Well, this is a surprise. Laika -- the studio that made Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings and was Oscar-nominated for each in the Animated Feature category (plus a costume design nomination for Kubo) -- has parted ways with Focus Features and set their new film at Annapurna Pictures. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/hugh-jackman-zoe-saldana-zach-galifianakis-starring-animated-film-laika-1105775? Chris Butler, who directed ParaNorman, is returning as director. No title or synopsis yet, but it's got Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis starring. I'm glad to hear that this is happening again. Laika previously had an untitled movie dated for May 18, 2018 through Focus, but that was quietly removed from the schedule some time ago Looking at the box office for their previous titles, there has been a downward trend since Coraline as seen here: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=laika.htm. (Box Office Mojo also includes Corpse Bride on the chart since Laika did contract on it, but it was not released with their branding in front of it, so it doesn't fully count as theirs.) Given this downward trajectory, I am not surprised by the move to a different distributor -- but I am kind of surprised that they're going with Annapurna, which, as a distributor, is still an upstart and hasn't had any significant success. Even if this film were to perform identically to Kubo, at $48 million, it would instantly become Annapurna's top grosser, since $16 million for Detroit really doesn't set a high bar. One of the other things that I have always noted abut Laika is that public awareness of their brand is very low outside of film geeks. The general public who aren't hanging out on boards like this know the Disney, Pixar and Illumination brands really well because they have been firmly established and cultivated. The brand name means something in terms of getting people to think "Oh, they're making another movie, I better go see that because I liked their other one," even if the new film is not a sequel. Coco is a good example of this; its distinct international flavor might have made it a difficult sell for another studio, but because Pixar's name was on it, people expected that it would be good and went to it, and it grossed $209 million. The trailers were really effective, bu I also think the Pixar brand had a lot to do with people being willing to take a chance on a new property like that. I don't happen to like the films that Illumination has made personally, but many people do and the brand certainly is well-known off of the Despicable Me series, and also The Secret Life of Pets and Sing as well. Laika does not seem to have anywhere near the same level of brand association with the general public. Even though Coraline was considered a hit, with $75 million, for whatever reason, the mainstream audience doesn't seem to tie these films together. So, every time Laika has a new movie out, the distributor always has to start from zero in terms of selling it, as opposed to Disney or Pixar or Illumination where the strength of the brand will help get butts into seats. I'm not really sure why that is, and it disappoints me, because Laika's work has been nothing short of terrific throughout their run. I love all their films, but Kubo, in particular, is a crowning achievement and really one for the ages. But despite how good it was and how much critics liked it, it topped out at $48 million. I think Laika needs to work on brand association, so that audiences can tell that their films come from a lineage of quality. Of course, it's kind of hard to do that when they don't have a regular release schedule, but it also seems important to me that they take their time and continue to work on any given film until it's ready instead of rushing to meet a particular date. However, this is a conundrum for them for sure. While it makes sense to try a new distributor, that also means Annapurna won't be able to use any footage from the previous Focus-released titles to help promote this one (like how Pixar trailers have occasionally included footage from past films and the title logos from such.) So -- I sincerely wish Laika luck on this. I can't wait to see it, whatever it is, whenever it comes out. But we'll see how it goes for them with Annapurna.