LAIKA Chief Surprises Comic-Con Crowd By Saying He Wants To Do Hand-Drawn Animation


At a presentation for LAIKA’s third stop motion feature The Boxtrolls, LAIKA’s CEO Travis Knight told San Diego Comic-Con audiences that he hopes to make a hand-drawn animated film at some point in the future. Slashfilm’s editor Peter Sciretta was in attendance and offers more context to Knight’s comments:

[Knight] says that every one of the Laika stop-motion movies feature small bits of hand-drawn animation composits [sic], but he would like to one day do a whole movie in the medium. It seems like they don’t have any definite plans but you could tell from his tone that it’s something he’s been considering for a while now.

If Knight chooses to pursue the idea, he would have no competion. While dozens of hand-drawn animated features are produced annually in Europe, Asia and Latin America, there has not been a big-studio hand-drawn production produced by an American company since 2011 when Disney released Winnie the Pooh.

(Thanks, Elliot Lobell)

  • Tres Swygert

    If he is really passionate about doing hand drawn animation as a feature film project, I would support him in that venture! I hope he finds support to bring this treasure back to the big screen in the States!

  • JO-JO

    that will be a BIG challenge as how people will accept this since they don’t give their money to a Hand-drawn animated film like the do with CG movies ..

    I don’t know if this really is a good Idea ?! especially that they are very decent with stop-motions animated films.

    • Mike

      Sadly, it’s not like they really give their money to LAIKA’s stop-motion films either. I can’t imagine a traditionally-animated film would fare much worse.

  • martin

    DO IT.

    • Matt

      Palpatine? is that you?

      • martin

        actually I was thinking of Ben Stiller from Starsky & Hutch.

        • Inkan1969

          And I thought you were impersonating Rorschach. :-)

  • tt

    I love Laika so much lol! what the mainstream wants, they don’t do it. but they make things mainstream rarely wants. Hand drawn AND stop motion?? dark and creepy animated films?? out of this world type animated films?? PLZ DO IT!!!!!!

    • Josh Moore

      In some ways, maybe LAIKA might be the best animation studio in the U.S and wanting to pursue 2D is one of those reasons.

  • nw

    Even if this statement never comes to fruition its nice to know people still have an interest in making classically animated films again

  • Matt Dean

    Hey, if anyone’s gonna do it, it should totally be Laika. They’ve differentiated themselves from the mainstream with their own films so far, so I believe they have a fighting chance. They’re prominent enough to compete alongside Disney and Dreamworks, but not obscure enough to be as unfamiliar as Cartoon Saloon…as great as The Secret of Kells was.

    I hope Knight’s vision is fully realized in the not-too-distant future and I welcome it with open arms!

  • Josh Moore

    I wish him luck for him and the future of 2D animation. This makes me want to work for LAIKA even more.

  • GW

    I’d like to see an abstract animated feature film. As long as they’re committing box office suicide, they might as well make the movie abstract. Better to do it now while they’ve got the support of Nike money.

    • 2MKcreations .

      Abstract? Really? Imagine the audience reactions.

      • GW

        Walked into that one. Still, it’d draw people into the theater, even if it’s just to make fun of it. But seriously, if it had a good soundtrack and the right visuals I think people may be interested. They probably wouldn’t be attracted to simple shapes like most historical abstract films, but they might go for a film that includes tessellations and 3D fractal imagery. If there were a film that had abstract segments of differing visual themes and was kept under the 90 minute mark it might have an audience. You never know if you don’t try.

        • Mister A

          Michel Gagne just did a well received and nominated abstract short a few years ago called Sensology.These types of shorts will only mostly appeal to those who have either an appreciation of medium of animation or the fine arts. The audience just isnt large enough to make anyone make these abstract shorts other than for a love of the craft. Every now and then though someone breaks out and defies the odds and wins over new fans. I think this one is one of those rare exceptions.

  • BurntToShreds

    More power to them. I’d love to see a hand-drawn non-Ghibli film come out here once in a while.

  • Mister Twister

    What can I say? Godspeed.

