From Variety February 4, 2013

Henry Selick has revived stop-motion project "The Shadow King," bringing on "Beasts of the Southern Wild" producer Josh Penn and taking the project to the European Film Market in Berlin.
K5 International is repping the international rights and plans to show footage to buyers at Berlin.

"The Shadow King," directed by Selick from his own script, centers on a nine-year-old New York orphan who hides his strange hands with long fingers from a cruel world. When's he's taught how to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become weapons in a shadow war against a monster bent on killing his brother and ultimately destroying New York.

Disney announced in August that it was pulling the plug on production on the film, which had scheduled for release Oct. 4 of this year, meaning that Selick was able to shop the property to another studio. At that point, the pic had been in production since 2011 but Disney had not hired thesps to voice characters or revealed any artwork.

"K5 is the perfect presenter for 'The Shadow King,'" Selick said. "They appreciate the film's exciting blend of the fantastic and personal with its mix of humor, scares, and moments of sweetness. We can't wait to get back into production."

Selick helmed stop-motion hits "Coraline," "James and the Giant Peach," and Disney's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," produced by Tim Burton.

"Henry Selick is the best in the business.," said K5's Carl Clifton. "His films are all instant classics and they delight family audiences all over the world over and over again."

Penn and producing partners Dan Janvey and Michael Gottwald are up for the Best Picture Oscar for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." It was the first producing credit for all three.

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Sounds alright. Considering that Laika also has a film coming out in 2014 (who'll do better?), hopefully more and more stopmo feature films will be greenlit for development. This year was good for it.

Any idea what Laika might be working on?

Aaron Martinez said:

Any idea what Laika might be working on?

Either "Goblins" or "Wildwood" apparently

Glad to hear Selick's film is back in production!

...centers on a nine-year-old New York orphan who hides his strange hands with long fingers from a cruel world

Huh.  I hope there's more to it than that.  Seems I've seen a variation of that movie before.

You mean, there's been another film about a kid who was picked on because he was different, and that difference is ultimately what makes him able to save the day?  Surely not!

Maybe that's why Disney pulled out, not that it was bad, but it looked too similar to another stopmo film that was close to being finished?

If you look at the synopses for the two possible Laika releases, Wildwood sounds like a re-tread of Henson's Labyrinth, which itself had a similar theme to Sendak's book Outside Over There:  "  The protagonist is a young lady who must enter the Impassable Wilderness in order to save her kidnapped younger brother.  "  With maybe a taste of Coraline.

The other is kind of like, 3/4 of every fantasy since Tolkien wrote LOTR:     "An ancient evil that only he understands is rising and threatens to bring all monsters and mythical creatures into an epic magical conflict.”  But the goblin angle is good, lots of opportunity for great puppet and set design with that.

None of that prevents any of these from being great films with their own approach to some timeless themes.   But Dave's right, there needs to be more to it than just that tag line.

Actually, I was thinking more specifically about Edward Scissorhands. With Paranorman, there was something about his "difference" that was functional and adventurous.  Having creepy looking hands just sounds like one of the second-string superheros from Mystery Men.

I'd really like to see LAIKA do something similar to what Henson's did whey they decided to go with more realistic puppets as they did on The Dark Crystal.

Aaron Martinez said:

Any idea what Laika might be working on?

i have a pretty good idea!

Didn't think of the Edward Fingerhands aspect Dave, obvious now that you say it.

Lol well at least it's not the same old standard live-action tropes we've been getting for decades now - like human girl falls for vampire boy, or human girl is torn between darkly romantic vampire boy and studly athletic werewolf boy, or zombie blahblahblah, or vampires fight werewolves but really they're more like superheroes than monsters, or superheroes anything for that matter. Yeah, Burton and Selick seem to be pretty obsessive with their themes, and to have spawned many clones in the stopmo feature wolrd, but some of the films at least are a lot better than the typical Hollywood blockbuster fare. And with Frankenweenie Burton seems to have broken out of simply weakly parodying himself and re-connected with a seminal idea of his that touches his heart (and refreshingly doesn't include Depp, Bonham-Carter or Elfman) --- maybe Selick can make this one connect in something like the same way. 

Whoever said there are only seven original plots...was right! I too am a little weary of the "misunderstood freak" storylines. Regardless, I look forward to hearing and seeing more of this film!

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