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'ParaNorman' Makers Announce Production on 'The Boxtrolls'

LAIKA and Focus Features -- the two companies behind the Oscar-nominated animated feature ParaNorman -- are reteaming for a third project, The BoxTrolls, which is now in production at Portland, Ore.-based animation studio LAIKA.

The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow’s fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. Anthony Stacchi (co-director of Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman) are directing and David Ichioka and LAIKA president and CEO Travis Knight are producing.

The voice cast includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan.

The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in ‘Cheesebridge,’ where beneath its cobblestone streets dwell the ‘Boxtrolls.’ Legend has it that they are foul monsters, but in truth, the Boxtrolls are a community of oddballs who have raised an orphaned human boy.

Describing the story as “Dickens by way of Monty Python,” LAIKA president and CEO Travis Knight said in a released statement: “The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. …At its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance.”

As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). An October 17, 2014 release is planned.

“Following our successful collaborations on ParaNorman and Coraline, we are delighted to be embarking on a third wondrous adventure with the LAIKA artisans who transform everyday materials into living creatures infused with dimension, humor, and soul,” said Focus CEO James Schamus in a released statement.

In addition to an Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman is nominated for a BAFTA and last weekend won two Annie Awards.