Variety reports that Disney backed out because the film was not ready—both on scheduling and creative levels—to be completed by its October 4, 2013 release date. Disney broke the news on Tuesday to 150 workers at the animation studio Shademaker Prods., which had been working on the film since the film since last summer. But never fear: this doesn’t mean that the project is dead—it’s just dead to Disney. Selick now is free to find another studio to produce and distribute the film.
Selick has been involved with Disney stop-motion films ever since he directed The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach in the mid 90s. He also is known for directing and producing LAIKA’s first feature film Coraline. Despite this news, Selick has not been kicked to the curb at Disney: he is still onboard for directing another film, The Graveyard Book, which is based on a book by Neil Gaiman. There’s no official word if that film will be stop-motion, but one can only assume based on Selick’s pedigree.
Disney occasionally pushes its films’ release dates, but it is rather odd for a project to be abandoned completely when it’s just a year out from being released. Apparently the Mouse House decided that that the project wasn’t worth pushing back a few months or years, but instead decided cutting its losses was best. This is the first film to be dropped since Alan Horn replaced Rich Ross as chairman of the Walt Disney Company.
Why do you think Disney back out of Selick’s film? Let us know in the comments below!