Henry Selick returns to Disney

No joke – and good news!
Variety is reporting that Henry Selick has signed an exclusive long term deal to produce and direct movies for “Disney/Pixar”. Interesting to note the article refers to the studio as “Disney/Pixar” as opposed to either Disney or Pixar.

Excerpts from the Variety article:

The helmer, who’s been spotted in recent months at Pixar’s Emeryville, Calif. campus, will set up shop in the Bay Area, where he plans to write and direct features based on both original ideas and literary properties. Selick hopes to benefit from the Pixar brain trust and technology, but will continue to produce toons using his trademark stop-motion style.

“I’ll quote Dick Cook right after ‘James and the Giant Peach’ was finished. He said, ‘We don’t believe this is a viable medium anymore, and we’re not going to do it,’?” Selick told Daily Variety. “A few years later they shut down 2D. It’s great that both of those things are back.”

I think this is a win-win-win for Disney, Selick and stop motion animation. Congratulations, Henry. We’re rooting for you.


  • carlos

    Makes sense now why he left Laika.

  • Bill Turner

    Fantastic news. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with!

  • Tedzey

    so does this mean selick will direct a cg film for pixar, or do stop-mo hybrids of the two mediums?

    CAUSE THAT WOULD BE FREAKING COOL OTHERWISE!

  • http://www.myspace.com/singingsirens billy

    really neat news!

  • Anthony D.

    Great news! I would love it if he teamed up with Tim Burton again.

  • Elija

    It’s only good news if Disney doesn’t compromise his vision. but seeing as Lasseter went so far as to fire Sanders from american dog, I can’t be so optimistic just yet.

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    Seriously good news, but still a shame that most of the animation filmmaking talent is ending up under the Disney banner.

    One of the most exciting things watching Coraline was the feeling something new was happening, and more things would come of it. With Selick no longer behind that, it’s only going to serve to make Disney even bigger. It’s a shame Laika couldn’t offer whatever he needed that Disney/Pixar can provide. It would be great to see what new directing talent could come out of Laika, and that alternative school of thought.

    Still, it must be pretty cool for them having a school reunion of this scale.

  • Animator

    I’m just glad Selick wasn’t able to sink Laika before he got the boot. Disney/Pixar congratulations, suckers!

  • Paul N

    Good news for the Bay Area animation community, which has been hammered pretty hard lately with studio closures.

  • optimist

    Well, Tim Burton is apparently going to a stop-motion adaptation of the Addams Family, so this makes even more sense.

  • http://www.adamoliver.com Adam

    Hyped! This sounds like at least one great film might come of it. It may also be a case of too many cooks spoil the broth though, as there is a powerhouse of vision there, and they definately aren’t looking down the same telescope.

    Let’s see what they come up with and hope that it’s just not a marketing ploy by Disney to suck all the appeal from Sellick and get it in plastic boxes.

  • Lala-Marin

    This makes me happy, I was starting to worry about him.

  • pizzaforeveryone

    if this is an april fools joke, i will be very sad.

  • Nuggets

    It will be interesting to see what Selick can do with a solid story. He hasn’t had one yet. Anywhere.

  • Thomas Dee

    Forgive me, Brewsters, but I Goog’d this before commenting. Very good and very bad news on the first always feels like a prank, and this is very good news indeed. I thought you might be collecting Fool’s scalps this morning and I’ve very happy to see that this was legit.

  • Brad Constantine

    and there was much rejoicing!

  • http://crisafullidoodles.blogspot.com/ Marc Crisafulli

    I have to say I’m surprised by this news. Selick puts a lot of blood sweat and tears into his work, resulting in beautifully crafted work that stands the test of time.

    Whatever happens over there, it should be interesting.

  • Mark

    “but seeing as Lasseter went so far as to fire Sanders from american dog”

    This is a false statement. Sanders quit–he was not fired.

  • http://www.onanimation.com Daniel Caylor

    Good news. Looking forward to the product :)

  • Bob

    Mark, You want to quibble on whether Sanders quit or got fired but IMO, when someone says you do it our way or blah blah blah. That leaves little room for compromise so whether Sanders quit or got fired makes no difference. A guys as talented as Sanders didn’t deserve that kind of treatment.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Interesting. No wonder Henry was hanging around the brain trust. Nice to know Disney still appreciates talent.

  • humming

    Yeah, I already know he left LAIKA. This is indeed good news and he’ll hopefully provide Disney with some more good movies, which they’ve needed desperately! I just wish Selick wasn’t the only one in the country who’s name connotes stop-motion- I wish Aardman’s relationship with DreamWorks didn’t go sour.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    Dick Cook was full of words of wisdom: “We’re not falling on our swords anymore [...] This is a new beginning for feature animation…” He was referring to Disney Circle 7 Animation.

  • http://www.mukpuddy.blogspot.com Mukpuddy

    AWESOME!!!

  • Mark

    “IMO, when someone says you do it our way or blah blah blah.”

    Again—that is your opinion as to what happened (you said it yourself). No one said “do it our way.” That much IS a fact.

  • http://toonamir.blogspot.com Amir Avni

    Wonderful, Way to go!

  • Scarabim

    Speaking of stop-motion, whatever happened to Will Vinton?

  • sean

    Finish slow bob in the lower dimensions!

