the career of Mystery Inc. “SCOOB!” reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global “dogpocalypse,” the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

Share