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LAIKA Announce New Film From 'ParaNorman' Director

It's been quite some time since LAIKA's last feature Kubo And The Two Strings was released. Travis Knight's directorial debut was released in 2016, and the studio has been pretty quiet ever since.  In the meantime, Knight himself moved on to direct the live-action(ish) Transformers spin-off Bumblebee. You could be forgiven for being a little concerned, as while Kubo was loved by critics and animation fans, it was pretty much a bomb at the box-office. In fact, the Studio's biggest hit was their first release, Coraline, and they have earned successively less with each subsequent film. Yet, the studio had definitely not shut down- they had to be working on something.. but what?

The Portland, Oregon based studio have finally announced that their fifth feature is indeed in development. It will be directed by Chris Butler, writer and co-director of their 2012 film ParaNorman.

The new film, which is currently going by the working title of Film Five, will be distributed by Annapurna Pictures in the US. Their past movies were distributed by Focus Features, but it seems that following the box-office disappointment of Kubo the companies parted ways.

Film Five will star the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis, but the actual plot is being kept secret for the time being. Our only clue is that it is being described as a globe-trotting comedy-adventure, that is "bursting with humour, heart and a profound message of acceptance and finding one's place."

CEO Knight issued the following statement:

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 [Ellison] and her exceptional team at Annapurna to bring this beautiful original story to the world.

It's not clear exactly how far along in production the new project is (as we said, it has been quite some time since Kubo came out) or exactly how far away we are from release. But one thing is for sure- with LAIKA involved, you know this is one upcoming animated feature that will be worth keeping an eye on.