Laika (company)

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Laika Entertainment, LLC.
Industry Animation, film production
Genre Animation
Predecessor Will Vinton Studios
Founded June 23, 2005; 12 years ago (2005-06-23)
Headquarters Northwest Bennett Street, Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
Key people
Phil Knight
President & CEO:
Travis Knight[1]
Products Films
Owner Phil Knight
Number of employees
394 (2015)[2]

Laika Entertainment, LLC., or simply Laika, is an American stop-motion animation studio specializing in feature films, commercial content for all media, music videos and short films. The studio is best known for its stop-motion feature films, Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, all co-produced in partnership with Universal Pictures through its Focus Features label. It is owned by Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and is located in Oregon's Portland metropolitan area. Knight's son, Travis, acts as Laika's president and CEO.

Laika had two divisions, Laika Entertainment for feature films and Laika/house for commercial content. The studio spun off the commercial division in July 2014 to focus on feature film production exclusively. The new independent commercial division is now called HouseSpecial.[3][4]


In the late 1990s, Will Vinton Studios, known for its stop-motion films and commercials, sought funds for more feature-length films and brought in outside investors, which included Nike, Inc. owner Phil Knight. In 1998, Knight made his initial investment and his son Travis started work at the studio as an animator.[5] In 2002, Phil Knight acquired the financially struggling Will Vinton Studios to pursue feature-length productions.[6] The following year, Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, joined the studio as a supervising director. In July 2005, the successor to Will Vinton Studios, Laika, was founded, and named after Laika, the dog sent to space by the Soviet Union in 1957.[7] It opened two divisions: Laika Entertainment for feature films and Laika/house for commercial work, such as advertisements and music videos. They also announced their first projects, the stop-motion film Coraline (based on the book of the same name), and the CGI animated film Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure.[5]

Laika's headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon

The studio laid off a significant portion of its staff in 2008, when its second planned feature, Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure, was cancelled.[8] The following year, the studio released its first feature film, Coraline, which received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a nomination at the BAFTAs for Best Animated Feature, a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and eight nominations at the Annie Awards, winning three, for Best Music in an Animated Feature, and Best Character Design and Production Design in a Feature Production.

After directing Moongirl and Coraline, and unsuccessfully renegotiating his contract, Selick departed Laika in 2009.[1] At the end of the year, the studio laid off more staff in its computer animation department to focus exclusively on stop-motion.[6]

Their second stop-motion feature film, ParaNorman, directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler opened on August 17, 2012. It received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature,[9] as well as a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the BAFTAs, and eight nominations at the Annie Awards, winning two, for Character Animation and Character Design in an Animated Feature Production.

After working on stop-motion commercials for clients such as Apple Inc., Fox Sports, ESPN and Coca-Cola,[10] Laika spun off its advertising portion in July 2014, to focus on feature film production exclusively. The new independent commercial division is now called HouseSpecial.[3][4]

Their third film, The Boxtrolls, was released on September 26, 2014.[11] It was based on Alan Snow's fantasy-adventure novel, Here Be Monsters! and was directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature,[12] a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature, and nine nominations at the Annie Awards, winning two, for Voice Acting and Production Design in an Animated Feature Production.

Their fourth film, Kubo and the Two Strings, directed by Travis Knight was released on August 19, 2016. It received two nominations at the Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects (as only the second animated film to receive that nomination, after The Nightmare Before Christmas). It won the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature. It also received a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes, and ten nominations at the Annie Awards, winning three, for Character Animation, Production Design and Editorial in a Feature Production.

Laika has optioned Colin Meloy's fantasy novel Wildwood[13][14] and Philip Reeve's fantasy book Goblins,[15] for potential feature film adaptations.

In March 2015, the company announced it would expand the studio in an effort to allow for production of one film per year.[16]

Laika is currently working on an untitled fifth film.[17][18][19]


Feature films[edit]

# Title Release date Budget[20] Gross[20] RT MC[21]
1 Coraline February 6, 2009 $60 million $124.6 million 90% 80
2 ParaNorman August 17, 2012 $60 million $107.1 million 87% 72
3 The Boxtrolls September 26, 2014 $60 million $109.3 million 75% 61
4 Kubo and the Two Strings August 19, 2016 $60 million $77.5 million 97% 84

Upcoming films[edit]

# Title Release date Ref(s)
5 Untitled LAIKA Production TBA [22]

Short films[edit]

# Title Release date
1 Moongirl September 24, 2005

Contract work[edit]

Year Title Note(s)
2005 Corpse Bride Production
2007 King of California Dream sequence
2007–2009 Slacker Cats Television series
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Stop-motion/claymation segment[23]


Academy Awards[edit]

Year Film Category Winner/Nominee(s) Result
2009 Coraline Best Animated Feature Henry Selick Nominated
2012 ParaNorman Best Animated Feature Sam Fell and Chris Butler Nominated
2014 The Boxtrolls Best Animated Feature Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight Nominated
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Best Animated Feature Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner Nominated
Best Visual Effects Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kapko, Matt (October 6, 2009). "Breaking News: Henry Selick Leaves Laika". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  2. ^ Laika to Expand Studio by 70 Percent
  3. ^ a b Amidi, Amid (July 28, 2014). "House Special Launches in Portland". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (July 28, 2015). "Kelly Salmon Named HouseSpecial Northeast Rep". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Williams, Christina (July 2006). "Laika ramps up Oregon animation industry". Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Rogoway, Mike (September 18, 2009). "Laika lays off 63, scrubs plans for computer-animated features". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  7. ^ McLean, Tom (December 29, 2015). "LAIKA Reflects on 10 Innovative Years". Animation Magazine. 
  8. ^ Rogoway, Mike (December 17, 2008). "Laika lays off 65, shelves CG film". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  9. ^ Sarto, Dan (January 10, 2013). "'ParaNorman', 'Wreck-It Ralph' and 'Frankenweenie' lead Oscar Nominations". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ Siemers, Erik (May 20, 2014). "Laika spins off ad business to focus on feature films". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Boxtrolls". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Amidi, Amid (February 7, 2013). "Laika's Next Feature Will Be "Boxtrolls"". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 7, 2011). "Laika to adapt The Decemberists singer's 'Wildwood'". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  14. ^ Manny (January 31, 2015). "LAIKA Studios comes to Wizard World Portland!". Screen Invasion. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  15. ^ L. Dickey, Josh (April 18, 2012). "Laika puts Brit book 'Goblins' in pipeline". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ Giegerich, Andy (March 11, 2015). "Laika plans major Hillsboro expansion". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "LAIKA Films Are Getting Merchandise". April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2017. LAIKA is currently at work on an untitled fifth film which is due in cinemas next year. 
  18. ^ "Box Office: 2018 Will Be Our First Taste Of Year-Round Blockbusters". April 28, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Untitled LAIKA Production 2018 (2018) Movie". Movie Insider. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Laika Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Laika's Profile". Metacritic. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Untitled LAIKA Production (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  23. ^ Williams, Alex (November 7, 2011). "Q&A: 'Harold and Kumar' director shares challenges of 3D debut". The Daily Texan. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011. We hired this company LAIKA who did “Coraline” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” out of Portland and they did it, which is also crazy. 

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