CORALINE director Henry Selick has departed Laika after unsuccessfully renegotiating his contract, which expired at the end of last month. However, the stop-motion legend will continue to work with the Portland, Oregon-based animation studio and Focus Features in promoting CORALINE through the awards season. Selick was not available for comment, but, according to a Laika spokesperson, he was not formally attached to any Laika projects following CORALINE.
"Making CORALINE was one of the great filmmaking experiences of my life," said Seleck in a prepared statement. "I appreciate the commitment that Laika and the Knights have made to stop-motion filmmaking and wish them continued success."
Selick's departure comes on the heels of Laika laying off 63 CG artists last month.
CORALINE has grossed more than $120 million internationally and more than $75 million domestically, placing it second for stop-motion behind CHICKEN RUN.
"Henry is a brilliant, inspirational, and visionary artist whose contributions are indelibly etched into the very DNA of Laika," offered President and CEO Travis Knight (who was animation lead on CORALINE), in a prepared statement. "We are tremendously proud of what we created together. Throughout our five years of collaboration, Henry has been variously my director, my mentor and my friend. I will miss him and wish him well in his future projects."
Laika owner and Chairman Philip H. Knight added, "We’re so proud of what the studio has achieved with Coraline. Laika and Henry have created a classic film, one that will entertain movie lovers for generations to come. Henry’s skill and talent inspired a supremely gifted company of artists and his contributions are deeply appreciated."
Seleck joined Laika in 2004 as supervising director. He was director, writer, production designer and a producer on CORALINE, the studio's first feature. Selick also directed MOONGIRL, Laika's lauded CG short film. Before joining Laika, Selick directed THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.