LAIKA has begun production on the "The Boxtrolls, the third film since the stop-motion company began making features. It has previously made “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,”
It's always an uphill trek for stand-alone animation companies. There is really only three routes for animation startups to take:
1) They grow and get swallowed up by a conglomerate. (Pixar, anyone?)
2) They grow and become a conglomerate themselves. (Disney)
3) They start up, they flourish, they crash into the rocky shoals of cruel business. (UPA ... Fleischer ... any number of others.)
Which reminds me. When I was at DreamWorks Animation yesterday, an animator said to me:
"When I got here, the deal was, every animated picture was going to make $200 million in the U.S. and Canada. DreamWorks. Pixar. They all planned to make a $500 million dollar world gross. But that doesn't happen anymore. There's more movies. "Brave" didn't make as much money as earlier Pixar movies. Ours aren't making as much money. But they're still costing a $150 or $160 million. ..."
I disputed the animator's analysis. Some animated movies, I said, make as much money as the big hits of ... oh ... one or two or three years ago. I conceded that there are more movies out there, so the audience pie is being sliced into thinner pieces, but that's true of live-action too. And DVDs are still selling for animation, although not in the huge numbers that used to happen.
DWA's problem? It released a picture that wasn't a hit. And its business model requires every picture to be a hit. Because it's not a conglomerate.