As part of their three-picture deal, Laika Studios and Focus Features have announced their new collaboration, the animated movie "Kubo and the Two Strings," which is now under production.
On Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, Laika president and CEO Travis Knight and Focus CEO Peter Schlessel made the announcement on the production of the Japanese-themed animation. In the press release, it was also announced that this movie will be Knight’s directorial debut, with screenplay by Chris Butler and Marc Haimes from "ParaNorman" and co-produced with Arianne Sutner.
The movie’s confirmed voice cast includes Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Brenda Vaccaro. The titular character "Kubo" will be voiced by "Game of Thrones" star Art Parkinson.
Described to be a “sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan,” "Kubo" will be filmed with Laika’s signature 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique. Based from assorted Japanese folktales and mythology, "Kubo" tells the story of a young boy who lives in a small village by the seashore with his widowed mother. His humble life is then shattered when a spirit from his past comes back for revenge. In the hopes of surviving an onslaught from gods and monsters, Kubo sets out to search for a magical suit of armor previously worn by his late father who was a legendary Samurai warrior.
Knight narrated on Deadline how he fell in love with the script, referring to it as "most powerful and poetic."
The film is set for domestic release on Aug. 19, 2016. Focus Features will handle the movie’s domestic release, while Universal Pictures International will take on the international market release.
This movie will mark the fourth collaboration the two studios have made. The other three collaborations included "Coraline," "ParaNorman" and "The Boxtrolls." Both "Coraline" and "ParaNorman" were nominated for the Academy Awards. Since its release on September 2014, "The Boxtrolls" garnered positive reviews and has been nominated by the Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globe Awards.
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Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/Laika