  • Blasko

    This is TERRIBLE news for people who enjoy stop-motion, actually. This is nothing but a blatant attempt by “Disney/Pixar” to bury a fledgling competitor in Laika. I had already lost respect in “Disney/Pixar.” I have now lost all respect for Selick.

  • 5tephanie

    Love his talent, love the stop motion medium, actually-it’s my favorite…good good good, yay yay yay!

  • Tuki-Too

    It doesn’t matter what he does under Disney, he will get the oscar he didn’t get with Coraline.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    LAIKA reminds me of the Florida Marlins, who sold the contracts on all their franchise players after they won the World Series. What a waste.

  • Pegbar Patricia

    Will Vinton was tricked out of his share of the company when he did a deal with the devil, rather Phil Knight, during the filming of Eddie Murphy’s TV Show “The PJ’s” in Portland Oregon. Will essentially borrowed money on literal bended knee, ( to the tune of 1 million USD ) to keep the company afloat. He was tricked with a stipulation in the contract that if the company starts going downhill, 51% of the stock / control would transfer to Mr Knight. This happened, and what followed amounted to a hostile takeover, by one of the world’s richest men. Mr Knight then turned the company over to his son Travis, whom had had aspirations to be an animator, actually doing work at the studio for the previous few years.

    Will Vinton fought Knight in court, and lost. After a bout with cancer, he holds an office with the local Art Institute, and has a small website called “FreeWill” productions.

    Make no mistake, Phil Knight is trying to buy his way into Hollywood, purchase an oscar for himself, and keep his son Travis “Chilly T” from leaving town, by gifting him a fun toy. His own animation studio.

    The mixture of the grim personalities of Selick, Phil Knight, and the rather cold and disconnected story by Neil Gaiman, made for an overall sour soup. Selick can move on to ‘greener pastures’ but Laika does a fantastic job at burying itself, and should stick to cereal and candy commercials with it’s trademark 70′s cartoon character styling.

  • http://www.wardjenkins.com Ward

    Hey, I made one of those commercials!

    And I’m rather proud of it, by the way.

  • http://www.catpianofilm.com Eddie

    What a master stroke by Pixar. Wouldn’t it be great to see a string of darker, more left of centre coming out of their studio? Looking forward to the fruit they bare.

  • http://qwertypictures.deviantart.com/ Christopher

    Hear Hear! Whether his movies will be made in 2D, 3D, whatever, it’ll be so refreshing to see him pump some fresh originality into Disney’s future movies. And if his further book adaptations would be as respectable as his recent work on “Coraline”, then all the better :D

  • http://www.cannedgeek.com/ Kyle

    Anyone know if Pixar or Disney have anything in the way of a stop motion department? Laika did some amazing things and judging from Coraline had some of the best craftspeople and animators around. Anyone know how Sellick may make his transition and what crew he’d be working with – either based on facts or inference?

  • http://kellytindall.blogspot.com Kelly Tindall

    NIGHTMARE and CORALINE are two of my favorite movies. I can’t wait to see what Selick cooks up next.

    I also cannot wait to see the next offering from Laika… I’m rooting for them. They have some great talent over there.

  • humming

    Kyle: On the audio commentary of Coraline, Selick states that practically every animator hired on the set were Nightmare Before Christmas alumni, or at least, all the lead positions. I wouldn’t count on him being very open to new talent.

  • Blasko

    It’s not good for animation to have one company hold a monopoly on talent. Part of animation’s resurgence in the last few years is due to the diversity of artist’s and voices. Selick will rue the day he signed back on with Disney once he starts having to A) conform to their vision or B) have his films released quietly through subsidiary labels (remember when Nightmare was a “Touchstone” film, anyone?).

    Strange to see Laika suddenly be debased here on the Brew when it was being heralded just a year ago. Me? I’m still pulling for the folks in Portland.

  • Jon H

    Blasko: Selick got dropped by Laika, would you have preferred he just stopped making films in honor of the employer who fired him?

  • Blasko

    Not true, Jon H. Selick left Laika at the end of his contract because, as he said, the rain was getting his wife down in Portland and he wanted to pursue other avenues. Nothing wrong with him going elsewhere, but for a man who has lamented the pressures of working under a major commercial studio label, he certainly seems to be eager to climb back up Disney’s ladder.

    I’m sorry to be a bit weird about all this, but Selick is a consummate outsider animator. He thrives on the fringes, not in the fold — that’s where his imagination lives. I may have been too harsh in an earlier posting, but I still think this is bad for the diversity of stop-motion filmmaking. We’ll see how Selick holds up when the Disney execs start pressing for Nightmare Before Easter.

  • Bee

    Well, all I can say for sure is that Disney will have at its disposal a model shop, a very nice facility, and a bunch of unemployed former Laikans once Disney finishes closing down ImageMovers Digital just across the Bay from Pixar.

  • http://kirbydream.com/ Leirin

    Ohhhh boy! I adore the films of Henry Selick, and Disney NEEDS the kind of creative stimulus he’s gonna give it.

  • Pedro Nakama

    THIS COULD BE A TRAP!!!

  • creepy

    Is Laika still open? I have only been hearing of the layoffs, hopefully they don’t go the way of Imagi, Imagemovers, or Core in recent weeks?

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I think Coraline was Selick’s best movie since The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’ll be interesting to see what he’ll do with Disney.