FEATURES LAIKA to Expand Oregon Studio Space by 70 Percent
Stop-motion house LAIKA, the Hillsboro, Ore.-based studio behind The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline, has announced plans to increase the size of its facility by 70 percent.
The studio, which is headed by Travis Knight (son of Nike co-founder Phil Knight), had been toying with purchasing a new facility but has decided to build on its current 150,000-squarefoot renovated warehouse location after finding nothing suitable in the area.
1Iron Man and company face a new foe in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. On disc today: Maya the Bee Movie; .hack// Roots: The Complete Series; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s Pet Salon; Team Umizoomi: Meet Shark Car.
The world of anime is fast-paced and keeping up with it can seem like a daunting task. So fans and scholars should be thankful for this revised edition, which is fully updated and includes all the corrections made for the 2012 Kindle edition and more than a thousand new entries covering titles released since the last print edition in 2006. That alone would make this a massive and invaluable tome as it is, but Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy also have added thematic entries to this edition, covering topics ranging from fandom to voice acting to piracy and various genres. With the print edition coming in at a whopping 1,200 pages, there’s no more thorough English-language anime resource on the planet. And the ebook edition, in addition to being a budget-conscious alternative, offers hyperlink connections to official sites, forums and more. Saying it’s indispensable is an understatement.
A tale of an unlikely inter-species friendship, steers DreamWorks Animation into new creative and technological territory. By Tom McLean.
DreamWorks Animation veteran Tim Johnson says his path to directing the studio’s new film, Home, began — where else? — at home.
Johnson had picked up a copy of Adam Rex’s novel The True Meaning of Smekday after reading a positive review of it in The New York Times. He started reading it to his kids, but continued on to the end after they had gone to bed.
“The moment I said ‘Wow!’ was a scene midway through the book — and we have a version of it midway through the movie — where this arrogant alien turns to the young girl and says, ‘I think I am owing sorries to you,’ and he apologizes for the invasion,” says Johnson. “And she says, ‘Don’t call me Gratuity anymore, call me Tip.’ That scene in the book made me choke up.”
As soon as he finished reading the book, Johnson emailed DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg at 2 a.m. saying the studio had to make Smekday into a movie.
The end result is Home, which hit theaters March 27 and is looking to be the big box office hit DreamWorks Animation has been seeking for a while.
Home begins with the alien race called the Boov, which considers cowardice a positive trait and therefore takes over Earth as peacefully as possible. They relocate all humans safely to Australia, and hope to evade their galactic enemies, the Gorg on their new home planet.
All goes according to plan until a misfit Boov named Oh accidentally invites the entire galaxy — including the Gorg — to his housewarming party. On the run from his own race, Oh runs into a young girl named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci, who is the only human to have escaped the Boov’s relocation and just wants to find her mother. Together, Oh and Tip form a tenuous partnership that takes them around the world to a final confrontation with the Boov and the Gorg.
The feature is DreamWorks Animation’s sole feature film release for 2015 after recent shakeups at the studio that shuffled its release schedule and included cutbacks. Johnson directs from a script by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Suzanne Buirgy and Mireille Soria, a veteran of the Madagascar franchise and the studio’s recently promoted co-president of feature animation, produced Home. Jim Parsons, the Emmy-winning star of the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, voices Oh, while international music star Rihanna voices Tip. Rounding out the cast is comedy legend Steve Martin as Captain Smek, leader of the Boov.
Johnson’s early-morning email to Katzenberg led the studio to option the film rights to Rex’s book, and Johnson began to develop the project with Emil Mitev, who became art director on the movie.
Varying the Genre One thing Johnson was especially interested in was finding a fresh look for the genre. “As a lover of science fiction, I wanted to make sure our movie didn’t have laser blasters and space ships that looked just like every other science-fiction movie,” he says.
Beginning with the art in Rex’s book, Johnson found inspiration on a trip to Comic-Con in San Diego, where he bought some pop vinyl toys from Asia. “I bought a bunch of them and really kind of was moved to create the same sort of tactile, adorable quality (in the movie that) I saw in a lot of collectible vinyl toys,” he says.