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Acclaimed LAIKA Films Coming in HD on Blu-ray this Fall

Combo pack of ‘Coraline’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’ drops August 31, with ‘ParaNorman’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ following September 20; bonus features include interviews, behind the scenes looks, feature-length storyboards, and featurettes.

LAIKA and Shout! Factory have announced the fall release, in high definition on Blu-ray DVD, of four highly acclaimed films from the ground-breaking Portland studio. LAIKA Studio Editions of Coraline and The Boxtrolls will be released August 31, with ParaNorman and Kubo and the Two Strings following on September 14. Special features in the combo packs include “Inside LAIKA - interviews with the studio’s animation team;” never-before-seen animation test footage; and feature-length storyboards for each of the films.

In addition to bonus features, the LAIKA Studios Editions feature essays by journalists Peter Debruge (Variety); Ramin Zahed (Animation Magazine); Bill Desowitz (Indiewire); and Charles Solomon (author and former Los Angeles Times critic).

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, LAIKA is known for blending artistry with innovative filmmaking technology. In 2009’s Coraline, director Henry Selick and his team brought the film to life with handcrafted stop-motion, using a combination of new and existing technology. It was the first stop-motion film conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3-D.

The innovation continued with 2012’s ParaNorman, directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler. Full color rapid prototype 3D printing, pioneered by LAIKA, was used to create the puppet faces. The supernatural comedy thriller about a young boy, who can speak with the dead, was recognized by critics for its handling of complex topics not often seen in family cinema.

The Boxtrolls, released in 2014 and directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, continued LAIKA’s innovation and attention to detail. Based on Alan Snow’s book “Here Be Monsters!,” the film featured new inventive filmmaking techniques including collapsible armatures enabling characters to pop in and out of their boxes; construction of a giant, steampunk-inspired roaming “Mecha Drill;” and the staging of a complex choreographed ballroom dance scene integrating practical puppets and 3D-animated background dancers.

Set in a mythical feudal Japan, 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings is a tale of courage and the power of storytelling. Inspired by Japanese art and design, the production team was led by LAIKA president & CEO Travis Knight, who directed the film and animated several of the scenes. To bring the tale to life, the filmmakers created a 400 pound, 16-foot-high puppet (the largest ever created for a stop-motion film), managed thousands of grains of sand for a shipwreck scene and created more than 48 million possible facial expressions for the Kubo character alone. Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA Award and became second animated feature to receive an Oscar nomination for visual effects.

All four of these films showcase LAIKA’s inventive 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique. The integrated effects brought life to the characters and their surroundings.

A breakdown of the LAIKA Studio Editions of each film is as follows:

Coraline

Based on the novella of the same name by author Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Coraline is a fun and suspenseful adventure about a young girl who walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is like her real life – only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to save her family and get back home.

Voice Cast: Dakota Fanning: Teri Hatcher; Jennifer Saunders; Dawn French; Keith David; John Hodgman; Robert Bailey Jr.; and Ian McShane. Produced by Bill Mechanic; Claire Jennings; Selick; Mary Sandell. Written for the screen and directed by Selick.

Special Features:

  • NEW Never-Before-Seen Coraline Animation Test Footage
  • NEW Inside LAIKA Featurette
  • NEW Foreword by Peter Debruge, chief film critic for Variety
  • Audio Commentary with the director Selick and composer, Bruno Coulais
  • The Making of Coraline
  • Original Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Feature-Length Storyboards

The Boxtrolls

This comedic fable unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that is the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells.

The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs, since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When they are targeted by villainous pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher, who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kindhearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and adventurous rich girl Winnie to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese.

Voice Cast: Ben Kingsley; Isaac Hempstead Wright; Elle Fanning; Dee Bradley Baker; Steve Blum; Toni Collette; Jared Harris; Nick Frost; Richard Ayoade; Tracy Morgan; and Simon Pegg. Produced by David Bleiman Ichioka and Travis Knight. Screenplay by Irena Brignull and Adam Pava.

Special Features:

  • NEW Never-Before-Seen The Boxtrolls Animation Test Footage
  • NEW Inside LAIKA Featurette
  • NEW Feature-Length Storyboards
  • NEW Foreword by Zahed, the editor in chief of Animation Magazine
  • Audio Commentary with directors Annable and Stacchi
  • The Making of The Boxtrolls
  • Original Featurettes

ParaNorman

A small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman, who can speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul-whisperer bravely summons up all that makes a hero – courage and compassion – as he finds his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee; Tucker Albrizzi; Anna Kendrick; Casey Affleck; Christopher Mintz-Plasse; Leslie Mann; Jeff Garlin; Elaine Stritch; Bernard Hill; Jodelle Ferland; Tempestt Bledsoe; Alex Borstein; and John Goodman. Produced by Arianna Sutner and Knight. Written by Chris Butler.

Special Features:

  • NEW Feature-Length Storyboards
  • NEW Inside LAIKA Featurette
  • NEW Never-Before-Seen ParaNorman Animation Test Footage
  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Butler and co-director Fell
  • “Peering Through the Veil”
  • Original Featurettes

Kubo and the Two Strings

An epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan the film follows clever, kindhearted Kubo as he ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town. But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey and Beetle and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen - a magical musical instrument - Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King and the evil twin Sisters to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Voice Cast: Charlize Theron; Matthew McConaughey; Rooney Mara; Ralph Fiennes; Art Parkinson; George Takei; Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa; Brenda Vaccaro; Screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler. Produced by Sutner and Knight.

Special Features:

  • NEW Feature-Length Storyboards
  • NEW Inside LAIKA Featurette
  • NEW Never-Before-Seen Kubo and the Two Strings Animation Test Footage
  • Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Knight
  • “Kubo’s Journey”
  • Original Featurettes

Source: Shout! Factory

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