Oregon based Laika begins the production on the animated feature film “Kudo and the Two Strings.” To be directed by Travis Knight with all-star voice cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes.
LAIKA and Focus Features, the two companies behind the Academy Award-nominated Coraline and ParaNorman and the current Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award-nominated release The Boxtrolls, today announced production on their fourth collaboration, Kubo and the Two Strings. LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight and Focus CEO Peter Schlessel made the announcement today. Mr. Knight, an Annie Award-winning animator, is making his directorial debut on Kubo and the Two Strings.
The new movie, from an original screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (ParaNorman) is a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan. It is being brought to life at LAIKA’s Oregon studios via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique. In addition to directing, Mr. Knight is producing Kubo and the Two Strings with Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman). The all-star voice cast includes Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron; Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro; and Art Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark on Game of Thrones and who is providing the voice for the title character of Kubo.
In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.
The movie will open in theaters nationwide domestically on August 19th, 2016; as with the three previous LAIKA movies, Focus will release Kubo and the Two Strings in the United States and Universal Pictures International will release the movie internationally. It is the first movie in the new three-picture partnership between LAIKA and Focus.
“Kubo and the Two Strings is a rare gem,” said Mr. Knight. “It’s a gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters. At once epic and intimate, Kubo is a funny, intense, and ultimately uplifting fairy tale draped in some of the most bizarre and exciting imagery I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, it’s deeply moving. It’s a story that means something, a story that deserves to be told. In short, it’s a LAIKA movie. And with a poetic script, sublime cast, and our freakishly talented artists and craftspeople, Kubo will be a strange, stirring, and altogether stunning film. I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
“LAIKA raises the bar on animated movies as a creative art,” said Mr. Schlessel. “Each picture Focus does with them is unique yet identifiably theirs. Travis and Arianne have convened a wonderful group of animators, actors, and artisans to tell a story that moviegoers of all ages will be transported by.”
Coraline (2009) earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, PGA, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). ParaNorman (2012) garnered BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, GLAAD Media Award, PGA, and Academy Award nominations, won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and was cited as the year’s best animated film by 14 critics’ groups. The Boxtrolls has earned Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and 13 Annie Award nominations, more than any other film this year.
Fueled by the vision of its owner, Nike co-founder and Chairman Philip H. Knight, and its President & CEO Travis Knight, LAIKA (www.laika.com) is an animation company specializing in feature films. LAIKA, located in Portland, Oregon, will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2015. LAIKA’s current movie, The Boxtrolls, scored the highest opening weekend box office of any LAIKA film when it was released domestically by Focus on September 26th. It was recently honored with 13 Annie Award nominations, the most of any animated film this year. The company’s first feature, Coraline (2009), earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, PGA, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). ParaNorman (2012) garnered BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, GLAAD Media Award, PGA, and Academy Award nominations, won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and was cited as the year’s best animated film by 14 critics’ groups. The Boxtrolls has earned Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and 13 Annie Award nominations, more than any other film this year.
About Focus Features
Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) makes, acquires, and releases movies from rising and established talent and filmmakers. The company is moving forward with a diverse slate of wide releases appealing to a range of moviegoers. Staying true to the company’s roots, the slate will also include several specialty films each year.
In addition to the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award-nominated The Boxtrolls, current and upcoming releases from Focus include The Theory of Everything, nominated for 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards and 4 Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture; Black Sea, the suspenseful adventure thriller starring Jude Law for director Kevin Macdonald; the romantic drama A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet; Leigh Whannell’s Insidious: Chapter 3, the newest chapter in the terrifying horror series; Tarsem Singh’s Selfless, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley; Sinister 2, directed by Ciaran Foy; London Has Fallen, the sequel to the worldwide smash hit Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler and directed by Babak Najafi; Juan Antonio Bayona’s visually spectacular drama A Monster Calls, starring Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, and Liam Neeson; and Stephen Hopkins’ Race, starring Jeremy Irons, Jason Sudeikis, and Stephan James as the legendary athletic superstar Jesse Owens.
Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.