New animated feature set for Oct. 17, 2014

Animation company LAIKA and Focus Features, which teamed on “ParaNorman” and “Coraline,” have settled on a date, cast and title for what will be their next release, “The Boxtrolls.”

LAIKA had already launched production at its Portland, Ore. studios on “Boxtrolls.” Pic had been in development with the working title “Here Be Monsters,” based on Alan Snow’s fantasy adventure novel of the same name.

Focus has set a domestic release date on Oct. 17, 2014. It’s the third collaboration between Focus and LAIKA following 2009’s “Coraline” and 2012’s “Paranorman,” both which were nommed for the Oscar for best animated feature.

Anthony Stacchi (co-director of “Open Season”) and Graham Annable (a “Coraline” story artist) are directing “Boxtrolls” which, like its LAIKA predecessors, will be in 3D and stop-motion animation. David Ichioka and LAIKA topper Travis Knight are producing.

Voice cast includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan.

“Boxtrolls” takes place in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. The townspeople believe the Boxtrolls crawl out of the sewers at night and steal their children and cheeses, when in reality they’re a cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs.

“‘The Boxtrolls’ is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart,” Knight said. “At its core, like all LAIKA films, ‘The Boxtrolls’ is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance.”

As with “ParaNorman” and “Coraline,” Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada).

“ParaNorman” is nominated for a BAFTA and won two Annie Awards last Saturday.

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