Coraline Director Henry Selick Leaves Animation Studio Laika

October 7, 2009

Henry Selick

After working at the Portland, OR-based animation studio Laika for five years, writer/director Henry Selick has decided to leave the studio to work elsewhere. Selick had been looking for another feature to oversee, but with his contract up and no next project in place for him to tackle, he decided to move on. Selick's last stop-animation feature film Coraline wasn't exactly a smash success, but it did earn a respectable $75 million at the US box office. As Anne Thompson said: "It seems odd that when a movie breaks out and does as well as Coraline, that the filmmaker would leave the animation company behind it."

Before joining Laika, Selick was best known for directing The Nightmare Before Christmas. Animators who worked on Coraline with Selick credit his experience and artistic vision with bringing the film to life, but others complain privately that he was an exceedingly demanding boss, according to "Throughout our five years of collaboration, Henry has been variously my director, my mentor, and my friend," Laika's CEO Travis Knight said in a statement today. "I will miss him and wish him well in his future projects." The animation studio is currently figuring out what their next feature project will be.

Selick doesn't have another project setup at the moment, but seemed enthusiastic about a few ideas when I interviewed him earlier this year. I'm a big fan of Selick and his work and I especially loved Coraline. I don't know about his work ethic and the way he treated the animators at Laika, but I do know that all the work definitely payed off, and the film looks beautiful (even in comparison to other stop-animated movies like Fantastic Mr. Fox). I'll be curious to see what Laika does next and see what Selick decides to direct next, at whatever studio he ends up at. Though I'm sure both Selick and Laika will continue produce great films.

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I really hope we get to see more stop-motion films, the medium is woefully underused.

SlashBeast on Oct 7, 2009



TediusTed on Oct 7, 2009


Coraline was actually good in many ways so it's sad that it didn't make more money. Hopefully Selick will be involved in something just as well made.

Johnny Neat on Oct 8, 2009


I reallly realllly hope that either Laika or Selick does The Mysterious Benedict Society (first book, second or all!) in stop motion animation form. Those books could really work well in this style.

Melbert on Oct 8, 2009


He wants to work with people who are passionate about art, not people who are just doing their job. When complaints surface, the work ethic drops, and the studio at large is hurt. Selick doesn't want to waste any time on a project that could end in mutiny.

Connor Towle on Oct 10, 2009


Coraline was a depressing film. Innovative animation can't save a rotten story. I can't stand films marketed for children that are just mean and not child friendly... that's Coraline.

Valerie on Mar 7, 2010

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