Laika Have Passed On Henry Selick’s Film The Shadow King

Oh dear.

We picked up the thread when Disney pulled the plug on Henry Selick’s stop motion animated project The Shadow King, choosing to write-off $50 million than to finish it, release it and stand a chance of getting that money back. Then, word got around that Selick was speaking to Travis Knight at Laika to see if that studio could figure out a way to take the film on, get it finished and released.

But now, according to a memo Selick has sent to his animation staff at Cinderbiter Studios, Laika have passed on the project too.

The memo was leaked to First Showing, who say:

Travis Knight, who runs Laika, unfortunately couldn’t figure out budgeting to pull this project in and had to pass. Selick goes on to say that while he hoped it wouldn’t turn out this way, The Shadow King is no more. Though he does say there still might be a chance to pick up the pieces at a future date.

Incidentally, this is the first widespread outing for this title, The Shadow King. It’s certainly an intriguing name – and that only adds another pinch of the bittersweets.

I’m always still surprised when this amount of money is sunk into a film and that film is then canned. Surely far worse films than this have been pushed all the way through the sausage machine, and probably on a monthly basis? And haven’t a great number of them gone on to be box office hits? Don’t the laws of Hollywood averages tell us this? I’m baffled by Disney’s decision.

And saddened by Laika’s inability to help. I fear that they find it hard enough to get their self-initiated projects funded and made.

Well, good night Shadow King. It would have been nice to get to know you. And my comiserations to Mr. Selick and all of the craftspeople working on the film. These people would give days of painstaking work for just a few seconds of animation. It seems absolutely criminal that this kind of dedication, determination and, frankly, artistry should be flushed like this.

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