  • Robert Holmén

    I’m sure there will be lots of talent that can be scooped up cheap to do it. I think there will need to be a several years of CG disappointments before the adult ticket-buying public will be ready to rediscover 2D hand-drawn animation again.

    • Elijah Berry

      Haven’t we been getting a lot of crappy movies in 2013? (Not every CG movie is crap, don’t get your jimmies rustled)

  • ThatGuy

    Hand drawn animation is bad for business. Haven’t you heard? It’s old and antiquated…not viable for the future

    • Rain Kaimaramon

      I guess we’ve got to stop using our legs, you know those segways are the future! Those darn legs are old and antiquated too. Or how about ditching live actors, computer replaced them too.

    • Ant G

      I’ve heard kids describe it as “old graphics” similar to 2D games. The trend in animation continues to be how realistically convincing can ‘graphics’ be, both in the movie and games industry, by the targeted largest demographic (kids, tweens, teens) that demand it.

      I always watched 2D animation regardless of my age, so I can only assume their view of it is similar to my view on games; Before, I personally couldn’t play 2D games because I saw them as antiquated during the GC/PS2/Xbox generation (I remember fawning over how much a visual treat playing Metroid Prime was). Now I don’t see it in a hierarchical scale anymore and play more 2D game apps for their charming simplicity…. they are however also a lot cheaper. I never had to answer if I would pay $60 for a 2D game, and I think people see it that way too when it comes to movies, is the S7-$13 price worth it for a 2D movie that doesn’t look as expensive as live-action or 3D animation? Is what they probably ask themselves

  • ThatGuy

    Didn’t Lasseter say the same thing 10 years ago?

    • Tres Swygert

      More like Ed Catmull from The Pixar Story, but I’m sure John also said the same thing. Either way, both men are more businessmen than artists these days, so I wouldn’t really hold em to their word.

  • Toonio

    Chilly Tee might be in the right path, However he has to come to terms with American audiences and their crave for cheaply pseudo written animated movies.

    Point in case, if people liked Frozen over Ernest and Celestine (and I’m talking about those who saw both movies) there is no business case to engage in such adventure.

  • Disney’s ghost

    I can’t wait, I LOVE hand drawn animation!

  • Harrison

    The people who made ParaNorman are thinking about doing hand drawn movie? I’ll be waiting in line for tickets!

  • Capital_7

    Every hand drawn film that has been released in the past twenty years has lost money. I’d prefer they didn’t do this. It’s not like they were Disney and could afford to keep losing their shirts on their projects.

    I’d instead like to see Laika move away from doing the same TYPE of movie over and over. Selick’s reign of terror is over and they still think they have to make Selick movies or something.

    • JulesDeMalte

      Well, they’ve only made two movies so far …

  • Fried

    Just as long as they approach a different art style for once and not just the Coraline look over and over, sure. Otherwise, they’re just like every other studio with a “preferred style”.

  • Ian Cook

    A hand-drawn animated film from the company behind Coraline and Paranorman?….Yes :)

  • Greg Manwaring

    If the story is good and the animation is up to snuff then it is about marketing. A very good marketing campaign will get butts in seats.

    Somebody else once said that if Pixar were to take one of the film ideas it has in its pipeline and gave it to Disney to classically animate then it should potentially be a hit film, as long as they market the hell out of it.

  • Cyrus Vba

    Whether they end up doing hand-drawn movie or not, I fully believe that it will be as gorgeous, well thought-out and masterfully crafted as all their previous feature-length works

  • Googamp32

    More power to them! If LAIKA can save stop-motion from being destroyed by the evils of CGI, surely they can bring traditional animation back to life.

  • Mathias

    Laika for President!

  • Matt

    As great as this sounds there is a big gap between wanting and doing. Setting up a 2d studio is not cheap but is probably somewhat cheaper than it was years ago now that the work can be done on cintiqs. Another problem would be getting talent to come to where Laika is. Most of us from the Warner, Disney days etc are still here in Los Angeles a have families, homes and jobs still in the animation field. I applaud Laika for wanting to do 2d but I do not see it being feasible in their current location. While working on PATF I was one of the younger guys and that was at age 37 and I would not want to go moving my family around just to work on a movie with no long term commitment.