There is no question that Laika is at the moment one of the most artistic and creative studios out there. Defying all expectations by maintaining to be a mainstream studio though their recognizable medium is stop motion, a form of animation that some would consider outdated in this new CGI world.
This is quite evident in the way in which Laika has struggled to maintain itself afloat despite providing movies that have critics singing praises, yet for a studio like Laika, every film is a life of death risk, any movie that bombs could spell potential disaster and the ultimate end for this gem among studios.
Taking into consideration what is required for a movie to be considered profitable, the base line being 2.5 times its budget, Laika’s films are more- out of passion- projects and, unless a new perspective is given to these movies that is unlikely to change. Still, despite this, the last movie “Missing Link” was even more of a box office bomb earning only $247 million of its $100 million budget, and though the studio remains standing, there is, of course, a course correction on the horizon if Laika wants to remain.
One such is the hiring of David Burke as Chief Marketing Officer.
David Burke is a veteran in the industry with an exemplary record who has managed to secure box office success for many projects, and who has worked for Laika in projects like Coraline, ParaNorman and Kubo and The Two Strings, among others.
There is yet no current news as to Laika’s future projects may be, but as per studio process we can speculate they already have a few lined up. Still with one of their most creative heads, Travis Knight, focusing on live action, and with the prominence of 3D animation as the undisputed king of animated feature films, the big question is: What is next for Laika?
Laika desperately needs a solid marketing strategy to push itself into the spotlight on future projects, something which Burke has excelled at in the past, but it’s an uphill battle against the appeal of 3D films and the muscle of more prominent studios; which means Laika needs to push its innovation and storytelling into new territories, if stop motion is to gain a competitive edge.